Gameday: NC State vs. Seton Hall

No. 14 NC State (15-3, 4-2) looks to stay unbeaten at the RBC Center, as the Wolfpack hosts Seton Hall (10-6, 2-3) in the final nonconference game of the season.

Game Tracker I Premium Chat

Location: RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.

Television: ESPN Classic

Radio: Airtime begins @ 6:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information


    Seton Hall Information


    Probable NC State Starters  
    #3 Ilian Evtimov Sr. 6-8 10.8 3.6 2.1C #33 Cedric Simmons So. 6-9 12.9 6.9 1.9G #13 Cameron Bennerman Sr. 6-4 12.6 2.7 1.8G #14 Engin Atsur Jr. 6-4 11.6 3.2 4.3G #22 Tony Bethel Sr. 6-1 8.5 3.2 2.7

    Seton Hall Probable Starters
    #14 Brian Laing So. 6-5 5.9 2.9 0.9F #1 Kelly Whitney Sr. 6-8 14.3 7.6 1.2C #33 Grant Billmeier Jr. 6-10 3.4 3.5 0.8 G #2 Jamar Nutter Jr. 6-2 11.0 4.5 1.3G #10 Donald Copeland Sr. 5-10 15.4 2.5 4.1

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    Cameron Bennerman --
    Bennerman is coming off a career-high performance against Wake Forest and is NC State's most athletic player. The 6'4 senior guard has been a consistent peformer all season for the Wolfpack.

    Seton Hall
    Jamar Nutter --
    Nutter has been on a tear lately. The junior shooting guard scored a career-high 28 points vs. South Florida and is averaging 16.4 points per game in conference play.

    The Wolfpack will make its last regular season appearance against a non-conference opponent on Wednesday, when the Seton Hall Pirates visit the RBC Center. The Wolfpack posts an 11-1 record against non-conference foes this season, 9-0 at home and 8-0 in the RBC Center.

    Seton Hall will mark NC State's second Big East opponent in 2005-06, as the Wolfpack played Notre Dame at the Wooden Tradition in November. Herb Sendek's squad won that game, 61-48.

    NC State has posted a 103-32 record against non-conference competition under Herb Sendek (93-23 in the regular season) and posts an impressive 57- 5 home record against non-conference opponents since the Wolfpack began playing in the RBC Center in 1999-2000. That gives NC State a 91 percent winning mark against non-conference competition at home. The squad has also won four games against non-conference opponents in Reynolds Coliseum during that time frame.

    Overall, Sendek's squads have won 78% of their games in the RBC Center, posting an 86-24 mark.

    Heading into Saturday's ACC game against Wake Forest, the Wolfpack's largest halftime deficit this season had been three points in the loss at Iowa and the Pack had trailed just one other time (NC State trailed Georgia Tech by one and came back to win - in the other two losses, UNC and Duke, the Pack led at the half).

    Wake Forest's five-point lead at the halfway point on Saturday was the Pack's largest halftime hole of the year. However, NC State had trailed by as many as 13, twice in the first half. NC State shot .583 after the break and held Wake to just .368 from the field. The Wolfpack's 37 free throws made in the contest was a school record.

    In last Wednesday's loss at top-ranked Duke, NC State scored 52 of its 68 points (76%) in the paint. The Wolfpack, which entered the game averaging almost 10 three-pointers made per game, shot just 2-11 from behind the three-point arc, but had a monster game inside from center Cedric Simmons, who finished with a careerhigh 28 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots.

    The Pack's usual long-distance threats - Engin Atsür, Tony Bethel and Ilian Evtimov - combined for just six points in the contest.

    On Saturday, however, in the win over Wake Forest, Simmons was sidelined with foul trouble and played just 14 minutes. Although he still managed to score nine points (six from the charity stripe), the Pack got just 46% (38 of 82) of its points in the paint.

    In that game, Atsür, Bethel and Evtimov combined to score 42 points.

    For the season, the Wolfpack is scoring 34% of its points on three-pointers, 39% in the paint.

    NC State posted a 10- point win over Wake Forest on Saturday, despite being outrebounded by a whopping 18 (by 15 in the first half).

    The last time the Wolfpack had been so soundly outrebounded was on December 17, 2002, when Gonzaga posted 61 caroms to State's 35 in a 69-60 Zags win. NC State had not been outrebounded by such a large margin and WON the game since January 13, 1971, when Duke out-boarded the Pack, 55-36, but NC State won 93-89.

    For the season, the Pack is down 0.3 in the rebounding column and has been outrebounded seven times.

