Notebook: Huge Game for State

In a rematch of the 1974 National Championship game, the Wolfpack hosts its first ranked team of the season, as NC State (7-1) takes on No. 24 Marquette (9-2) tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the RBC Center. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

NC State downed Lipscomb, 78-58, on Saturday afternoon, and the Marquette game is the Pack's third in the last six days. NC State is in a stretch of playing nine of 10 games all at home. The Wolfpack is a perfect 6-0 at home this season, including a mark of 4-0 at the RBC Center. The Pack has won its four games in the RBC Center by an average of 21.0 points.

The Marquette game will be broadcasted on ESPNU.

At halftime of Monday's Marquette game, NC State will honor the 1974 National Championship squad celebrating the 35 year anniversary of NC State's first national title.

The members of the team that are able to attend held a reception on Sunday night, and will be at the Marquette game. Media members may obtain interviews at 5:45 in the Varsity Club at the RBC Center on Monday.

This is only the fourth matchup between Marquette and NC State. The Pack currently leads the series 2-1. NC State won at home during the 1990-91 season, while Maquette won on its home court the last time the teams met in 1991-92. The first game between the teams occurred in the 1974 National Championship game, as NC State won 76-64 in Greensboro.

Two days after the Pack downed UCLA in double overtime, NC State would score a 76-64 win over Marquette on March 25, 1974, and bring home the first of NC State's two National Championships.

The first half was tight before two technical fouls on Marquette coach Al McGuire ignited a 10-0 Wolfpack run late in the first half. NC State's lead grew to as many as 19 points in the second half, as the Wolfpack cruised to victory. David Thompson had a team-high 21 points, while current NC State associate head coach Monte Towe finished with 16 points.

Trevor Ferguson hit four three-pointers and finished with a team-high 14 points, while Brandon Costner added 13 points and Ben McCauley had 11 points, as NC State downed Lipscomb, 78-58 at the RBC Center on Saturday. The Pack went on a 14-0 run in the first half, holding the Bisons without a point for almost seven minutes. For the second straight game, NC State shot at least 50.0 percent from the floor, and held the Bisons to just 2-of-14 on three-pointers. Freshman Julius Mays got the start at point guard for the Pack for the injured Javier Gonzalez, and finished with nine points, seven assists and no turnovers in 24 minutes.

No. 24 Marquette marks the second ranked opponent NC State will face this season, and the first at home. NC State fell to No. 22 Davidson 72-67 in Charlotte on December 6.

The last time a ranked non-conference foe visited the RBC Center was No. 10 Alabama in Coach Lowe's first season. NC State lost that contest, and the last time NC State downed a ranked non-conference foe at home was No. 12 Georgie Washington during the 2005-06 season.

NC State posts an all-time record of 32-40 against ranked non-conference foes, with the Pack currently 1-3 under Lowe (defeating No. 20 Villanova last season). In Coach Lowe's first two seasons, the Pack complied a record of 5-11 against all ranked foes. NC State was 2-5 at home, 1-5 away, and 2-1 on a neutral court. Lowe's road win came at No. 16 Virginia Tech, 70-59, in 2007.

NC State's home court has not been welcoming to non-conference opponents since the RBC Center opened for the 1999-2000 season, as the Pack has posted a 76-8 (.905) record in such games.

Under Coach Lowe, the Pack has posted a 20-2 (.909) mark against non-conference opponents at home, losing only to No. 10 Alabama in 2007 and to New Orleans last year.

NC State has been even more impressive at home against against non-conference opponents from the state of North Carolina. The Wolfpack has won the last 20 games against in-state non-conference foes at the RBC Center, and 22 of 23 overall at the RBC Center, only losing in the 2000-01 season to Charlotte.

After opening the season on the road for the first time since 1997, the Wolfpack will not have to leave the state of North Carolina until January. NC State is currently in a stretch of playing 9 of 10 games all at home, with the only road contest during that span being December 6 in Charlotte against Davidson.

