NOTES: Pirates Up Next

NC State (8-2) will host East Carolina (10-2) today at noon in the PNC Arena, and the game will be televised on RSN. Here are some pregame notes on the Wolfpack.

STATE DEFENSE
The Wolfpack has held six of its last seven opponents to worse than 42 percent shooting. The Wolfpack held Northwestern to just 49 points on .250 shooting on Dec. 4. It was the lowest shooting percentage for a Pack opponent since it held NC Central to .203 shooting in January 2008. On Wednesday, NC State limited Tennessee to .294 shooting.

FINISH THE CALENDAR YEAR STRONG
NC State is currently on a six-game win streak, including a 4-0 mark in December. Dating back to 2004, NC State is 50-17 (.746) during the 12th month of the calendar year.

Mark Gottfried boasts a 13-2 ledger in December at NC State, with the only two losses to Stanford and Syracuse in 2011. NC State claimed December victories over Connecticut and Stanford in 2012, and has already defeated Northwestern and Tennessee this month.

SWAT TEAM
When Tennessee tried to feed the post against NC State, it didn't go well for the Volunteers. The Wolfpack rejected a season-high 12 shots, with BeeJay Anya blocking five shots and Jordan Vandenberg swatting four. It was NC State's most blocked shots in a game since it swatted 13 against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 12, 2010.

BREAKING OUT AROUND THE ARC
Led by Ralston Turner, NC State had its best long-range shooting performance of the year vs. Detroit on Dec. 14. The Wolfpack knocked down a season-best 10 of its 21 attempts from 3-point range. Turner led the barrage, shooting 6-for-8 from beyond the arc for a season-high 21 points. It was the first time NC State made 10 treys since it sank 11 in an 88-59 win over Northeastern during Mark Gottfried's first season at NCSU (12/22/11).

PACK VS. ECU, C-USA
NC State has won 19 of its 20 contests vs. East Carolina, including a 19-0 mark at home. NCSU is 44-8 all-time against the current membership of Conference USA.

T.J. GETTING HISTORICAL BUCKETS
T.J. Warren scored 30 points against both Florida Gulf Coast and Eastern Kentucky, becoming the first NC State player to post consecutive 30-point performances since Rodney Monroe in 1991. He then followed those performances with 22 points and eight rebounds against Northwestern on Dec. 4.

His 82 points over those games was the most during a three-game span since Tom Gugliotta scored 83 during the first three contests of the 1991-92 season.

#TONYBUCKETS GETS GOING
T.J. Warren has seven outings with 22 points or more already this season, and most of that damage has come in the second halves of games.

PACK GOES AS T.J. GOES
There's little doubt NC State needs production from its 6-8 standout sophomore forward T.J. Warren, who is 7th in the country with 23.2 points per game. The Wolfpack is 26-8 when Warren scores in double figures and 13-2 when he leads the team in scoring.

BALL CONTROL
One area where NC State has thrived this season has been in the turnover department. NC State averages just 10.6 turnovers per game. The Wolfpack has posted three outings with less than 10 turnovers and has committed more turnovers than its opponent just once this season. NC State currently stands fourth in the ACC in turnover margin.

CHARITY WORK
Since shooting 2-for-12 at the foul line against Campbell on Nov. 16, NC State has improved to shoot .716 at the foul line over the last seven games. The improvement has been led by T.J. Warren, who is shooting .842 at the foul line. After starting the year 5-for-11 at the line, he is 35 for his last 42.

JORDAN RULES
Fifth-year senior Jordan Vandenberg sustained a Grade 3 high ankle sprain during the team's exhibition vs. UNC Pembroke on Oct. 30, but has rebounded to play the best basketball of his career. The 7-1 Australia native is averaging 7.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. He entered the season with career averages of 1.2 points and 1.5 rebounds.

