ECU can’t contain State’s McCauley and Costner

Published 4:41 pm Thursday, December 18, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
RALEIGH - There would be no last-second heroics this time around for East Carolina, though Brock Young gave his best to try to provide some, including a few teeth.
Young drove to the hoop at will, tallying a game-high 25 points and handed out six assists, but he could not hand Pirates’ fans another ACC victory as they fell to the Wolfpack 87-76 on Wednesday night.
How could there be another miracle ending as the Pirates played down the stretch without big men Chad Wynn and Darrius Morrow, who each fouled out midway through the second half trying to defend North Carolina’s State’s frontcourt tandem of Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner?
The Wolfpack (6-1) duo packed a big punch as it wore down the Pirates defense and delivered key buckets to avenge last season’s 75-69 loss at Minges Coliseum.
McCauley said that loss provided motivation for him and his teammates.
Despite missing their only two players above 6-8, the Pirates were down a mere 78-74 with 3:21 left in the game thanks to a Sam Hinnant layup, but they could never catch up to the Wolfpack.
East Carolina mustered only two more points the rest of way.
McCauley was a force in the paint as he tallied a team-high 24 points, while pulling down 17 boards, as his side kick Costner poured in 20 and ripped down seven rebounds.
N.C. State was playing without G/F Courtney Fells, who hurt his shoulder earlier in the season against Davidson, but got solid efforts from Tracy Smith (11 points) and Simon Harris (five points) in his absence.
Their effort was equaled only by Young, ECU’s sophomore point guard. The Raleigh native put on a shown for his hometown fans as he attacked the net with aggression and provided points for the Pirates when they were getting none anyplace else.
The 5-10 Young was huge down the stretch and at one point in the second half scored 17 points in a row for the Pirates.
Hinnant finished the game with 18 points, but the Pirates’ other perimeter players had trouble finding their rhythm, as well as their big men.
Wynn and Morrow combined for 12 points, as Wynn fouled out with nine minutes left in the second half, while Morrow was out three minutes later.
While Young proved he is capable of taking over a game, he also showed he can take a beating. With under four minutes left in the game Young took an elbow to the face from Wolfpack point guard Javier Gonzalez, which knocked more than one tough out of his mouth.
After receiving treatment, Young was immediately back in the game.
Thanks to a Gonzalez buzzer-beater right before halftime, the Wolfpack headed into the break with a 45-42 lead.
N.C. State’s momentum carried over into the second half as it peeled off a 15-2 run which ended when McCauley nailed a short jumper to put the Pack up 60-44.
For the first seven minutes of the half, the Pirates managed only two points.
The Pirates will need to rebound quickly, as they will face another ACC power in Wake Forest on Monday.
Legan 3-10 0-0 7, Hinnant 6-15 2-3 18, Young 9-23 6-8 25, Abrams 3-7 0-0 7, Wynn 2-5 2-2 6, Morrow 2-5 2-2 6, Turner 2-6 0-0 4, Sherrod 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 28-73 12-15 76.
N.C. STATE (6-1)
Harris 2-3 0-0 5, Gonzalez 2-4 0-0 6, Ferguson 2-4 1-2 6, Costner 8-14 5-6 24, McCauley 6-7 8-11 20, Degand 0-4 7-8 7, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, T.Smith 4-5 3-5 11, Thomas 1-6 1-1 3, Horner 2-4 1-1 5. Totals 27-52 26-34 87.
Halftime—N.C. State 45-42. 3-Point Goals—East Carolina 8-26 (Hinnant 4-9, Sherrod 1-2, Abrams 1-4, Young 1-5, Legan 1-6), N.C. State 7-21 (Costner 3-7, Gonzalez 2-4, Harris 1-2, Ferguson 1-3, Horner 0-1, Degand 0-1, Williams 0-1, Thomas 0-2). Fouled Out—Morrow, Sherrod, Wynn. Rebounds—East Carolina 35 (Morrow, Wynn 8), N.C. State 39 (Costner 17). Assists—East Carolina 8 (Young 6), N.C. State 16 (Costner, Degand, Gonzalez, Harris 3). Total Fouls—East Carolina 26, N.C. State 11. Technical—Ferguson. A—16,763. al Fouls: No