PACK HOSTS 8-2 HIGH POINT TONIGHT
The NC State men’s basketball team, winner of four of its last five games, will host Big South favorite High Point Wednesday night at PNC Arena. It’s the first meeting between the two schools since November of 2008.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. 100 WINS AT STATE
Mark Gottfried has now coached NC State to 98 wins in his first 153 games. Wins in the next two games (vs. High Point and at Missouri) would make him the second-fastest Wolfpack coach to 100 wins in school history.
The legendary Everett Case reached 100 wins at NC State in just 120 games. Jim Valvano reached the mark in 156 games, meaning two wins over the next three games would tie Gottfried with Valvano for the school’s second-fastest to 100 Wolfpack victories.
2. AT THE LINE SHOOTING 2...CAT BARBER
Using his quickness and ballhandling, Cat Barber has found his way to the free throw line at a record rate. He ranks second in the nation in free throws made (84) and is also third in free throw attempts (97). Barber is on pace to break the school record for free throw attempts in a season (355 by Mel Thompson in 1954). Additionally, he draws 8.5 fouls per game, which ranks 15th in the nation and third among players playing in Power 5 conferences. NC State owns a 5-1 record when Barber, who averages 10.5 free throw attempts per game, shoots 10 or more free throws.
3. SO...HOW’S HIGH POINT?
High Point, which won 23 games last season and has won a share of the Big South regular season title three years running, was picked to win its conference again this year. The Panthers are led by athletic 6-8 forward John Brown, the team’s leading scorer (20.6 ppg) and rebounder (7.6 rpg). High Point is 14th in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.424) and HPU’s only two losses (to Texas Tech and Georgia) have come by a combined seven points.
4. GETTING MORE FROM THE BIGS
Mark Gottfried has said multiple times this season NC State will need more production out of post players, and in the last few games the Pack’s big men have anwered. Lennard Freeman, BeeJay Anya and Abdul-Malik Abu have each had their best moments over the last two games. In the Bucknell win, Freeman recorded a double-double (10 points,13 rebounds). Against South Florida, Abu had a double-double that featured a career-best 14 rebounds and dunked four times. Anya had perhaps his finest outing as a Wolfpacker, totaling a career-high 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting with seven rebounds and five blocks.
5. HI NEIGHBOR, WELCOME TO RALEIGH
Long before the Pack played at Reynolds Coliseum, North Carolina State College and High Point College played five times in men’s basketball. As college athletics evolved and NC State moved from the Southern Conference to the ACC, High Point spent many years competing at the NAIA and NCAA Division II levels. The two schools, located just 89 miles apart, played in 1948 and didn’t meet again until November of 2008. Wednesday’s contest is the seventh meeting between the two schools and the Pack has won all six of the previous meetings.
EVERYBODY’S GETTING INTO THE ACT
Through eight games this season, only two Pack players had made a 3-pointer. Caleb Martin and Maverick Rowan combined to make the season’s first 46 and 47 of the first 48 shots from long range. In the USF game, Cat Barber knocked down his first trey of the season (he’s 1-for-14) and Shaun Kirk made a ‘3’ late in the game, the first of his career. As a team, NC State takes 28 percent of its total shots from 3-point range (304th highest in the nation).
A ROTATION BUILT FOR POSTSEASON - ALREADY
It’s not uncommon for a team to tighten its rotation at the end of the season, as conference and national tournaments approach. NC State, however, has been forced to go with a condensed lineup, playing essentially a seven-player rotation. State’s seven main players have played 1,802 of the team’s possible 1,825 minutes (98.74%).
CAT GETTING TO THE LINE
Cat Barber is second in the nation in made foul shots (84) and third nationally in foul shots taken (97).
CALEB, MAVERICK FROM LONG RANGE
Caleb Martin, much improved after shooting .305 from 3-point range last year, is currently second in the ACC in 3-pointers made per game (3.11). In the offseason, Martin tweaked his shooting form to keep the ball more the the right and has removed a hitch from his motion. Freshman Maverick Rowan has been the Pack’s other long-range threat, standing ninth in the ACC with 2.11 made treys per game. Martin has made four 3-pointers in a game four times this season and Rowan has done it twice.
BALLIN’ AGAINST BUCKNELL
The Wolfpack reached rare heights on the offensive end of the floor in last week’s 99-86 victory over Bucknell. The Wolfpack’s 99-point output was the team’s most under Gottfried and the highest point total in a game since the Pack beat ECU 100-66 in 2004. State also shot a season-high .544 from the floor.
ROLLIN’ ON 20s
Maverick Rowan scored a career-high 27 points last weekend, with Cat Barber getting 24 and Caleb Martin adding 21. It was the first time three Wolfpackers scored 20 points in the same game since Nov. 28, 1990 when Chris Corchiani (36 points), Rodney Monroe (25) and Bryant Feggins (23) did so in a 135-88 win over Charleston Southern.
BeeJay Anya, the current ACC leader with 3.00 blocks per game, has moved into second place on NC State’s all-time career blocks list. He enters Wednesday with 164 career blocked shots, 42 short of the school record held by Thurl Bailey (1979-83). He swatted 91 shots last season, which was the second-highest total in NC State history. He is also the ACC’s active leader in blocked shots, two ahead of Clemson’s Landry Nnoko.