Big first half propels NC State past Akron

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Coach Sidney Lowe of NC State couldn't help being impressed by his team's start.
Tracy Smith had 16 points and 11 rebounds as NC State beat Akron 66-45 at the Glenn Wilkes Classic on Friday.
Dennis Horner also scored 16 points for the Wolfpack (2-0), which took control early and built a 43-21 halftime lead.
"We were really good, especially defensively," Lowe said. "We really got after them and set the tone."
The Zips (0-2) got 10 points from Anthony Hitchens. Akron shot 30.9 percent from the field (17 of 55).
"They're very active. A tough ballclub," Lowe said of Akron. "We told our guys for the last five days that these guys are very aggressive.
"They get up on you."
Horner had five points, including a 3, and C.J. Williams hit two jumpers as NC State jumped out to a 17-4 lead 6 minutes into the game.
Smith had consecutive baskets to extend the Wolfpack advantage to 23-7 in the first half. Horner's second 3 of the game made it 31-12 with 7 minutes left in the half.
"Coach wanted us to come out and play hard defense," Smith said. "We came down here with the attitude to win our games in the tournament."
Smith closed out his 14-point first half on a 3-point play with 25 seconds remaining. Horner had 10 during the opening 20 minutes.
"It was important not to have a letdown," Smith said of the second half. "We didn't come out as intense as we did in the first half, but as the game went it picked up."
NC State improved to 15-2 in November during the last four seasons under Lowe. The Wolfpack will play Austin Peay today.
Akron freshman center Zeke Marshall, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds against Austin Peay on Nov. 15 in his first college game, had two points and four rebounds.
Zips forward Chris McKnight played 5 scoreless minutes in the first half after picking three fouls and finished with four points. Jimmy Conyers, also in foul trouble during the game, didn't score and fouled out with 3 minutes to play.
NC State fifth-year senior guard Farnold Degand missed his second game while serving an academic suspension. His return to the team is unknown.