NOTES: Eagles Up Next

NC State (2-2) returns to action tonight against Florida Gulf Coast (4-1) in PNC Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be watched on ESPN3. Here are some pregame notes on the Wolfpack.

The Wolfpack is 15-8 in games immediately after a loss under Mark Gottfried. NC State was 7-5 after losses in 2011-12, and improved to 7-3 after losses last season. The Wolfpack has only lost consecutive non-conference games eight different times dating back to 1994.

Eric McKnight, a 6-9 forward for Florida Gulf Coast, is a Raleigh native who played his prep basketball at Princeton Day Academy in Maryland. He also played for Iowa State during the one season Bobby Lutz was on the ISU staff. McKnight is not expected to play against NCSU as he is still serving a six-game suspension for violation of team rules.

NC State and Florida Gulf Coast are meeting for the first time on the hardwood. Like NC State's last opponent, NC Central, FGCU jumped to NCAA Division I in 2007. NC State is 11-6 all-time against the current members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Florida Gulf Coast is the only opponent this season that NC State will be playing for the first time.

NC State leans heavily on the scoring of T.J. Warren, who averaged 12.1 points per game on .622 shooting as a freshman last season. The Wolfpack is 19-7 when Warren scores in double figures and 6-2 when he leads the team in scoring. He led NC State in scoring vs. Appalachian State (27 points) and Campbell (23) and tied for the team lead at Cincinnati.

In his fourth career game, Anthony ‘Cat' Barber had his best game as a college player, scoring 22 points in 32 minutes off the bench vs. NC Central. Barber is averaging 13.5 points per game on .531 shooting and is second on the team in assists. He scored 13 points in the season opener vs. Applachian State and had 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting against Campbell.

Dating back to last season, Tyler Lewis has made 15 consecutive free throws. He is 8-for-8 this season and made his last seven foul shots last season. His last miss came against Florida State on March 9, 2013.

Several NC State players changed their bodies this offseason. T.J. Warren lost 20 pounds and is faster and has more stamina. When asked how he lost the weight, Warren said he gave up Chinese food and Bojangle's chicken. Conversely, Tyler Lewis added 15 pounds of muscle to his 5-11 frame. Jordan Vandenberg also trimmed down, cutting 40 pounds to prime himself for a successful senior season.

Lennard Freeman made his first career start last week vs. NC Central. He worked his way into the lineup by bringing toughness and rebounding. The 6-8 freshman is second on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game and he leads the team with nine offensive boards. In addition to his rebounding, Freeman is shooting 9-for-12 from the floor on the season.

None of NC State's four opponents this season have shot 50 percent from the floor. Conversely, NC State has topped the 50-percent mark twice this season. That includes a .619 shooting night in the season opener vs. Appalachian State. The last team to shoot 50 percent or better against NC State was No. 9 Miami in the semifinal of the ACC tourney last March.

BeeJay Anya, a highly-ranked recruit out of powerhouse high school team DeMatha Catholic, had his best college game in NC State's win over Campbell. He went 2-for-3 from the floor for four points, including a highlight-reel putback dunk. Anya grabbed four rebounds and blocked three shots in 15 minutes. The 6-9 freshman leads the team with four blocked shots.

NC State's players praise teammate Tyler Lewis and consider him one of the nation's best passers. Lewis is among the ACC leaders with 4.8 assists per game. He had a career-high nine assists against just one turnover vs. Campbell. He dished out six dimes against just one turnover vs. Appalachian State. In NC State's two exhibitions, Lewis averaged 9.5 assists per game. For his career, Lewis has 67 assists against 27 turnovers.

Senior center Jordan Vandenberg was in uniform during last week's game vs. NC Central but did not play. He suffered a Grade 3 left high ankle sprain early in the team's first exhibition. The timetable for his return was set for 4-6 weeks from the injury date. Before the injury, which occurred at the 14:59 mark in the first half, Vandenberg had scored four points on a pair of dunks. Vandenberg, a fifth-year player out of Australia, is the only senior on the NC State roster.

The 2013-14 Wolfpack roster features just one starter (T.J. Warren) from last year's 24-11 team, and the current roster returns just 20 career starts at NC State. NCSU has just one senior, 7-1 center Jordan Vandenberg, and nine freshmen and sophomores (six freshmen and three sophomores). Of the 15 teams in the ACC, only Miami has less experience returning this season (zero returning starters).

After thriving for two seasons at New Mexico Junior College, Desmond Lee is a top scoring option for NC State. He is second on the Wolfpack with 14.3 points per game on .525 shooting (.667 on 2-point attempts).

He posted 24 points vs. App State, finishing 10-for-12 from the floor and 3-for-3 at the foul line. He also scored 10 points at Cincinnati. Lee was the 10th-ranked junior college prospect last season, averaging 20.3 points per game at NMJC.

Ralston Turner made 95 shots from 3-point range during his two seasons at LSU and will be counted on as a long-range shooter this season. Turner tied T.J. Warren with a team-high 13 points and made 4-for-7 from 3-point land in NC State's game at Cincinnati. Turner, who has started every game this season, leads the Pack with eight made 3-pointers.

NC State, which has been one of the country's highest-scoring teams since Mark Gottfried arrived in 2011, exploded for 98 points on .619 shooting in the season opener vs. Appalachian State. The 98-point total was the team's highest since it scored 99 vs. Campbell on Nov. 26, 2004. The team's .619 shooting was the team's best shooting mark since a .647 night five years ago (Dec. 12, 2009 vs. Georgia Southern.)

With Jordan Vandenberg injured and several young post players learning their way, NC State has often opted to go with a small and fast lineup. Playing point guards Tyler Lewis and Cat Barber together with guard Desmond Lee, the Wolfpack forms a quick lineup that provides match-up problems for opponents.

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