TOP CAT
It didn't take long for Anthony ‘Cat' Barber to become an impact player at the college level. The freshman scored 22 points in just his fourth college game and has seven games with double-digit scoring. Barber, who is averaging 12.0 points per game on .484 shooting, scored 19 points vs. Long Beach State on Dec. 7.

SCHEDULE TOUGH
Mark Gottfried specifically set out to challenge his young team when he built the 2013-14 schedule. In all, NC State will play 20 games against 18 different teams that competed in a postseason tournament in 2013 (9 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament).

BOARD WORK
In the season's first four games, the Wolfpack played a smaller, quicker lineup. As a result, the Pack found itself with a -0.8 rebound margin, ranking 14th in the ACC. Adding Jordan Vandenberg has reversed that trend. NCSU boasts a +8.0 rebounding margin over the last six games.

WINNING HANDILY
NC State's first six wins this season each came by at least 10 points, a streak that was broken in the 82- 79 win over Detroit. It marked the first time since the 1998-99 season State had its first six wins of a season each come by double figures. In that 1998-99 campaign, the Pack saw its first eight wins each come by 15 points or more. That team finished the season with a 19-14 record.

BASKET IS HALF FULL
NC State has held each of its opponents this season to worse than 50 percent shooting from the floor. Conversely, NC State has shot 50 percent or better six times this season and has won each time. That includes a .619 shooting night in the season opener vs. Appalachian State. Dating back to the beginning of last season, NC State is 20-5 in games when shooting at least 50 percent. 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.

NON-LEAGUE, OUR STATE
Dating back to 2008, NC State is 18-2 vs. non-league opponents from North Carolina. That includes two wins vs. Saturday's opponent, East Carolina. The Wolfpack is 9-1 against non-league opponents from North Carolina under Mark Gottfried.

‘DEZ' FOR 2 AT THE 2
Desmond Lee is another top scoring option for NC State, standing third on the team with 10.7 points per game. Lee, who scored 24 points in the season opener vs. Appalachian State, is 31-for-57 on his 2-point attempts this season. He finished with 15 points vs. Long Beach State and 10 points at Tennessee. Lee was the 10th-ranked junior college prospect last season, averaging 20.3 points per game at New Mexico Junior College.

GOOD WORKS TEAM
Tyler Lewis was one of 201 men's and women's basketball student-athletes nominated for the Allstate Insurance Good Works Team. The award recognizes a select group of student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the greater good through leadership and service.

RALSTON AROUND THE ARC
Ralston Turner, who made 95 shots from 3-point range during his two seasons at LSU, leads NC State with 17 made 3-pointers. Turner, who started the first four games of the season, came off the bench to score a season-high 21 points in the win over Detroit. He shot 6-for-8 from 3-point range and made his final five attempts on the night. He buried three treys against Northwestern for 13 points and made 4-for-7 from 3-point land in NC State's game at Cincinnati.

CAT IS THE NEW ANSWER
Like former NBA star Allen Iverson, Anthony ‘Cat' Barber grew up as quick, scoring point guard in Virginia. Barber broke Iverson's local scoring records in high school, totaling 2,097 career points. Barber tallied 11 points and four assists in the 2013 McDonald's All-American Game. Barber was ranked among the top point guards in the 2013 class, owning No. 9 rankings from both Scout.com and Rivals.com.

OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR
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.)

HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE
The Wolfpack's 98-point output vs. Appalachian State was the team's highest total in nine years, but it also served as a sign of Mark Gottfried's up-tempo offense getting results at NC State. Last season, NC State ranked ninth in the country with 77.4 points per game. The Wolfpack was fourth in the country in field goal percentage (.496) and held the national lead in shooting for several weeks.

WEIGHT WATCHERS
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.

MARK REACHING THE 50 MARK
NC State's victory over Campbell on Nov. 16 was Mark Gottfried's 50th as head coach at NC State. It took the third-year coach just 75 games to get to 50 wins, making him the third-fastest to the number at NCSU.


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