The sixth-ranked NC State Wolfpack head to a warmer climate for a few days to take part in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, starting with a first-round matchup with the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon.
The winner of this game is scheduled to take on either Providence or Massachusetts in second-round action on Friday.
Mark Gottfried has a lot to be excited about in his second season in Raleigh, as his Wolfpack are well stocked for a run at the ACC crown and much, much more. NC State reinforced that thinking in last week's season-opener against Miami-Ohio, blasting the RedHawks, 97-59.
Patrick Chambers in also in his second season with his squad, but expectations for the Nittany Lions are a little more tempered, coming off a 13-20 season a year ago. Still, with an All-American candidate in the backcourt, vast improvement is certainly within grasp. PSU opened its season with a 65-58 victory over St. Francis (PA) last Friday.
NC State has dominated this series, winning 15 of the previous 18 meetings. The last matchup came in 2000, with NC State posting an 84-76 win.
The Wolfpack are loaded both up front and in the backcourt, but the player that makes it all work is ACC Player of the Year candidate Lorenzo Brown. The 6-5 junior guard can do it all, as evidenced by his strong stat line in the opener, torching the RedHawks for 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Brown was trumped in the scoring column by both freshman guard Rodney Purvis and senior forward Richard Howell, who led the team with 16 points each. Howell completed a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds. The scoring pool is deep, with three others recording double-figure efforts in junior C.J. Leslie (11 pts), senior Scott Wood (10 pts) and sophomore Thomas De Thaey (10 pts). NC State shot a sterling .614 from the floor in the game, and .421 from behind the arc.
The Nittany Lions didn't shoot the ball all that well (.362 overall), but made up for it with a stellar 28-of-32 effort from the free-throw line in a seven- point win over St. Francis (PA) last week. All-American candidate Tim Frazier netted 23 points in the win, powered by a 17-of-18 effort from the charity stripe. Frazier, who posted his 19th career 20-point game in the win, needs just seven points to become the school's 30th player to eclipse 1,000 career points. A do-it-all performer, Frazier was the only player in the country to average at least 17 points and six assists last year. In the win over St. Francis, Frazier was joined in double figures by D.J. Newbill and Ross Travis with 16 and 10 points, respectively. The Nittany Lions held a huge advantage on the boards in the game (38-22), fueled by Travis and Newbill, who combined for 16 rebounds.