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Keys to the Game: NC State vs. Purdue

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NC State @ Purdue
9pm | ESPNU & WatchESPN
ACC/Big Ten Challenge

NC State’s first road game of the season will also be their first true test. Purdue is 5-1 with quality wins over Missouri and BYU. Their lone loss came against a Kansas State team that been up and down so far this season.

The Wolfpack enter tonight’s game with a perfect 6-0 record, but without a true quality win to show for it. This actually was probably good scheduling on the part of Gottfried, seeing as this NC State team is one of the youngest teams in the nation. A fairly easy early season schedule gives this team a chance to figure out roles, gain chemistry and bolster their confidence. Tonight, however, all of that ends as the Pack will play a Purdue team that is favored at home and provides a very tough matchup for this young team.

Get to know Purdue
The Boilermakers are a big team with two 7 footers who both make it tough for other teams to get anything going in the middle. The better of the two is Isaac Haas who is a freshman averaging 12 points and 5 boards per game.

While their bigs are good, their go-to guy is quickly becoming freshman Vince Edwards who at 6’7 averages 13 points and 7 boards per game. Edwards dropped 25 on BYU last time out and is coming into his own for the Boilermakers. 6’6 guard Kendall Stephens is also a factor. The sophomore was their leading scorer before Edwards had his outbreak. Stephens averages 12 points per game but has been sort of inconsistent thus far with games of 24 and 21, but also games of 6, 9 and 4. They will also need to watch out for junior Rapheal Davis, who put up 22 on Missouri two game back.

This is a balanced team that can beat you from a lot of different places. Their one weakness however, has been their inability to take care of the basketball. They turn the ball over on over 21% of their possessions (averaging 15 TOs per game). That would seem like an area that State could take advantage, but the Pack is one of the worst teams in the nation at creating turnovers. That stat is strange thought, because State’s defense has been solid overall. The reason for this is that the Pack’s interior defense has been great, but their guards have not been able to disrupt enough to turn teams over.

Keys to the Game
State needs to set the tempo in this one. While Gottfried continuously preaches uptempo play, they have been slowed up a ton by opposing teams sitting back in a zone. The Pack will need to push the pace a lot like BYU did against Purdue last time out, however Purdue does have a good 2-3 that they will most certainly use often. State will also need Beejay Anya to stay on the floor. Anya is the one guy that is going to be huge in this game. With Purdue’s size and inside scoring ability, Anya will need to be the enforcer in the paint. Purdue only scores around 20% of their points from beyond the arc, so they’re not going to be bombing away against the Pack.

Another key for State is going to be rebounding. Purdue has size, and they have been a great offensive rebounding team thus far. Anya, Freeman and Washington are going to have to play physical in the paint and keep the Purdue bigs off the glass. (Purdue averages 12 second chance ppt). It will be interesting to see how they Pack fares here. Right now they are 4th in the nation in rebounding.

Lastly, State is going to need to score. The Pack has been up and down when it comes to putting points on the board. This team has loads of weapons but they are still learning to play together and still trying to get comfortable in the offense. Lacey absolutely needs to come out aggressive and force the issue. If he gets hot, Purdue could be in trouble. Turner, Barber and Caleb Martin will also need to provide him a little help in that category if they want to keep up. One problem could be getting good shots. Purdue’s interior defense has been tough to score on, allowing opponents to shoot only 37% from the field. The only team to get above that has been Kansas State who shot 44% (in Purdue’s only loss). Part of their success has been their ability to block shots. The Boilermakers are blocking 7 shots per game.

Players to Watch:
Again, Anya is going to be very important. Keeping him on the floor will be vital. He’s been foul prone when defending bigs who can stretch him out and bring him out of the paint. Luckily Purdue’s bigs aren’t quite as versatile as some he’s faced. They will need his shot blocking ability (he’s 2nd in the nation right now) and his big body to bang in the paint.

The other guy State desperately needs to get going is Lacey. The junior transfer has been their go-to scorer all season and is averaging 17ppg. In their recent close call against Boise State, Lacey only shot the ball 9 times. He did get aggressive and score two big buckets down the stretch but that won’t be enough against the Boilermakers. He will need to be aggressive and hunt his shot all night.

 

 

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NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts Postgame Press Conference After Coppin State: BULLETED