    NC State has now posted the same lineup in the last 12 games. That marks the longest streak of the same starting lineups since the 2002- 03 season, when the same lineup started 30 straight games. Only two other league teams, Boston College and North Carolina, have started the same lineup in as many consecutive games this season. NC State's current lineup is made up of senior Tony Bethel and junior Engin Atsür at guard, seniors Cameron Bennerman and Ilian Evtimov at forward and sophomore Cedric Simmons at center. Those five players have combined to play 397 games in their careers.

    For the season, NC State's starters are accounting for 74% of the team's scoring.

    * Seton Hall heads back to Raleigh, N.C., and the RBC Center, for the first time since the 2004 NCAA Tournament. * The Pirates picked up the signature win of head coach Louis Orr's tenure at the RBC Center, erasing a 14-point second-half deficit to defeat Arizona, 80-76. The Pirates lost in the second round to Duke, 90-62. * Senior Kelly Whitney had 24 points and 14 rebounds vs. Arizona. Whitney, Donald Copeland and Grant Billmeier are the current Pirates with game experience at the RBC Center.

    * Junior shooting guard Jamar Nutter broke out for a career-high 28 points vs. South Florida and has now scored in double figures in four straight games. * In BIG EAST play, he is second on the team with a scoring average of 16.4. * He is averaging 11.0 points per game overall. * Nutter has shot 26-of-52 (47.4) in the last four games. * He is pulling down 5.2 boards per game in conference play, second on the team. * In two of his last three games he has hit 5-of-8 from three-point territory.

    * Seton Hall has found a sparkplug and fan favorite off the bench in 5-foot-11 freshman Paul Gause. * Gause scored a career-high 18 points and matched a career-high with four steals in the overtime win over South Florida on Jan 20. * The diminutive lefty led Seton Hall with seven rebounds against Villanova on Jan. 17. He also scored 13 points, a career-high at the time, and had two assists and no turnovers in 22 minutes. * Gause has stepped up in league play, averaging 10.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 23.6 minutes per game. * He hit the game-tying shot against St. John's with .6 seconds left to send the game into overtime. He had seven points, four rebounds and four steals. * Gause, who was a late signee for the Pirates in May, was a three-sport star athlete in high school (football, basketball, track & field). He entertained several offers to play college football before decided to pursue basketball.

    * Both of Seton Hall's BIG EAST victories have been stunning comeback wins. * On Jan. 4 vs. St. John's, the Pirates trailed 49-29 with 9:17 left in the game and closed regulation with a 26-6 run. * The Pirates ended up winning in overtime, 69-61, after trailing at the half by a score of 32-15. * On Jan. 20 vs. South Florida, Seton Hall trailed 74-62 with 3:45 remaining before finishing with a 16-4 spurt to force overtime, resulting in a 94-89 victory.

    * Seton Hall starting forward Stan Gaines will miss at least one month after suffering multiple facial fractures to the left side of his face going for a loose ball against Villanova on Tuesday. * Gaines took an inadvertant elbow from Villanova's Randy Foye in the scrum, and although he was called for a foul on the play with 7:57 left in the first half. * Gaines underwent surgery on Monday. Recovery time is at least three weeks after the surgery. If he returns, he will wear a protective mask.

    * Gaines had been solid across the board for the Pirates, helping in numerous categories from his small forward position. * He was especially valuable as an extra ball-handler and press breaker. * His primary trait is as the team's best one-on-one defender. He has guarded several positions all season, and is often matched up against the opposing team's best perimeter scorer. * Seton Hall will play a lot more of its three-guard lineup, featuring Donald Copeland, Jamar Nutter and either Paul Gause or Brian Laing. * A lineup of Copeland, Nutter, Gause, Laing and Kelly Whitney is not out of the question, and it triggered the Pirates' comeback vs. South Florida.

    * Senior forward Kelly Whitney is averaging 17.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in BIG EAST play so far, looking like player his sophomore season promised he would be. * As a sophomore he averaged 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 56.2 percent from the field. As a junior, his numbers fell off to 11.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 43.1 percent shooting. * He is shooting 53.7 percent from the floor and 72.1 percent from the line in five league games. * In his last six games, including a win over Iona on Dec. 31, he is averaging 18.5 per game. * Whitney had never before scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games; he had 22 vs. Iona, 23 vs. St. John's and 29 at Rutgers. * Whitney's 29 points vs. Rutgers was a career high. He also added 10 boards for his 15th career double-double. * Whitney's 15 career double-doubles is the fourth-most among active BIG EAST players. * Double and triple-teamed all game vs. USF, he dished out four assists and had no turnovers in 41 minutes to go with his 11 points and eight rebounds. * Whitney is posting career bests in the following categories: Free throw percentage (68.9), points (14.3), rebounds (7.6) and assists (1.2). He has also kept his fouls down this year, averaging just 2.6 per game, and he has yet to foul out. He entered the year averaging 3.2 per game with 12 disqualifications.

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