NC State follows Auburn upset by beating USC Upstate 98-71

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Graduate transfer Eric Lockett had season highs of 15 points and eight rebounds to help North Carolina State beat USC Upstate 98-71 on Saturday.

Devon Daniels added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Wolfpack (11-1), who followed a home upset of seventh-ranked Auburn with an easy win. N.C. State has its best start since going 12-1 to start the 2005-06 season.

The Wolfpack shot 55 percent and led most of the way by double figures, winning a fifth straight game and positioning Kevin Keatts club for a possible appearance in Monday's new AP Top 25 poll.

N.C. State finished with five scorers in double figures.

Senior Pat Welch scored a career-high 14 points with four 3-pointers for the Spartans (4-9), who shot 47 percent. But USC Upstate committed 21 turnovers against the Wolfpack's pressure, and N.C. State converted those into 28 points.

BIG PICTURE

USC Upstate: The Spartans had entered with two straight wins but faced a tough task trying to take down a power-conference opponent on the road. USC Upstate has now lost both games against power-conference teams (South Carolina from the Southeastern Conference was the other) and visits another Atlantic Coast Conference team with a Jan. 2 trip to Georgia Tech before starting their first run through the Big South after 11 years in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack turned in a rousing and impressive performance in knocking off Auburn, namely in big games from Daniels and Markell Johnson. The trick Saturday was to follow up with a quality performance in a game N.C. State was expected to win comfortably. The Wolfpack faced no real jeopardy, though Keatts appeared frustrated at times by the play of his starters; he yanked them and sat most of the quintet for nearly 6 first-half minutes, then went with his reserves for the first 4-plus minutes after halftime.

UP NEXT

USC Upstate: The Spartans return home to face Coker on Dec. 29.

N.C. State: Loyola (Maryland) visits the Wolfpack on Friday night.