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NC State Snaps 3-Game Losing Streak, Holding on to Beat Pitt 79-76 on the Road

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NC State had a double-digit lead for the first time in ACC play this season, but that didn’t prevent today’s game at Pitt from coming down to the final seconds.

Redshirt Junior CJ Bryce did what Clemson’s Marcquise Reed couldn’t do when NC State hit a buzzer beater 2 weeks ago.

Reed missed 4 consecutive free throws with 13 seconds left in the game, opening the door for Braxton Beverly to sink a three with time expiring to give the Pack the victory.

In contrast, Bryce hit 3 of his 4 free throws with 9 seconds left on the clock.

Bryce has been NC State’s best player in conference play, and nothing changed in that regard today. He finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Bryce shot 6 of 11 from the field, 4 of 5 from beyond the arch, and 5 of 6 from the charity stripe. Today’s performance marks the second time he has scored over 20 points this season (23 against Notre Dame).

Four other Wolfpack players scored in double digits along side Bryce.

Sophomore Braxton Beverly hit 5 three-pointers for the 5th time in his career, and the third time this season. He was 5 of 9 from deep, paving the way to a 17 point performance.

Junior Markell Johnson’s performance was reminiscent of last year, when he led the ACC in assists. Johnson finished with 8 assists (2 turnovers), and 10 points, hitting 3 of his 6 three-point attempts. The last time he had 8 assists was on February 20th last year against Boston College.

Senior Torin Dorn and Redshirt Sophomore DJ Funderburk both scored in double figures as well, scoring 13 and 12 respectively. Dorn led the Pack with 8 rebounds, and Funderburk was a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line.

The Wolfpack didn’t shoot the ball well as a team from the field (40.6%), and didn’t do a great job preventing the Panthers from shooting well. Pitt shot 44.4% from three and 84.2% from the charity stripe (NC State – 61.9%).

So how did NC State do it?

The Wolfpack hit a season high 14 three pointers, connecting on 51.9% from deep range.

They only turned the ball over 10 times, and managed to turn Pitt over 15 times.

NC State also had 20 offensive rebounds compared to the Panthers 13.

Overall, NC State led for 28:28 of the 40 minutes of play.

Enjoy the Ice Cream up in Pittsburgh fellas.

After snapping a losing streak, NC State will look to start a winning streak on Wednesday night, when the Wolfpack will host Syracuse for a 8pm tipoff.

NC State Basketball

PI EXCLUSIVE: NC State’s Kiara Leslie Talks About Going 10th in WNBA Draft

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Two weeks ago, NC State Graduate Senior Kiara Leslie was selected 10th overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics. I caught up with her, and she gave her thoughts:

Leslie started her collegiate career at Maryland, so she is excited to be heading to familiar territory.

I’m going back to an area I’m am familiar with, and I know a few of their players.

Kiara Leslie

Even though some were shocked Leslie went so high, it wasn’t a complete shock to her.

I knew it was possible. I had a few teams with picks in the 1st round that I had been communicating with. They didn’t confirm where they would take me, but I knew it was possible. It’s been a blessing. Nobody but God made this happen.

Kiara Leslie

Wolfpack head coach Wes Moore, who came in 2nd in the voting for National Coach of the Year, made a tremendous impact on Leslie’s game over the past two seasons.

This year I had to play a bigger role on the team. He helped me broaden my game and become more comfortable doing things I wasn’t used to doing before.

Kiara Leslie

As a current resident of Holly Springs, North Carolina, it’s awesome to see a native of the Springs make it as a professional athlete.

Not a lot of people from a small town make it to the big stages and play professionally. I am really happy to represent Holly Springs and be a role model for the youth who desire to play professionally as well.

Kiara Leslie

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Cincinnati’s Nysier Brooks Receiving Interest from NC State

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According to CBSSports’ Jon Rotstein, Cincinnati Transfer Nysier Brooks (6’11″/240) is receiving interest from NC State.

Brooks isn’t a graduate transfer, so he would have to sit one year to play one year.

It honestly is an odd move that Brooks submitted his name to the Transfer Portal. He started all 35 games last year for the Bearcats, averaging 8.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He was named Cincinnati’s Defensive Player of the Year.

He’s already 22 years old, and would be 24 by the time he left college if he does in fact transfer.

The reason seems to be stemming from Mike Cronin being hired as UCLA’s coach, as well as a lack of relationship with new coach John Brannen. His Guardian expressed frustration on Twitter that Brannen hadn’t reached out to them yet, and they were leaving Cincinnati as a family.

While it would be huge to add someone of Brooks size and athletic ability, he would suck up 2 years of a scholarship, and only play one. That’s not a big deal if you don’t have anyone already sitting out a year, but Thomas Allen is already doing so. That would leave the Wolfpack with only 11 scholarship players next season.

With that being said, there is some speculation that Brooks could graduate in June, and become a Graduate Transfer.

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NC State is Recruiting Oakland Graduate Transfer Jaevin Cumberland

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According to Joe Giglio of the News & Observer, NC State is actively recruiting Oakland Graduate Transfer Jaevin Cumberland (6’3″/185).

On April 11th, news broke that Jaevin Cumberland would be transferring out of Oakland for his final year of eligibility.

To say that 2018-19 was a breakout season for Cumberland would be an understatement. After playing minimal minutes as a reserve his first two seasons, and redshirting his 3rd year on campus due to a chronic ankle injury, Cumberland started all 33 games for the Golden Grizzlies.

Sports Reference

Cumberland averaged 17.2 points and 3.5 assists this past season, shooting 40% from three-point land.

He took an official visit to Oregon this weekend.

With the exodus of Graduate Wyatt Walker this week, NC State now has 1 scholarship available for next season. Valparaiso Graduate Transfer Derrik Smits is on an official visit in Raleigh this weekend.

Senior Point Guard Markell Johnson is going through the NBA Draft process, and 2019 signee Jalen Lecque officially declared for the NBA Draft yesterday, with today’s deadline looming. Both Johnson and Lecque can end up in Raleigh next year if they go through the process and deem that to be their best situation. Obviously if they go pro, more scholarships will become available.

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Charleston Southern Graduate Transfer Christian Keeling Sets Official Visit to NC State

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According to 247Sports, Charleston Southern Graduate Transfer Christian Keeling (6’4″/175) has set up an official visit to NC State on the weekend of May 3rd.

Keeling included the Wolfpack in his Top-5 on April 14th, along with Georgia Tech, Clemson, UNC and Purdue.

He took an official visit to Georgia Tech last weekend, Clemson this weekend, and is scheduled to take one to UNC beginning Monday.

Keeling played 3 seasons at Charleston Southern, and was a scoring machine all three seasons.

Sports Reference

Last season he averaged 18.7 points and 6.1 rebounds for Charleston Southern. He also shot 38% from beyond the arch.

With the exodus of Graduate Wyatt Walker this week, NC State now has 1 scholarship available for next season. Valparaiso Graduate Transfer Derrik Smits is on an official visit in Raleigh this weekend.

Senior Point Guard Markell Johnson is going through the NBA Draft process, and 2019 signee Jalen Lecque officially declared for the NBA Draft yesterday, with today’s deadline looming. Both Johnson and Lecque can end up in Raleigh next year if they go through the process and deem that to be their best situation.

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