Tip-Off: 3:30 p.m.
Radio: Airtime begins @ 6:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
Mount St. Mary's Information
NC State Projected Starting Line-up
G- 04 Courtney Fells
G- 11 Gavin Grant
F- 20 Bryan Nieman
F- 33 Brandon Costner
F- 34 Ben McCauley
Mount St. Mary's Projected Starting Line-up
G- 02 Chris Vann
G- 01 Jeremy Goode
C- 40 Sam Atupem
F- 03 Mychal Kearse
F- 45 Markus Mitchell
Players to Watch
Ben McCauley -- McCauley continues to be a presence in the paint for the Wolfpack, as he is averaging 14 points, 5.8 rebounds and three assists per game. The sophomore standout has been impressive thus far with fellow frontcourt starter Brandon Costner.
Mount St. Mary's
Chris Vann -- Junior Chris Vann scored a career-high 28 points in the Mount's win over Quinnipiac. With his 20-point effort, he becomes the only player on the Mount roster to have a 20-point game in their collegiate career. He is averaging 13.4 points on the season to lead the team in scoring.
NC State Game Notes
WEEK'S REST FOR WEARY PACK
There is probably no team in America that needed a week off from competiition more than NC State. Although the team has still been working hard in final exams, several players have gotten some much needed rest.
The Wolfpack entered the season with just seven players who came to NC State on scholarship (Bryan Nieman and Braxton Albritton have since awarded a scholarship). One of those seven (Bartosz Lewandowski) suffered a knee injury two games into the season and has been unavailable. Another, senior point guard Engin Atsür, has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, leaving the Pack with just five players who originally came to State on scholarship. In three of the last four games, only seven players have seen action and in the fourth game, only six got into the game. At least one player has played the entire 40 minutes of each of the last three games.
COSTNER TOP ROOKIE
Entering the Mount St. Mary's game, redshirt freshman Brandon Costner is currently leading all ACC rookies in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.4 rpg).
Although this is the forward's second year at NC State, Costner was forced to redshirt last season after playing in just five games due to a leg injury.
Not only has Costner been healthy this season, he's posted double-figure scoring outputs in every game and earlier posted consecutive double-doubles. He is currently tied for third in the ACC in minutes played with 34.1 per game.
WOLFPACK CELEBRATES HERITAGE
The Wolfpack made its annual return to the "Big Barn" on December 9 against Savannah State. The venerable Reynolds Coliseum served as the home of the Wolfpack from 1949-99 and was the site of 766 NC State basketball games, three Southern Conference Tournaments, 13 ACC Tournaments, eight NCAA regionals and varous NIT appearances.
The Wolfpack is now 5-0 in its annual ‘Heritage Game' in Reynolds, with an average margin of victory of 29.2 points.
The Wolfpack posted an overall record of 589-177 (.769) in the 50-year history of Reynolds Coliseum. Sidney Lowe played in 55 of those 766 games, as the Wolfpack posted a 41-14 record in the games he played in Reynolds.
FOUR FOR FORTY
The official scorer didn't have to worry too much about NC State substitutions when the Wolfpack travelled to West Virginia on Dec. 6. Only six players saw action for NC State in that contest and four of the six played all 40 minutes of the game. The last time NC State was forced to play four players for the entire 40 minutes, was the 1997 ACC Tournament title game against North Carolina, Herb Sendek's first season with the Pack.
NC State enters the game with Mount St. Mary's boasting five double-figure scorers. All five regular starters (including senior Engin Atsür, who has missed the last three-plus games due to an injury), all average 11.1 points or better for the season and three of those players are shooting better than 50% from the field.
GRANT MAKES A POINT
Junior Gavin Grant has been the spark that has lit the Pack in this early season. He currently leads the team in scoring with 16.8 ppg - the sixth-best mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
He's also pulling down 5.3 rebounds per game and his 37.5 minutes per game ranks second in the ACC.
But even more impressive in the last four games has been that Grant is playing out of position. When senior point guard Engin Atsür went down with a leg injury just six minutes into the Michigan game, Grant came in and ran the point the rest of the game. He has done the same in the last three games - playing all 40 minutes in each outing.
Head coach Sidney Lowe says that Grant has had to 'pull back' from his normal tendency to attack the basket from his small forward position. He has done well, tallying 27 assists in the last four games combined, leading the Pack in each contest. (Grant currently ranks fourth in the ACC with 4.88 assists per game).
Grant was named the ACC Player of the Week following his performances against Valpo and Gardner Webb. He posted a career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds against Valpo and then had 23 points versus Gardner-Webb.
ATSUR INJURES LEG
With NC State's lack of depth this season, injuries and foul trouble are problems the team will have to avoid with a vengeance (the Pack's bench is in reality just two deep). Just a week into the season, freshman center Bartosz Lewandowski suffered a partial tear of his ACL and will undergo surgery on Friday, Dec. 15.
The Pack suffered an even bigger blow on November 27 when the team's only senior, point guard Engin Atsür, suffered a hamstring strain just six minutes into the game. Atsür, who was among ACC leaders in field goal percentage, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, has missed the road games at Virginia and West Virginia and the home game against Savannah State - the only games he has missed since he became eligible as a freshman. Atsür hopes to return to action the week before Christmas.
Mount St. Mary's Game Notes
The Mount is coming off a 78-73 win over Quinnipiac on Dec. 7 in the team's Northeast Conference opener. Junior guard Chris Vann paced the Mount with 28 points while Mychal Kearse added 18 points (10-14 FT's). The Mount used a 23-6 run that encompassed the end of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half to rally from a 30-21 deficit and take control of the game. Quinnipiac cut the Mount's lead to two points several times late in the game, but could not overtake the Mount lead.
The Mount has been unable to make the big play this year in close contests.
The Mount has three players who had offseason surgery. Senior Mychal Kearse tore his ACL in May and returned to start the Mount's season opener at West Virginia. Junior Chris Vann had surgery on his hip in September and he also returned to start the season opener at West Virginia. Senior Gus Durr had surgery on his broken foot in Mid-October and has returned to play in the past two games.
70 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
70 is the magic number for the Mount when it comes to scoring defense. Under head coach Milan Brown, the Mount is 23-20 when holding opponents under 70 points. However, when opponent eclipses the 70-point barrier, the Mount is 9-42.
Senior guard Mychal Kearse has led the Mount in rebounding in each of the past three seasons. He is looking to become the first player in Mount history to lead the team in rebounds all four years of his career.
The Mount's roster consists of six seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen.
The Mount was picked to finish 10th in the annual Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. Defending champion Monmouth has been tabbed as the preseason favorite. Last year, the Mount finished fourth after being picked eighth in the preseason poll.
THE LONE STAR STATE
Freshman Will Holland hails from Houston, Texas. He is the first-ever player from the state of Texas to appear in a Mount uniform.