N.C. State's 93-78 exhibition victory over Marathon Oil Sunday afternoon was far from the perfect performance the Wolfpack may need to contend in the Atlantic Coast Conference. But it certainly painted a picture of what kind of season it may be for Les Robinson's team.
The Wolfpack shot 31 - count 'em, 31 - 3-pointers and made 11. State pumped up shots to take the lead, and they pumped shots and lost leads.In the end, it was Rodney Monroe, who scored 28 points, including 20 in the second half, who shot the Pack to the win. Monroe was stone cold in the first half, hitting two of 12 shots, including two of eight 3-pointers. But in the second, he hit seven of 10 shots overall and three of five three-pointers.
``It was a typical exhibition game,' said Robinson. ``There was an abundance of mistakes, but we did some good things too. Mostly it was our attitude. We got over the feat of shooting the three.
``We shot more threes today than maybe we will during the regular season. We missed four or five, but we still had the confidence to come back and shoot it again after going cold.
``We've found that if we shoot 10 for 21 we usually win, and if we shoot four for 21 we lose. Hopefully, we won't have many of those four for 21 nights.'
The Wolfpack hit four of its first five 3-pointers and raced to a 21-7 lead, but missed 13 of its next 15 as Marathon closed the lead to 38-30 at the half.
Less than six minutes into the second half, Marathon, which has beaten Connecticut, Boston College and Virginia Commonwealth on its tour, cut the lead to 48-46.
But just as quickly as the lead evaporated, Monroe got it back to 53-48 with a three-pointer and a drive in the lane.
Tom Gugliotta, who finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, started a run that blew the game open when he dunked the rebound of a missed three by Corchiani. Bryant Feggins followed with a short jumper off the low post and freshman Migjen Bakalli and Monroe hit back-to-back threes to push the lead to 69-55.
The Wolfpack had no qualms about taking three-pointers any time, any where. Twice Monroe pulled up on fast breaks and swished long jumpers. Even Bakalli did it once. So did Corchiani.
And often, when the misses bounded long, the Wolfpack was all over the rebound. They won the board battle 55-45. Gugliotta had eight offensive rebounds.
The lead went as high as 20 on - you guessed it - a Corchiani three-pointer.
Feggins finished with 14 points and Kevin Thompson snatched 13 rebounds. Corchiani finished with 21 points and five assists. And Bakalli scored seven playing 17 good minutes.
All in all, Robinson got a chance to take a long look at a team that many expect to have a solid starting five and a weak bench. But Robinson was pleased in the first half, when he ran in a unit of freshmen Bakalli, Adam Fletcher and Marc Lewis and lettermen David Lee and Roland Whitley. They played two minutes and lost only one point of a 12-point lead.
``That's what we want to accomplish,' Robinson said.
None of the starters played more than Gugliotta's 35 minutes and no one got in foul trouble.
``After about 30 practices,' Robinson said, ``there were no surprises. It was about what I expected, but it was nice to win that first one.'
State plays the German National Team Friday night at 7:30.
MARATHON OIL (78) - Kelley 2-10 1-2 6; Jeter 8-11 0-0 16; Timberlake 0-4 1-2 1; Houston 6-11 0-0 15; Ford 3-10 4-4 11; May 6-19 0-0 12; Carr 1-5 0-0 2; Bell 5-9 3-4 13; O'Sullivan 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 32-82 9-12 78.
N.C. STATE (93) - Fletcher 0-1 0-0 0; Corchiani 7-13 4-4 21; Whitley 0-1 0-0 0; Monroe 9-22 5-6 28; Bakalli 3-9 0-0 7; Gugliotta 6-14 1-2 15; Lee 0-1 2-2 2; Robinson 1-1 0-0 2; Feggins 7-13 0-0, 14; Thompson 1-5 2-6 4; Lewis 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 34-82 14-20 93.
Halftime: State 38-30. Rebounds: N.C. State 55 (Gugliotta 15, Thompson 13, Monroe 6, Bakalli 6) Marathon 45 (Bell 11). Assists: N.C. State 18 (Corchiani 5), Marathon 17 (Ford 4, Kelley 4, Timberlake 4). Turnovers: N.C. State 17, Marathon 13. 3-Point Shots: N.C. State 11-31 (Gugliotta 2-5, Corchiani 3-7, Monroe 5-13, Bakalli 1-5, Lewis 0-1); Marathon 5-21 (Ford 1-6, May 0-4, Kelley 1-2, Houston 3-6, Timberlake 0-2, Jeter 0-1). Officials: Herring, Croft, Styons. Attendance: 4,200.