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NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media after the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State tonight. You can watch the press conference here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • First of all we’re going to continue to pray for Dusan Mahorcic.
    • I do not have an update at this point. He’s with our medical doctors and our trainers and I will know more hopefully in the next 24 hours.
    • We will  give you some type of an update when we get one.
    • I just wanted to keep him calm. It’s tough and you guys look at them as my players. I look at them as my  kids.
    • It is hard to see any of your kids or any of those guys in that situation.
    • I was there just to calm him down and let him know we are with him. I am obviously praying for him.
  • Our guards were really special  tonight.
    • There were 3 great guards on the floor because Sam Sessoms [of Coppin State] was pretty good  also.
    • It was really good to see Jarkel Joiner bounce back after not having a great game against Pitt.
    • Terquavion Smith was a pro’s pro tonight.
      • He did a little bit of everything, he defended, he scored  the basketball, he passed the basketball.
  • We didn’t feel like we played well in the Pitt game and we wanted to come in here, have a better showing, and play both ends of the floor.
  • I’ll get a thousand  questions about Reynolds Coliseum and we should play every game in here, but don’t send those  questions to me, send them to somebody else, but it’s a great venue and it was a great night.
    • I’m really appreciative of our fans for showing up.
    • It was an electric night. I thought the energy was great. We had a lot of fun.
  • The ‘STATE’ jerseys looked great, I thought they were  outstanding.
    • Hopefully we can see them again, maybe they’re not just a 1-game deal.
  • During the game, I thought we had a good 1st half, but we didn’t close the 1st half the way I wanted to.
  • We came out, and I  thought we were playing a lot better in the 2nd half, and then unfortunately with Dusan Mahorcic’s  situation it took the air out of us a bit, but we closed the game.
  • I’m happy the way Ernest Ross played today.
  • They [Coppin State] did a good job getting back in transition.
    • A lot of Casey Morsell’s shots have come when he was running the floor and getting out in transition.
    • They stayed at home.
    • The reason we got so many open looks to our post guys when we rolled was because they stayed with our shooters a lot.
  • I’ll take them [Joiner & Smith]. I don’t want to trade them, so I’ve got to say I’ll take them. I’m keeping them. I’m not  throwing them in, so I’m keeping those guys.
    • They are good and tonight they were electric. They were really good.
    • Every run that Coppin made they were there to answer it.
    • Here is what we do in practice with those guys.
      • I need them to play against each other because they challenge each other to become  better, but I also have to develop some type of chemistry with them.
      • So early on in the season, it was those 2 guarding each other, and they made each other better.
      • In the end, I have now switched it so they have to play together, so they have a better understanding and feel on how to play together.
  • Coppin is a team that is really dangerous. People from the other side won’t have name recognition, but you look at the Power Five and the bigger schools they have played, that is what has been great.
    • Georgetown was an overtime game, maybe multiple overtime games, and the Maryland game was tough.
    • He [Juan Dixon] has done that against all competition. I am happy for Juan.
      • I remember him back when I was at Hargrave. I sent Lonnie Baxter to Maryland who played with Juan and I have seen him since he was a really young kid.
  • One of the best kids I could have ever recruited [Joiner], especially the point guard position.
    • He didn’t have to tell me. I don’t know if he went  home that night [After Pitt].
    • Obviously, he probably went in and took 2,000 shots that night or more.
  • The #1 thing these kids are here for is their education.
    • Today was the last day of class, meaning we are going into exams, so we have to figure out a good balance of when to practice.
    • Right now our priorities shifted to make sure the guys finish out the semester strong, and take care of their academics. It is a great balancing act.
  • You gotta let me get past tonight, they’re [Miami] good, very talented.
    • I haven’t watched Miami at all, but I do know name recognition.
      • I know Isaiah Wong seems like he’s been around for 7 years, and he’s played great.
      • I’ll get a chance to watch them starting late tonight and early tomorrow.
      • They’re  talented.
      • Jim Larrañaga has done a great job with his team, it’ll be a tough road game for us, as all of them are.
  • Our guards did a great job of controlling the game, thats the maturity that I’m looking for.
    • I’ve got a Senior that’s been around a long time, in Jarkel.
    • I’ve also got a guy that is an elite scorer, who a lot of the conversations I’ve had with him are: ‘control the game, finish the game, be efficient down the  stretch, and don’t settle.’
      • He did a great job of not just taking deep 3’s, even though he took the last one.
      • He drove the basketball and we got to the free throw line.
  • Amazing. It’s not just NC State, you could almost make an argument that it’s America’s team, the ‘83 run was great.
    • It feels like every time you see something about them, I have to stop what I am doing just to read. It gets your heart beating a little bit.
    • It’s a great team with great folks, it was a great coach.
    • We’re excited…we’re gonna bring them back.
      • I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you that, but I think they’re supposed to come back in February to honor those guys and I think that’s the right thing to do…and if we can bring them back every week we should.
      • I think there were a few here tonight, and I’m glad our guys played well enough where our guys respect what those guys did.
  • You know he’s played so well and other people will say, you know, well he’s only averaged 16 points per game, you know the NBA scouts, they know he can score the basketball.
    • They wanted to see him pass the basketball, so I think he’s doing a really good job.
      • He’s either 1st or 2nd in the ACC in assists.
      • We’re seeing a young man grow up, and by the way, he’s saying to you guys: ‘Hey I can score if I need to, I just wanna show you I got a little bit more in my bag.’
      • But he’s really matured, you know he’s a kid.
        • And you know one of the reasons why he’s back is because he’s a kid and he enjoys his teammates.
      • You know when you saw Dusan go down, you know, I think he was affected more than anybody.

         

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Dusan Mahorcic Suffers Knee Injury vs. Coppin State

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NC State Center Dusan Mahorcic suffered a gruesome looking knee injury tonight in the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State in Reynolds Coliseum.

From what I’ve heard, Mahorcic suffered an injury to his kneecap, but the severity of his injury is unknown at this time. A kneecap injury can visually be a disturbing sight, and the NC State squad, especially Terquavion Smith, who had a good look at it, were emotionally moved in concern.

We will have to wait to see how long Mahorcic is out, but the need for DJ Burns to be able to play more minutes just became much more important. Also, Ernest Ross, who has always had a high ceiling, is going to need to grow up fast if Mahorcic is out for an extended period of time.

We are praying for you Dusan! Get well soon Big Fella!

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball’s: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: Highlight Reel & Condensed Game

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NC State defeated Coppin State 94-72 in Reynolds Coliseum tonight. You can check out the Box Score here. Below is the Highlight Reel & Condensed Game from the ACC Digital Network.

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: BOX SCORE

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NC State improved to 8-2 on the year, defeating Coppin State 94-72 tonight in Reynolds Coliseum.

Only 2 Wolfpack players scored in double figures, and it was none other than the dangerous tandem of Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner.

Smith led the team in points and assists, with 33 & 7 respectively. Smith wax clicking tonight, shooting 12-21 from the field, and 6 of 12 from three.

Joiner bounced back from a poor shooting performance against Pitt, scoring 29 points, shooting 11-21 from the field, and a blazing 5-7 from three.

Jack Clark had a poor shooting night, hitting only 1 of 7, but he managed to impact the game in every other way. Clark had 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.

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