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    TIM PEELER: Costner, Pack Looking for Clean Slate


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. No one is looking for a clean slate more than NC State sophomore Brandon Costner.

    And, maybe the ACC Tournament is just the place for that to happen. Last year in Tampa, Fla., Costner put his name in the tournament’s record books by scoring 90 points in three victories and a loss to North Carolina in the title game. It’s the highest four-game scoring total in tournament history, and the fourth highest scoring total of all time. (Wake Forest guard Randolph Childress scored 107 points in three games, and North Carolina’s Lennie Rosenbluth and South Carolina’s Grady Wallace both had higher three-game totals.)

    “It wasn’t too bad,” Costner said of leading the 10th-seeded Wolfpack to improbable wins over Duke, Virginia Tech and Virginia before losing to the Tar Heels. “It was just something that happened. There were a lot of different rotations and some mismatches that we were able to exploit.”

    Costner would like nothing better than to repeat his end-of-season scoring explosion this weekend at Bobcats Arena in downtown Charlotte. The 12th-seeded Wolfpack (15-15) tips off against fifth-seeded Miami (21-9) at approximately 2:30 p.m. in first-round action.

    Costner admits that his sophomore season has been a major disappointment, averaging just 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this year. Costner’s scoring average against other ACC teams is down more than half from last year’s 16.1 average. He hasn’t scored 90 points in the Wolfpack’s last 13 games, the last eight of which have been losses.

    “It’s been a rough season, personally,” said Costner, though he emphatically said later that he would return for next season. “I just haven’t been able to get into a groove.”

    But this time last year, Costner was in a groove approaching that of Childress and David Thompson, whose school tournament record of 84 points in three games in 1975 was broken by Costner’s performance.

    As a team, the Pack has also failed to live up to preseason expectations, when the media picked Sidney Lowe and his team to finish third in the ACC.

    “There’s been a lot of wasted potential this season,” Costner said. “We came into this season with a lot of high expectations. We knew we had the talent to compete, but for whatever reason, we weren’t able to put it all together.”

    That doesn’t mean that Costner, his teammates and head coach Sidney Lowe are discounting the possibility of something similar to last season happening again this weekend.

    “We came here knowing that this is a new opportunity for a fresh start,” Costner said. “The great thing about the tournament is that everybody is back to 0-0. And the first team that wins four games gets another new season.”

    Lowe is still confident that Costner can repeat last year’s scoring explosion, in which he scored 30 points against Duke and 28 against North Carolina.

    Brandon has confidence in playing in this situation,” Lowe said. “It is a new season for him and a new season for us. Everybody comes in here with no losses and it is up in the air. We showed that last year, and we showed it some years ago, that this is it and we have our opportunity.”

    You may contact Tim Peeler at



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