So far this season, a total of three different players have missed a total of six games due to injuries.

Sophomore point guard Javier Gonzalez was the latest Pack player forced to the sidelines, as he missed the first game of his career when he sat out Saturday's Lipscomb game. Late in the win over East Carolina, Gonzalez was cut on the elbow, and his status for the Marquette game is questionable. Gonzalez had started six straight games at point.

Senior Courtney Fells had a string of 44 consecutive starts snapped against Winston-Salem State, and missed two games due to an ankle injury suffered at Davidson. Fells did return to play six minutes against Lipscomb, but since hurting his ankle against Davidson, he has not scored in the last three and a half games and played just 14 minutes in that span.

Junior point guard Farnold Degand started the Pack's first game of the season, but missed the second half of that game at New Orleans, and played only 15 minutes over the first six games of the season. He has since returned and came off the bench for 12.5 minutes over the last two games.

RACE TO 1,000
A trio of Wolfpack players have the chance to do what only 40 other NC State basketball players have done before, score 1,000 career points. Seniors Courtney Fells and Ben McCauley and redshirt junior Brandon Costner made up the 2005 recruiting class for NC State, and all three have the chance to reach 1,000 career points during this season.

Costner is currently the closest to that mark as he has 979 career points, followed by McCauley with 887 and Fells with 823.

If all three players reach 1,000 points, it will mark only the second time in NC State history that three players from the same recruiting class all accomplished that feat (1980 - Thurl Bailey, Derek Whittenburg and Sidney Lowe). In fact, only nine times have a pair of players in the same recruiting class each scored 1,000 point during their careers, the last were Ilian Evtimov and Julius Hodge from the 2002 class.

The NC State defense has helped the Pack to a 7-1 start on the season. The Wolfpack currently leads the ACC giving up a mere 58.1 points per game, as only two opponents have scored over 60 points in a game. NC State is also the only team currently holding opponents under 60.0 points a game in the conference.

The Wolfpack is also leading the conference in both field goal percentage defense (.352) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.260).

Only one opponent has shot over 40.0 percent in a game this season, New Orleans (.458), and the Pack is allowing the opposition to hit just 33.4 percent of its shots at home this season.

In Sidney Lowe's three seasons, the Wolfpack is 7-0 when it holds opponents under 50 points, a perfect 17-0 when teams score under 60 points, and 31-3 when holding teams to under 70 points.

Not only does the Pack lead the ACC in field goal percentage defense, but NC State is also first in three-point field goal percentage defense. Opponent's have only hit 26.0 percent (39-150) of their long range ties.

NC State has improved in its three-point field goal percentage defense since the first two games of the season. In those opening two contests, the Pack allowed New Orleans and High Point to shoot a combined 43.2 percent (16-37) from long range. But over the last six games, teams have combined to shoot just 20.4 percent (23-113), with Davidson having the top game at just 25.0 percent (6-24).

Coming into the season, freshman Julius Mays was third on the depth chart at point guard. But his patience has paid off, and he made his first start against Lipscomb.

When Farnold Degand went down with a knee injury in the first game of the season, Mays became the Pack's backup point guard in the first six games of the year. With a healthy Degand and Javier Gonzalez in the lineup against East Carolina, Mays did not see action. But with Gonzalez now with an elbow injury, Mays got the call and made his first career start against Lipscomb on Saturday. Mays finished with nine points and seven assists in 24 minutes, but more importantly he did not commit a single turnover.

Trevor Ferguson is the Pack's top deep threat this season, providing clutch three-point shooting. He has hit at least one three-pointer in 13 straight games dating back to last season, the fourth-longest streak in the ACC.

Ferguson has connected on 44.4 percent (16-36) of his long range tries this season, and over the last three games he has hit eight, including a career-best four against Lipscomb.

Ferguson is averaging 2.0 three-pointers a game, fifth-best in the ACC.

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