NC State dismantled Loyola Maryland 97-64 tonight to close out the 2018-19 non-conference schedule with a 12-1 record heading into conference play.
The 12-1 record marks the best start to a season since 2005-06.
It was a slow start tonight for the Wolfpack, but you wouldn’t know it from the 97 points they put up on the JumboTron.
NC State shot an audacious 62.5% from the field, which is the best they’ve shot in a single game this year (60.7% against Penn State was the prior high). They entered the game leading the ACC in field goal percentage (51.8%), ranking 5th in the NCAA.
The Wolfpack have now won 12 straight games in PNC Arena, giving the Pack their longest winning streak on their court since NC State won 12 consecutive games from February 29th, 2012 to January 26th, 2013.
NC State stayed en fuego from beyond the arch, shooting 43.8% from deep (7-16). They entered the game shooting 41.2%, ranking 2nd in the ACC, and 8th in the nation.
The Wolfpack had 5 players score in double-figures against Loyola Maryland for the 4th time this season (UNC Asheville, Penn State & USC Upstate).
Senior Torin Dorn (7-14 FG) led the Pack in scoring with 17 points, and also led the team with 8 rebounds. The Wolfpack were the best with Dorn on the court, leading the team with a +28 plus/minus rating.
Freshman Jericole Hellems was a huge spark, tying a career high with 16 points (7-11 FG) off the bench. Hellems plays with so much poise and balance for a Freshman, contributing in so many ways, adding 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
Sophomore Braxton Beverly initially returned from injury ice cold, but he has found his stroke again, hitting 3 of his 5 three-point attempts tonight. He finished with 13 points (5-8 FG).
Redshirt Junior CJ Bryce was a force, filling the stat sheet in every way possible. He finished with 13 points (6-8 FG), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals.
Redshirt Sophomore DJ Funderburk was the final man in double figures, adding 10 points (5-6 FG), 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Redshirt Sophomore Devon Daniels led the Wolfpack with 7 assists and Redshirt Graduate Junior Wyatt Walker had 4 blocks.
NC State outrebounded Loyola by 14 (38-24), beating their average +9.8 rebounding margin, which already ranked 3rd in the ACC, and 11th in the nation.
The Wolfpack finished with a season best 24 assists and 13 blocks, marking the most swats in PNC Arena history.
Good shooting from the field and from beyond the arch…Forcing Turnovers…Positive Rebounding Margin…Balance…Bench Production…these have become staples of this team. They don’t seem to be a fluke. They seem to be their DNA.
With that being said, there are two things from tonights performance that are also trending, that need to get turned around.
Loyola Maryland turned NC State over 19 times (the Wolfpack turned them over 24 times). The Wolfpack entered the game tied for the 3rd most turnovers in the ACC (13.5 per game).
Also, Junior Markell Johnson finished with 0 points tonight in 14 minutes of play. He scored 4 points against USC Upstate last game. On the year, Johnson is tied for the 4th most field goal attempts on the team, but leads the team in field goal percentage and three point percentage.
If NC State’s non-conference DNA carries into ACC play, and they can learn how to take better care of the ball, and Markell Johnson can play more aggressively, it could be a special year for the Wolfpack.
ACC play officially kicks off for NC State next Thursday night down in Miami, with tipoff set for 7pm on ESPNU.