The 8-1 NC State men’s basketball team plays in historic Reynolds Coliseum against 2014 Southern Conference champion Wofford Sunday at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports South and other regional sports affiliates.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. Heritage Game
Sunday’s game is the second this weekend in Reynolds Coliseum for NC State, which honors its past by playing in the historic gym at least once a year. The Wolfpack played in the on-campus arena for 50 seasons, compiling a 593-187 (.760) regular season record. Since moving its games off campus in 1999, the Wolfpack has played 14 games at Reynolds Coliseum and won each contest.
Mark Gottfried is 5-0 at Reynolds, and overall the Pack has won 18 of its last 20 games in the old gym.
2. This One Will Come In Handy
Much has been said about Mark Gottfried’s philosophy to schedule non-ACC games against teams he thinks has a chance to win their league. Wofford (7-2) played in the 2014 NCAA Tournament out of the Southern Conference, going 20-13 last season. The Terriers won 99 games in the five years previous to this season and the Wolfpack is counting on a game with Wofford paying off when March tournament resumes are taken into account.
3. The Youngsters Step Up
NC State was without its leading scorer, Trevor Lacey, on Friday. He suffered a minor ankle injury during practice on Wednesday. Without Lacey in the lineup, freshman Caleb Martin started and scored a career-high 17 points. He scored 15 in the first half and also pulled down seven rebounds. Abdul-Malik Abu also had his best game, scoring 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
4. Opponents Feeling Rejected
NC State is among the national leaders in blocked shots. The Wolfpack is currently first in the ACC and 10th in the nation with 6.63 blocked shots per game. Led by BeeJay Anya’s school-record 10 rejections, NC State recorded 14 blocked shots in a 79-43 win over Jacksonville.
The Pack also owns three games with seven blocks and a game with six swats. Anya leads the conference with 29 swats, which is also good for 6th in the nation. Only four teams (Kentucky, Texas, Washington and Utah) in Power 5 conferences have more blocked shots than NC State.
5. 3 Seasons, 3 NCAAs
Mark Gottfried, in his fourth season at NC State, will be working toward mentoring his team into the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season. The Wolfpack has made the Big Dance in each of his first three seasons, making Go ttfried the first Pack coach and just the fourth in ACC history to achieve that feat.
It marks the first time NC State had made three straight tournaments since 2004-06.
WOLFPACK GUARD PLAY
Cat Barber, Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner are the team’s leading scorers, with the trio combining to score 41.6 points per game. Each player has at least one game with 23 points or more. Lacey scored a career-high 26 points vs. Richmond and 22 vs. Jackson State. Barber poured in a career-high 25 points with six rebounds and six assists against Jackson State. Turner went for a career-high 24 vs. Hofstra and 23 against Richmond.
Barber and Lacey are also the team’s primary ballhandlers.
HISTORIC PAST, EXCITING FUTURE
In addition to playing two regular season games in Reynolds Coliseum, NC State also hosted its midnight madness event there this year back on Oct. 17. This is the last season for Reynolds before a massive renovation begins in March. The renovation project has a $35 million budget and is scheduled to be complete for the 2016-17 academic year.
RALSTON IN REYNOLDS
In two games at Reynolds Coliseum, Ralston Turner is averaging 19.0 points per game and 5.0 made 3FG per game. Last year vs. Detroit, Turner went for 21 points off the bench and shot 6-for-8 from 3-point range. He then scored 17 points and made 4-for-9 from the arc on Friday.
LAST FOUR GAMES (FIVE FOR RALSTON)
Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner have been hot the last four games. Lacey, who didn’t play Friday, is averaging 17.5 points while shooting .578 from the floor in his last four games . He’s hit 9-for-19 from 3-point range during that time.
Turner is scoring 16.0 points with .500 shooting and 13-for-27 from beyond the arc.
As a team, NC State is shooting .485 the last five games.
MARK KNOWS MIKE
Mark Gottfried’s son, Cameron, is currently a freshman basketball player at Siena in New York. Mark Gottfried said Wofford recruited his son for a while and that he has known Terrier coach Mike Young for many years.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
NC State is fifth in the ACC committing just 10.4 turnovers per contest. What’s more is that the Wolfpack ranks 22nd in the nation in turnover percentage (16.2%). That means NC State turns the ball over roughly once in every six possessions. That 15.5% mark ranks third in the ACC (behind Duke and Notre Dame).
NC STATE AT HOME
Since opening PNC Arena in 1999, the Wolfpack is 199-68 (.744) in home games. NC State is 14-0 at PNC and 186-68 at PNC Arena during that time. Mark Gottfried owns a 46-13 record in PNC and a 5-0 mark at Reynolds Coliseum.
GUARDING THE ARC
Charleston Southern entered Friday’s game making 10 3-pointers per game. The Pack took that away, holding CSU to 2-for-21 from 3-point range.
NC State ranks fourth in the ACC by holding opponents to .280 shooting from 3-point range.
The Wolfpack is currently 13th in the nation in effective FG defense (.404) and seventh in the country in blocked shots (7.00).
The Pack has held five of its opponents to worse than 35 percent shooting. Jacksonville shot just .232 against the Pack, the lowest field goal percentage for an opponent since Jan. 9, 2008 vs. NC Central (.203).
NC State blocked 14 Jacksonville shots while allowing just 13 made baskets.