Nov. 29, 2013
|NC State (3-2) vs. Eastern Kentucky (6-1)
||Saturday, Nov. 30
||ESPN3 (Patrick Kinas, Jeff Jackson)
||Wolfpack Sports Network (Gary Hahn, Tony Haynes)
| Game Notes
||NC State | EKU
| Season Statistics
|| NC State | EKU
| Live Stats
| Social Media
||@PackMensBball | Facebook
The NC State men's basketball team will play the fourth of seven straight home games Saturday night when it hosts Eastern Kentucky at PNC Arena at 8 p.m. State has won seven of eight home contests dating back to last season.
The Wolfpack (3-2) is coming off perhaps its best performance of the season, an 82-62 victory over 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 program Florida Gulf Coast. T.J. Warren scored 30 points and the Pack also received a lift with the return of 7-1 senior center Jordan Vandenberg. The fifth-year senior missed four games due to injury, but his seven points, 10 rebounds and inside defensive presence allowed NC State to post season bests in points allowed (62) and opponent shooting percentage (.345).
EKU, one of the favorites to contend in the Ohio Valley Conference, is 6-1 this season with a pair of wins against non-Division I teams. The Colonels won 25 games last season and earned a berth into the CIT.
NC State leads the all-time series with Eastern Kentucky 9-1, but the entire series was played during the Everett Case era.
Following Saturday night's contest, NC State will host Northwestern Wednesday, Dec. 4 in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The contest vs. Northwestern will be televised on ESPNU.
The Starting 5 - The top 5 storylines for this game
1. NEW PACK 5
Head coach Mark Gottfried rolled out a new starting unit on Tuesday vs. Florida Gulf Coast, with Cat Barber and Jordan Vandenberg starting with T.J. Warren, Lennard Freeman and Desmond Lee. The group helped build a 15-point halftime lead en route to an 82-62 Wolfpack victory. It was the first career start for Barber and the first action of the season for the previously-injured Vandenberg. Gottfried said after the game that the size and experience of Vandenberg and the defensive speed of Barber made an impact in the NC State win.
2. AUSSIE RETURNS
After losing 40 pounds in the offseason, fifth-year senior Jordan Vandenberg was in a position to have the best season of his college career. Unfortunately, the 7-1 Vandenberg suffered a Grade 3 high ankle sprain during the team's exhibition vs. UNC Pembroke on Oct. 30. The Australia native made his return vs. Florida Gulf Coast, scoring seven points and pulling in 10 rebounds in one of the best performances of his career. Vandenberg's reverse alley-oop dunk he caught from Cat Barber was No. 9 on the Sportscenter Top 10 for Nov. 26.
T.J. Warren stands fourth in the ACC with 21.2 points per game. The 6-8 sophomore poured in 30 points vs. Florida Gulf Coast, one shy of his career high he set last season against Florida State. Warren leads NC State in minutes (33.8), scoring (21.2), rebounding (6.6) and steals (2.0). In the season opener vs. Appalachian State, he shot 13-for-20 from the floor to score 27 points with eight rebounds. At Cincinnati, Warren posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, his third career double-double. Warren then scored 23 points on 10-for-20 shooting vs. Campbell on Nov. 16.
4. BALL CONTROL
One area where NC State has thrived this season has been in the turnover department. The Wolfpack has not committed more turnovers than its opponent in any game this season, posting a season average of +3.8 in turnover margin. Guards Tyler Lewis and Cat Barber have combined for 38 assists against just 16 turnovers. Currently, the Pack stands third in the ACC in turnover margin.
5. THE 11TH MONTH AT HOME
NC State is 16-3 in home nonconference games in the month of November dating back to November 2008. Gottfried started 4-1 in November nonleague games at home during his first year at NC State and then went 2-0 last year. Overall, NC State is 57-13 (.814) during the month of November since 1999.