Pack Bounces Back With 74-49 Win

n..c. state

Gavin Grant scored 23 points Saturday to help North Carolina State beat South Carolina State 74-49.

Freshman J.J. Hickson had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Wolfpack (5-3), who won a game for the first time in nearly three weeks.

N.C. State hadn't played since last weekend's 75-69 loss at East Carolina, the second straight frustrating performance for a team that was picked to finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Before that, Michigan State beat the Wolfpack 81-58 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 28.

But N.C. State, playing its first home game in nearly a month, had little trouble ending its skid against the Bulldogs (3-7). After a fast start by both teams, the Wolfpack ran off 15 unanswered points - six coming from Grant - to grab a double-digit lead before cruising much of the way.

Grant finished 9-for-15 from the field, including a two-handed reverse dunk on a breakaway to end the decisive first-half run, but went just 5-for-10 from the foul line. Hickson had another strong day, scoring 16 first-half points and hitting 10 of 13 free throws on the day.

N.C. State led by 17 at halftime and pushed the lead to as much as 60-31 on a three-point play from Ben McCauley with about 13 1/2 minutes left. But the Wolfpack didn't put a strong cap on the day, as S.C. State put together a 16-3 run to close the gap to 63-47 on a dunk from Jason Johnson with about 6 minutes left.

The Wolfpack also struggled with its execution on offense during the Bulldogs' run, going without a field goal for more than 9 minutes following McCauley's score and committing numerous turnovers. Still, the Wolfpack finished with a season-high point total, cracking the 70-point mark for just the second time all year.

Johnson scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, who shot just 30 percent and 2-for-12 from 3-point range.