NC State ready to bounce back vs. Campbell

NCAA

Campbell and North Carolina State are two teams that have had different types of workloads recently. Yet they meet with something in common Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, N.C.

In both cases, they suffered their first losses of the season earlier this week.

NC State’s 80-69 setback Thursday night at Saint Louis came in a hastily arranged game that wasn’t on the original schedule. The Wolfpack took only nine players to the game, with forward D.J. Funderburk and guard Cam Hayes — who combine to average about 20 points per game — among the key players missing.

“A couple of things that are glaring is that we haven’t played basketball since Dec. 3,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. “I thought, with our short bench and the amount of experience that we had, we did some good things. We lost to a good team on their home floor.”

The Wolfpack (3-1) used eight players in the game. Five players didn’t make the trip.

“We’ll dust it off,” Keatts said. “We’ll continue to get healthy and get ready for our next opportunity.”

The bright side for NC State was sophomore center Manny Bates’ career-high 20 points to go with eight blocked shots.

Saturday’s outing will be the Wolfpack’s first game of the season contested at PNC Arena, which is the primary home court for the team. The previous home games were played at Reynolds Coliseum, a smaller venue on campus and the former regular home court. The school’s plan is for all the of team’s Atlantic Coast Conference games to be played at PNC Arena, and this is the last scheduled non-league game (though some postponed games could be made up).

Campbell (4-1) played on three consecutive days — Dec. 8-10 — and then fell 66-56 in Wednesday’s game at Elon — a contest moved back one day by mutual agreement.

The Camels were hurt by 3-point shooting (5-for-19) and free-throw shooting (13-for-26) in the loss to an undefeated Elon team, which hadn’t played since Nov. 28. Those shooting percentages were disturbing for the Camels.

“I think we shoot the ball pretty well,” coach Kevin McGeehan said of his team in general.

The outcome prevented Campbell from posting its first 5-0 start to a season since 2011-12.

Campbell has three starters back from last season, but none of them averaged more than nine points per game prior to this season. Jordan Whitfield leads the team at 17.6 points per game.

“Each year he has taken steps,” McGeehan said. “(He’s) taking some leadership. I can count on him.”

Among Campbell’s four all-time victories against teams from Power 5 conferences was an overtime triumph against NC State in December 1993. Saturday’s game marks the only scheduled game this season for the Camels against a Power 5 team.

–Field Level Media

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