The NC State men’s basketball team hits the road for the first time this season as it travels to Uncasville, Ct., to play UMass Lowell.
The game is part of the Mohegan Sun’s Bubbleville event.
Tipoff, today, is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNU with Kevin Brown and Paul Biancardi will be on the call. NC State fans can also listen to Gary Hahn and Tony Haynes call the action on the Wolfpack Sports Network.
- NC State improved to 2-0 on the season with an 86-51 win over North Florida Friday evening.
- Junior forward Jericole Hellems led NC State with 17 points in the win over the Ospreys. The St. Louis native shot 7-of-12 from the field and added three rebounds and two steals. Freshman Cam Hayes added 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and had six assists with zero turnovers.
- The Pack’s defense has been swarming in the first two games this season. NC State finished with 18 steals and forced 32 Charleston Southern turnovers. The 18 steals are the most of the Kevin Keatts era and were just two short of tying the school record. The 32 forced turnovers are the second-most for an NC State opponent since Keatts became head coach. Against North Florida on Friday, the Pack forced 19 turnovers and had 10 steals. Through games of Dec. 1, NC State ranks second in NCAA DI in turnovers forced per game (25.5) and is fourth in steals per game (14.0).
- The Pack is allowing 56 points per game through the first two games of the season. Under head coach Kevin Keatts, NC State is 40-8 (.833) when it holds an opponent to under 70 points.
- NC State did not commit a turnover in the second half against North Florida and only had six for the game. Through two games, the Pack is +32 in turnover margin which leads the nation.
- The Pack has opened the season with back-to-back shooting performances over 50 percent. Last season in 32 games, NC State only had six games where it shot over 50 percent from the field. The Pack’s 53.9 percent shooting so far this season is the best mark in the ACC.
- Devon Daniels led the Pack in its season-opening win over Charleston Southern with a career-high 29 points. The senior guard shot 11-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. Daniels also added 10 rebounds for his fifth career double-double. He is only the third NC State player in the last 10 seasons to record a 25-point, 10-rebound outing, joining T.J. Warren (accomplished four times) and Dennis Smith Jr.
- NC State has turned defense into offense quite effectively this season. In two games, NC State is outscoring its opponents 64-17 in points off turnovers. UMass Lowell is averaging 15 turnovers per game this season and in its two losses was outscored 35-16 in points off turnovers.
- The Pack is 33-6 (.846) against non-conference opponents in regular season play under Keatts. Since dropping contests to unranked Tennessee (Vols were unranked at time of game, but finished season #13), Northern Iowa and UNCG (Spartans went 27-8 and received NCAA Tourney bid) in his first season with the Pack in 2017-18, Keatts and NC State have only lost non-conference regular season games at #22 Wisconsin (79-75) #16 Memphis on a neutral court (83-78) and at #12 Auburn (79-73). The Pack has a 31-3 (.912) against unranked non-conference opponents under Keatts and has won 22 consecutive games against unranked non-conference opponents.
- A big question heading into the season for NC State was who would replace Markell Johnson at point guard. Johnson left NC State third all-time in school history in assists and led the ACC in assists twice, including last season with 6.8 assists per game. Through two games, senior Braxton Beverly and Cam Hayes have combined for 18 assists and two turnovers. Hayes, a true freshman, has 10 assists and just one turnover in the first two games. His 10-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio currently ranks second in the NCAA.
- For the fourth consecutive season, head coach Kevin Keatts will have to replace his leading scorer from the previous season. This is the first time at NC State that he doesn’t return the leading scorer, rebounder or assist man from last season. Last year, senior C.J. Bryce led the team in scoring and rebounding (13.3 and 6.3) and senior Markell Johnson led the team (and ACC) in assists (6.8).
NC State – UMass Lowell Series
- Thursday marks the first matchup between the two programs.
- The Pack is 10-0 all-time against teams from the America East Conference.
Noting UMass Lowell
- The River Hawks return three of five starters from last season’s 13-19 team. Of its 14 players, eight are newcomers in 2020-21 and 11 of the 14 players are underclassmen.
- UMass Lowell opened the season by defeating San Francisco, 78-68. USF turned around in the next game to beat preseason ACC favorite, Virginia.
- UML senior Obadiah Noel won America East Player of the Week honors for his efforts in the opening week. He averaged 24.0 points and 6.7 rebounds with 11 assists and two steals in three games for the River Hawks. He scored a career-high 35 points in ULM’s loss to Illinois State.