- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Maverick Rowan spent three weeks waking up with constant headaches and resting while doing no basketball work as he recovered from a concussion in the season opener.

The sophomore is still working his way back for North Carolina State, which beat McNeese State 89-57 on Thursday night.

“It’s pretty difficult for me because when I had my concussion, I wasn’t able to run or do anything touching a ball,” Rowan said. “So I had to slowly get back into it once I got cleared and I’ve just been slowly working my way back.”

Rowan scored 15 points off the bench on 6-for-11 shooting for the Wolfpack (10-2), his second double-digit scoring output in his four games back since missing seven straight games with the concussion.

Rowan said he suffered the concussion when he collided with the hip of a Georgia Southern player in the opener, then took an elbow from teammate BeeJay Anya on a rebound. The problems started immediately, sending him to the hospital for evaluation and a long rest.

After starting 31 games last year, he’s coming off the bench now as he adjusts to game action again.

“I think with Maverick the No. 1 thing is just getting in shape,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. “That’s not a knock on Maverick, he had three weeks where he was completely shut down. As he builds his stamina, gets his conditioning, I think he’s going to be very valuable to our team.”

Rowan made 3 of 7 3-pointers against McNeese State, pushing him to 9 of 21 (43 percent) in the past three games.

Jamaya Burr scored 14 points for the Cowboys (3-8), who shot 32 percent. N.C. State led 49-28 at halftime and by 38 points midway through the second half.

“They’re a very talented basketball team,” McNeese State coach Dave Simmons said. “This is what we strive to be like: we want to try to get to be that caliber of play. It was a good experience for us. … We kept fighting.”

BIG PICTURE

McNeese State: The Cowboys were playing their fifth and final “guarantee” road game, which the school schedules to raise money to fund the athletic department budget. McNeese State’s five guarantee games were set to earn $410,000 in payments, the school said.

N.C. State: N.C. State’s offense hasn’t been a problem in December. The Wolfpack had scored at least 90 points in consecutive games for the first time since the 2005-06 season, and nearly pushed that streak to three straight for the first time since the first three games of the 1995-96 season. N.C. State had shot at least 50 percent in its past two games, then shot 48 percent Thursday night.

“Offensively, I think if we move it and we execute, I do think we can score some points,” Gottfried said.

SMITH’S LATEST

Freshman Dennis Smith Jr. scored 23 points to lead N.C. State. He had an opening burst with a breakaway, reverse dunk and a pair of 3-pointers on the way to a 9-for-12 shooting day.

TIP-INS

McNeese State: The Cowboys shot 6 of 26 from 3-point range. … Labarrius Hill had 10 points and four blocked shots. … McNeese committed just 13 turnovers, though those led to 26 points for the Wolfpack.

N.C. State: N.C. State took a 55-27 rebounding advantage. … The Wolfpack made 16 of 19 free throws. … Walk-on reserve Chris Corchiani Jr. scored two baskets in the final bench-clearing seconds, matching his career total of four points.

UP NEXT

McNeese State: The Cowboys open Southland Conference play at Northwestern State on Dec. 31.

N.C. State: N.C. State hosts Rider on Wednesday in its final pre-Atlantic Coast Conference game.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25


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