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December 5, 2009MILWAUKEE, Wis. - NC State overcame a sluggish first half by shooting a stunning 71.4 percent from the field in teh second Saturday to upset Marquette 77-73 at the Bradley Center.
NC State shot 20 of 28 from the field in the second half, and hit all four three-point field goal attempts.
Junior center Tracy Smith scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half, and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, and junior point guard Javi Gonzalez added 15 points and seven assists, to spark the Wolfpack, who improved to 6-1 on the season. Twelve of Gonzalez's points came in the second half.
NC State also received a spark from two surprise sources in the second half, with freshman forward Josh Davis coming off the bench for nine points and six rebounds, and some quality defense played on Marquette star Lazar Hayward. Also, fifth-year senior shooting guard Farnold Degand made his season debut after being cleared from an academic-related suspension. Degand added six points in 14 minutes off the bench and helped Gonzalez out with the ballhandling duties. Davis and Degand combined for 11 second-half points.
NC State was outscored 36-25 in the first half, and struggled with turnovers and allowing offensive rebounds against the much-smaller Golden Eagles (6-2). The Wolfpack came out aggressively, and with Smith scoring inside or passing it out to perimeter shooters, the offense found a rhythm. NCSU outscored Marquette 52-37 in the second half. Only poor free-throw shooting down the stretch made the score closer than it was, with the Wolfpack 10 of 20 at the line.
NC State shot lights out from the field, going 30 of 56 for 53.6 percent, including 7 of 12 from three-point range with Gonzalez going 3 of 5.
Marquette finished the game shooting only 25 of 66 from the field for 37.9 percent, but had 20 offensive rebounds. Forward Jimmy Butler led the way with 19 points and 12 boards, and Hayward added 15 points.
NC State returns to action Dec. 12 with a 2 p.m. home game against Georgia Southern.