NC State aims for 2-0 against North Florida


North Carolina State opened its season Wednesday night with a big win and will look to stay undefeated Friday as the host team in the Mako Medical Wolfpack Invitational.

The Wolfpack (1-0) will return to action against North Florida (0-1) as the schools meet in Raleigh in their second games of the tournament and season.

NC State used an 11-0 run over a five-minute span late in the first half and tallied 19 straight points early in the second to pull away from undermanned Big South opponent Charleston Southern — playing without its top two scorers — in a 95-61 win.

Guard Devon Daniels set a career-high with 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and sharpshooter Braxton Beverly added 13.

The Wolfpack opened at venerable 5,500-seat Reynolds Coliseum, where they improved to 21-2 since 1999 while playing before just 25 fans.

“We have to figure out how to create our own excitement,” said NC State coach Kevin Keatts of the challenge ahead. “It’s almost like the atmosphere of the game will be like a scrimmage or a practice every day, and you’ve got to figure out how to come together and be loud.”

North Florida lost 80-67 to Eastern Kentucky in the night’s first game.

The Ospreys, the Atlantic Sun’s co-champion, begin the season with three games in two different places. After Friday’s contest in Raleigh, the team will return to Florida and head to Coral Gables for a meeting with Miami on Sunday.

Despite UNF returning as the conference’s co-champion after a 21-12 season, the coaches and media both picked coach Matthew Driscoll’s squad to finish fourth this season.

On Wednesday, junior Carter Hendricksen — a 6-foot-7 unanimous ASUN preseason All-Conference selection — poured in a game-high 20 points, including five 3-pointers, to go along with seven rebounds. Jose Placer made his UNF debut a good one with 13 points — going 6-of-6 from the foul line — and added five assists.

The Ospreys outscored Eastern Kentucky 33-30 in the second half but lost for the 19th time in 21 meetings against Ohio Valley Conference opposition.

“At the start of the second half, we got defensive stops on nine of the first 12 possessions which limited their pressing ability,” Driscoll said. “We chipped away at the lead, but then we had some errant shots and did some things out of character.”

–Field Level Media

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