Frisco, TX – The NC State men’s basketball team faces Colorado State in the NIT quarterfinals Thursday evening inside the Comerica Center.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN with John Schriffen, Fran Fraschilla and Kris Budden on the call. NC State fans can also listen to Gary Hahn and Tony Haynes call the action on the Wolfpack Sports Network.
– The Pack is making its 13th NIT appearance. NC State has an all-time record of 19-13 in the NIT. It made its last appearance in the NIT in 2019. The Pack won its first and second round contests before falling to Lipscomb, 94-93, in the quarterfinals.
– NC State shot a season-high 58.8 percent in opening the NIT with a 75-61 defeat of Davidson last Thursday. D.J. Funderburk led the Pack with 21 points and seven rebounds while redshirt sophomore forward Manny Bates had 14 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting and a game-high eight rebounds. Junior forward Jericole Hellems also made it to double figures, recording 13 points. The Pack dominated down low, outscoring Davidson, 38-26, in the paint.
– Senior guard Braxton Beverly scored the 1,000th career point during the Syracuse game. He is the 54th member of the 1,000 point club at NC State. The Hazard, Ky., native also passed out four assists against Syracuse, registering his 300th career assist during the game. Beverly and Engin Atsur (2004-07) are the only players in NC State history to score over 1,000 career points, pass out 300 career assists, hit 200 three-pointers and record over 100 career steals.
– The annual ACC awards were announced on March 8. Sophomore forward Manny Bates was named to the conference’s All-Defensive team. Bates is primed to lead the ACC in blocks for the second consecutive season. He is averaging 2.95 blocks per game and has had multiple blocked shots in 14 of 21 games this season. Junior forward Jericole Hellems earned honorable mention All-ACC honors. Hellems is averaging 13.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
– NC State enters Thursday night having won six of its last seven games. All but one of those games has taken place away from Raleigh. The Pack’s only loss during this stretch is in the ACC Tournament second round to Syracuse.
– Manny Bates and D.J. Funderburk combined for 35 points on 15-of-17 shooting (88.2%) in the Pack’s first round NIT win over Davidson last Thursday. The duo is one of the most efficient scoring units in NC State history. Funderburk is a career 57.4% shooter and is second all-time on the program’s all-time field goal percentage list. Bates is on pace to eventually lead that list and knock Funderburk down to third. The sophomore is a career 64.1% shooter and is just 41 made field goals away from qualifying for NC State’s all-time field goal percentage chart (minimum 200 made field goals).
– In 24 games this season, Bates and Funderburk have both scored in double figures in the same game only six times, but it has now happened in three of the last four games.
– Freshmen’s turn to step up? The Pack is down to a seven-man rotation and it breaks down to three freshmen who are in their first or second year and four veterans who all have at least three years experience in the program. The units have been taking turns in the last four wins on stepping up. In the Pack’s win over Davidson, the veterans combined for 55 of the Pack’s 75 points in the win last Thursday. In the win at Notre Dame on March 3, the freshmen trio of Cam Hayes, Shakeel Moore and Dereon Seabron combined to score 45 points. In the home win over Pitt on Feb. 28, it was the veterans who scored 52 of NC State’s 65 points. In the win at UVA on Feb. 24, the freshmen combined for 33 points and scored 12 of the Pack’s final 14 points in the seven-point win over the 15th-ranked Cavaliers.
– Freshman Cam Hayes is playing his best basketball of the season. The Greensboro native has now scored in double figures in four of the last seven games. Hayes had not scored in double figures in 12 straight games prior to this seven-game stretch. Over the last six games, Hayes has hit 14 three-pointers (2.3 per game average) and is shooting 50% from long range during these six games. He has also turned it on defensively as Hayes has almost half of his season total of steals in the last seven games. He has 14 steals in the last seven games (2.0 per game) and has 29 total in 22 games this season.
– Senior guard Braxton Beverly is moving up the program’s career charts. In the last game, Beverly broke into the top-20 on the program’s career assists list and now has 306 on his career. He needs two assists to move into 19th place and four to take over 18th place. The Hazard, Ky., native is currently tied for fourth in program history with Archie Miller for career three-pointers made (218). He is five back of third-place Engin Atsur (223).
– The Pack announced on March 2 that junior guard Thomas Allen will miss the rest of the season with a left ankle injury. With senior guard Devon Daniels tearing his ACL at the end of January that leaves NC State with just four scholarship guards for the remainder of the season: two freshmen (Cam Hayes and Shakeel Moore), a redshirt freshman (Dereon Seabron) and a senior (Braxton Beverly).
– Force at least 15 turnovers. When NC State forces an opponent into 15 or more turnovers this season the Pack is 10-1. When its opponent has less than 15 turnovers, NC State is 4-9. In the Pack’s 14 wins this season, opponents are averaging 16.9 turnovers per game. In its 10 losses, NC State’s opponents average just 12.4 turnovers.
– When the Pack’s defense is stealing the ball and converting it into points NC State is tough to beat. The Pack is 10-0 when it scores 19 or more points off opponent turnovers this season, but just 4-10 when it scores 18 points or less off opponent turnovers.
– Manny Bates is on pace to lead the ACC for the second consecutive season. He currently leads the ACC and ranks 10th in the NCAA with his 2.70 blocks per game average. Bates has 62 blocks this season as a team Colorado State has 66 blocks this season (Rams average 2.6 blocks per game).
– Shooting percentage tells the story. In the Pack’s 14 wins this season, NC State is combining to shoot 50.9% from the field and hold its opponents to 41.3% shooting. In its 10 losses, the numbers are nearly reversed. The Pack is shooting 42.2% when it loses and its opponents are shooting 50.7%.
– In the 12 games since Devon Daniels was injured, forwards Manny Bates, D.J. Funderburk and Jericole Hellems have combined to score 415 points (34.6 combined points an outing for the trio) and are shooting 164-of-311 (52.7%).
– The Pack is averaging 33.5 points in the paint in the 11 games since Devon Daniels was injured. With the loss of Daniels, NC State’s top-three scorers remaining are all forwards. After being outscored in points in the paint in five of its first six ACC games, the Pack has tied or outscored its opponents in points in the paint in 11 of the last 13 games. Only Syracuse (twice) has outscored the Pack in points in the paint in the last 13 games.
NC State – Colorado State Series
– Thursday will mark the first meeting between the two programs.
– NC State is 11-4 all-time against teams from the Mountain West Conference.