Courtney Fells scored 18 points and J.J. Hickson had 13 as North Carolina State came from behind to beat Rider 72-63 in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic on Thursday.
Brandon Costner added 11 points for North Carolina State (2-1), which dropped out of the Top 25 this week. The Wolfpack, ranked 21st last week, were beat 65-63 by New Orleans on Sunday.
Rider (2-2) got 24 points and 15 rebounds from Jason Thompson.
North Carolina State used a 22-7 run to go ahead 58-48 with 7 1-2 minutes left in the second half. Fells and Farnold Degand hit consecutive 3-pointers, and Ben McCauley turned a steal into a 3-point play in a 90-second stretch.
After going 0-for-7 from 3-point range in the first half, North Carolina State converted five of six long-range tries during the second. Justin Robinson, who had 13 points, and Harris Mansell both had 3's.
Rider used six 3-pointers to take a 31-28 halftime lead. The Broncs took their biggest lead, at 26-17, when Lamar Johnson hit a 3 with 4:16 remaining.
North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe said Hickson, who entered averaging 26.5 points, didn't start because he broke a team policy. Lowe also said it has not been determined if the freshman will start Friday's game against South Carolina.
Hickson made his initial appearance five minutes into the game. He scored five of his nine first-half points during the final four minutes, helping the Wolfpack cut the deficit from nine to three at intermission.
Hickson played 21 minutes. He had six rebounds and three blocks.