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January 27, 2009

Super-sized lineup could spark Pack

NC State has struggled to find a consistent starting five with eight different starting lineups.

Part of it is due to the injuries that point guards Farnold Degand and Javier Gonzalez, plus wings Courtney Fells and Trevor Ferguson have suffered.

A new lineup could be on the horizon, possibly tonight against Miami at the RBC Center (game televised on ESPNU). NC State turned around the Boston College game last Saturday when it turned to its "big" lineup in the second half.

Boston College dominated the first half, 42-27, out-rebounding NC State 27-14, including 14 on the offensive boards. The Wolfpack only shot 9 of 28 for 32.1 percent and were in the process of getting blown out.

NC State coach Sidney Lowe turned to playing 6-9 senior center Ben McCauley, 6-9 redshirt junior power forward Brandon Costner and 6-8 sophomore forward Tracy Smith on the frontline, the first time all season the Wolfpack have featured the lineup.

Fells returned to shooting guard, his position the previous three years, and Degand manned the point guard spot.

"[We] haven't had that consistency with five guys," Lowe said. "We are trying to find a top five. We have a couple that will play well but then a couple that won't play well. We just have to get the top seven or eight guys and then play those guys. Go with the guys that are being productive."

NC State ripped off 16-straight points and got within three with 14:21 left, but BC and point guard Tyrese Rice proved too strong in pulling away for a 79-68 win. The Wolfpack were out-rebounded 19-11 in the second half (46-25 for the game), but the big lineup shot 16 of 28 from the field after halftime for 57.1 percent.

Smith finished with a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes, McCauley added 15 points and six boards, but Costner only had six points and four rebounds.

Lowe said he turned to the big lineup because teams have been more physical on the boards and because he hopes the pros outweigh the cons, which would be less running and slower team on the court.

"I hope No. 1 it gives us a little more rebounding power, more physical play inside, which is what we've been seeing in our conference," Lowe said. "Offensively, with Ben or Tracy, it gives us two guys on the block that can score down there. That is where they do their best damage.

"Liability-wise, I don't know if we are playing against a quick three man or someone that can handle the ball if that might be an issue. Brandon moves his feet pretty good. We don't lose anything with Brandon there with his shooting, because he can step out and shoot the basketball."

Miami preview

NC State 2008-09 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

Miami roster

Miami schedule/results

Miami season stats

Game facts

Miami (14-5, 3-3 ACC) at NC State (10-7, 1-4 ACC)

Game time: Today, Jan. 27, 7 p.m. - RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Television: ESPNU

Probable starters

NC State

PG - 12 Farnold Degand (6-3, R-Jr., 4.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.2 apg)
SG - 21 C.J. Williams (6-5, Fr., 2.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.6 apg)
SF -4 Courtney Fells (6-6, Sr., 10.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.1 apg)
PF - 33 Brandon Costner (6-9, R-Jr., 14.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.1 bpg)
C - 34 Ben McCauley (6-9, Sr., 13.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg)

Miami

PG - 1 Lance Hurdle (6-2, Sr., 7.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.8 apg)
SG - 33 Jack McClinton (6-1, Sr., 17.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.1 apg)
SF - 32 Brian Asbury (6-7, Sr., 6.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.1 apg) or 23 James Dews (6-3, Jr., 8.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.2 apg)
PF - 00 Jimmy Graham (6-8, Sr., 3.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0) or 20 Cyrus McGowan (6-9, Jr., 6.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.6 apg)
C - 21 Dwayne Collins (6-8, Jr., 12.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg)

Scouting Miami

Location: Coral Gables, Fla.

Nickname: Hurricanes

2007-08 record: 23-11 overall, 8-8 ACC

2008 postseason: Lost 75-72 to Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament

Coach: Frank Haith, 5th season overall and at Miami (83-65)

The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 4-3

Last meeting: Miami won 63-50 at the ACC Tournament in Charlotte on March 13, 2008.

Notes

Miami: The Hurricanes have three transfers playing this season with McClinton coming from Siena, McGowan from Arkansas and Hurdle started off at UC Santa Barbara before going to junior college. Miami also has point guard Malcolm Grant, who is expected to replace Hurdle next year, sitting out after transferring from Villanova … Freshman wing DeQuan Jones, a former Wolfpack recruiting target, played at Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler with former NC State star J.J. Hickson, and future player Richard Howell, a Class of 2009 signee … Miami senior power forward Jimmy Graham attended Charis Prep in Wilson, N.C., redshirt freshman center Julian Gamble went to Southern Durham High and freshman center Reggie Johsnon, who is redshirting this season, attended Winston-Salem Prep. The Hurricanes also signed Garrius Adams of Apex (N.C.) Middle Creek for next year.

NC State: Costner battled foul trouble and scored six points in 26 minutes on 2 of 6 shooting against Boston College last Saturday. Costner has scored in single digits in five of the 17 games … McCauley is 11 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career, and has 16 points a game over the last three games … Degand tied his season-high with 10 points against BC, and easily surpassed his career high with seven assists against the Eagles … Fells scored 10 points, the first time he reached double figures in his last three games, but didn't record a rebound against Boston College … NC State athletics department officials are urging fans to wear pink in a show of support for Wolfpack women's coach Kay Yow and her legacy of fighting breast cancer, the disease that took her life over the weekend. There will be a moment of silence prior to the game.




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