November 21, 2007

Lowe expects McCauley to overcome slow start

For the North Carolina State men's basketball team to live up to expectations, it has to find a role for junior Ben McCauley to thrive in.

The 6-10, 238-pound forward/center has struggled the first two games coming off the bench. He played 14 minutes in the 66-47 win over William & Mary, making his one field goal attempt, grabbing one rebound and blocking one shot.

The loss to New Orleans Nov. 18 proved equally frustrating for McCauley. He shot 1 of 4, grabbed one rebound and got one steal in 14 minutes of action in the 65-63 defeat.

The insertion of freshman star J.J. Hickson into the starting lineup in place of McCauley has diminished his impact on the team.

"Anytime you make a change, certain players have to make adjustments," NC State coach Sidney Lowe said. "You have a guy inside [in Hickson], who plays inside and you run your stuff and play off of it. I don't think you have to make that big of an adjustment. It really isn't that difficult."

The first two games were a far cry from what McCauley experienced last year, when he rarely had a substitute. McCauley enjoyed a breakout campaign, averaging 14.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 34.5 minutes per game. He shot 58.4 percent from the field, emerged as one of the best passing big men in the Atlantic Coast Conference and attracted some attention from NBA scouts.

Lowe hopes, in time, he can have both big men maximizing their potential at the same time. McCauley picked up two fouls in the first half against William & Mary, putting a damper on the experiment.


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