NOTES: Pack In Action Tonight

NC State returns to action tonight at 9PM in Tallahassee against Florida State. Here are some pregame notes on the Wolfpack.

SEMINOLES UP NEXT
After capturing a resounding win over No. 15/13 Miami, the NC State men’s basketball team has a quick turnaround in a road challenge at Florida State. The Seminoles edged the Wolfpack 85-78 in Raleigh on Jan. 13. NC State won 72-63 in Tallahassee last season.

THE STARTING FIVE
1. THE BIG CAT
Cat Barber is having a season that would rank among the all-time great performances in school and ACC history. Barber is leading the ACC in scoring with 23.1 points per game while also leading the conference in free throws made (157) and minutes per game (38.5). He’s fourth in both assists (4.6) and free throw percentage (.872). Saturday’s 30-point effort vs. Miami was his ACC-best fifth game this season with 30+ points. Should his current averages hold, Barber would become the second player in ACC history to average 23 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 4.6 apg (Kenny Anderson in 1990). Over the last four games, Barber is averaging 29.0 points and 4.5 assists while shooting .506 from the floor, .462 from 3-point range and 32-for-32 at the foul line.

2. ROUND 2 vs. THE SEMINOLES
NC State scored 50 points in the second half and rallied late but Florida State edged the Wolfpack 85-78 back on Jan. 13 at PNC Arena. Maverick Rowan scored 22 points (18 in the second half) and Abdul-Malik Abu added 21 points and 13 rebounds for NC State, which grabbed 20 offensive rebounds against the Seminoles. FSU did manage to contain Cat Barber, as the star point guard scored 16 points on 6-for-14 shooting. FSU was led by Malik Beasley (22 points) and Devon Bookert (18 points).

3. QUALITY OPPONENT EVERY NIGHT
Florida State will be NC State’s ninth straight opponent ranked in the top 75 of the ESPN.com Daily RPI. In ACC play, only Virginia Tech (117) didn’t reach that ranking. The Wolfpack now owns wins over Miami (17) and Pittsburgh (31) in 11 contests against top 75 RPI teams. The Wolfpack also has a neutral-court win over No. 80 RPI LSU.

4. HEATING UP LATE
NC State shot better than 58 percent during the second half of Saturday’s win over Miami, continuing a trend where the Wolfpack thrives after halftime. The Wolfpack averages 40.1 points on .446 shooting during the second halves of games this season, up from 34.0 points on .407 before haltime. NC State shotts .350 from 3-point range and .710 at the foul line in the second half compared to .322 and .668 mark in the first halves of games this season. Additionally, several late flurries have seen the Wolfpack catch fire late in games. For the year, Maverick Rowan is shooting 14-for-28 from 3-point range in the last five minutes of each game. Abdul-Malik Abu shoots 60 percent in the games’ final five minutes this season.

5. BEATING TEAMS IN THE NATIONAL POLLS
Mark Gottfried’s team owns three victories this season over teams who were ranked nationally at the time of the game, with all coming by double digits. In November, NC State defeated then-No. 22 LSU in the Barclays Center 83-72. Behind 31 point from Cat Barber, NC State went to Pittsburgh and beat a Pitt team ranked 20th in the coaches poll 68-51. Saturday’s 85-69 win over No. 15/13 Miami was the third win over a ranked team and the Pack’s first such victory at PNC Arena. Gottfried has coached the Wolfpack to 11 victories against teams ranked at the time of the game.

TERRY SLOWLY GETTING BACK
Terry Henderson, a transfer from West Virginia who was projected to play a signficant role for the Pack this season, has slowly been improving his status after a major ankle injury. Henderson, who scored 11.7 ppg in 2013-14 at WVU, has been able to practice some shooting and agility drills. His timetable for a return is still unknown.

WOLFPUPS GAINING EXPERIENCE
The experience gained this season by the young Wolfpack squad could pay dividends for the program’s future. According to the popular basketball metrics website KenPom. com, the Wolfpack stands as the 305th most-experienced team (or 46th least-experienced) in the country. The team, when minutes played are weighted by each player’s eligibility class, averages just 1.27 years of experience. The national average is 1.70 and the average experience of the 15-team ACC is 1.48.

CAT’S CAREER
Junior guard Cat Barber surpassed the 1,200-point mark last week and now has 1,239 career points, ranking 36th in NC State history. He needs 11 points to tie Kevin Thompson for 32nd on State’s all-time list. Barber is seventh among active players (and tops among non-seniors) in the ACC in career scoring. He is also now 11th in school history in career assists.

CAT AT THE FOUL LINE
Cat Barber enters Saturday’s game having made 34 straight free throws. The junior guard leads the ACC and ranks fifth in the nation with 157 made free throws. Barber has 10 games with 8+ made foul shots and ranks fourth in the conference with an .872 free throw percentage.

CAT ROLLIN’ ON 20s AND 30s
Cat Barber, the ACC’s leading scorer, tops the conference rankings in game with 20+ poitns and 30+ points. Barber boasts a league-high 14 outings with 20 or more points in addition to having an ACC-best five games with 30+ points.

22 PPG, 4.6 RPG AND 4.6 APG
Cat Barber would be the third player in ACC history to average 22 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 4.6 apg in a season:
Cat Barber (2015-16) 23.1 ppg 4.6 rpg 4.6 apg
Danny Ferry (1988-89) 22.6 ppg 7.4 rpg 4.7 apg
Kenny Anderson (1989-90) 25.9 ppg 5.7 rpg 5.6 apg

PACK SHOWING IMPROVEMENT
Cat Barber, Caleb Martin and Abdul-Malik Abu have three of the higher increases in scoring in the ACC. Barber ranks second with a 11.0-ppg increase from last year while Abu is sixth with an increase of 6.4 points per game. Caleb Martin is up 6.2 points per game, good for eighth in the ACC.

CAT’S SCORING IN STATE HISTORY
Should he maintain his current 23.1 points per game mark, Cat Barber’s average would stand ninth in NC State single-season history. Rodney Monroe’s 23.2 points per game mark in 1989-90 stands eighth. Additionally, Barber could become the seventh player in NC State history to lead the ACC in scoring.

BOARDS OFF THE BENCH
Lennard Freeman owns the ACC’s top two rebounding performances off the bench this season. Freeman came off the bench at Pitt on Jan. 19 to grab 14 rebounds. He also pulled in 13 boards vs. Bucknell in December. 


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