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January 13, 2009

NC State faces tall order tonight against FSU

Florida State went from being one of the smallest teams in the ACC last year to one of the biggest.

The days of playing guards Toney Douglas, Isaiah Swann, Jason Rich and Ralph Mims together with a post player are gone, with only Douglas still on the squad after graduation gutted the lineup.

Florida State has gone in the opposite direction with four starters who are 6-foot-7 or taller, plus they also play 6-9 senior Uche Echefu and 6-11 freshman Xavier Gibson off the bench.

NC State usually is the tallest team on the court with 6-9 senior center Ben McCauley and 6-9 redshirt junior power forward Brandon Costner, plus 6-9 junior Dennis Horner and 6-8 sophomore Tracy Smith coming off the bench.

NC State will have some different challenges tonight in facing Florida State at the RBC Center.

"It's going to be very difficult," NC State coach Sidney Lowe said. "They come at you with excellent ball-handling ability and play-making, obviously with Douglas in there. They are running floor and their bigs are pounding the boards. They execute their stuff well."

Sophomore Jordan DeMercy, who played small forward last year, has moved to shooting guard this season, but is more of a glue guy, defensive presence for the Seminoles.

The frontcourt got a boost with highly-touted 6-9 freshman Chris Singleton, who is probably more of a combo forward than true perimeter threat at this point in his development.

Junior Ryan Reid, who is 6-8, beat out Echefu for the starting power forward spot and is a bruiser with missed some games to suspension last year.

The new center is the tallest of the Seminoles - 7-1 redshirt freshman center Solomon Alabi, who has considerable potential, but is raw.

Douglas tries to make it all work for the 13-3 Seminoles, who are coming off a loss to Duke on Saturday in their ACC opener.

"You don't see a lot of their guys trying to do something they aren't capable of doing," Lowe said. "That's a credit to those guys and their coach. Those guys play within themselves. The ball gets to the right people. That will be tough for us, when you are guarding a guy like Douglas who has the green light all the time."

Florida State preview

NC State 2008-09 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

Florida State roster

Florida State schedule/results

Florida State season stats

Game facts

Florida State (13-3, 0-1 ACC) at NC State (9-4, 0-1 ACC)

Game time: Today, Jan. 13, 7 p.m. - RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C.

Television: ESPNU

Probable starters

NC State

PG - 12 Farnold Degand (6-3, R-Jr., 4.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.3 apg)
SG - 15 Trevor Ferguson (6-5, R-Jr., 7.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.5 apg)
SF -4 Courtney Fells (6-6, Sr., 10.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.9 apg)
PF - 33 Brandon Costner (6-9, R-Jr., 14.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.1 bpg)
C - 34 Ben McCauley (6-9, Sr., 13.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg)

Florida State

PG - 23 Toney Douglas (6-2, Sr., 18.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 2.0 spg)
SG - 2 Jordan DeMercy (6-7, Soph., 4.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.0 spg)
SF- 31 Chris Singleton (6-9, Fr., 9.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.2 bpg)
PF - 42 Ryan Reid (6-8, Jr., 7.1 ppg, 4.2, rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.9 bpg)
C - 32 Solomon Alabi (7-1, R-Fr., 6.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.3 apg, 2.0 bpg)

Scouting Florida State

Location: Tallahassee, Fla.

Nickname: Seminoles

2007-08 record: 19-15 overall, 7-9 ACC

2008 postseason: Lost 65-60 to Akron in the first round of the NIT

Coach: Leonard Hamilton, 21st season overall (319-299) and 7th season at Florida State (119-89)

The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 25-17

Last meeting: Florida State won 72-62 on Feb. 27, 2008, in Raleigh

Notes

Florida State: Echefu started his first three years at Florida State, but has come off the bench in all 14 games this season. He is averaging 7.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, down from last year's 10 points and 7.3 rebounds. He scored a season high 17 points against California, and has played between 14 and 29 minutes per contest … Junior college transfer Derwin Kitchen, a 6-4 combo guard, became eligible in the Seminoles' 10th game. He has scored in double digits the last three games with 16 against Duke on Saturday. He originally signed with both Florida and St. John's, but couldn't qualify academically … Douglas has scored 20 points or more in eight games with a season-high 30 against Coastal Carolina.

NC State: Costner's nine-point effort against Clemson on Saturday, snapped a six-game streak where he scored 11 points or more, including three games over 24 points. Costner has averaged 17.1 points per game over his last seven games, which is a smidge better than the 16.8 points he averaged as a redshirt freshman in 2006-2007 … Sophomore point guard Javi Gonzalez played seven minutes against Clemson after missing four games (and most of a fifth) with first an elbow injury and then an ankle … Freshman combo guard Julius Mays has carved out a niche off the bench, playing in double figures for minutes in all but two games. He scored eight points on 2 of 7 shooting (2 of 3 on three-pointers) in 11 minutes against Clemson … Ferguson returned from a three-game absence due to an injury on his left ring finger to play a team-high 37 minutes against Clemson. He scored five points, dished out three assists and grabbed three rebounds, but held Tigers' sharp-shooter Terence Oglesby to three points.


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