North Carolina State will aim to get back in the win column Tuesday night when it hosts Coppin State in a nonconference clash in Raleigh, N.C.
The Wolfpack (7-2) fell on Friday in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener to Pitt, 68-60. NC State had won three straight before that loss. Its only other loss this season was to Kansas — the reigning national champions.
In the loss to Pitt, Terquavion Smith led the way for the Wolfpack with 15 points, six boards and four assists. D.J. Burns Jr. had 13 points in 22 minutes off the bench.
NC State was hurt by 12 turnovers and had just nine assists on 21 made shots. The Wolfpack also shot poorly from 3-point range, making 6 of 27 shots from deep for a 22.2 percent clip, which is a season-worst mark.
“We didn’t play well or sharp offensively. You can look at the numbers… It affected us on the defensive end,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. “It was one of those gritty games where you’ve got to figure out how to win the game, especially when the ball isn’t going in.”
It’s the sixth year at the helm at Coppin State for Juan Dixon, who played in Raleigh often as guard for Maryland in the early 2000s, when the Terps were still in the ACC.
Coppin (4-6) is coming off a 74-71 win over fellow Baltimore school Loyola (Maryland). That victory for the Eagles broke a four-game losing streak.
In the victory over Loyola, Coppin was led by an explosive effort from Sam Sessoms, who poured in 35 points on 15-of-22 shooting.
Coppin is the third school Sessoms has played for. He started his collegiate career at Binghamton, where he was a two-time All-America East selection, then spent two seasons at Penn State before transferring to Coppin this past offseason. He averages 15.3 points per game for his career — across 127 games at three schools — but is putting up 23.9 points on 53.6 percent shooting for Coppin this season.
“Not too many people get a chance to play with a great player and coach like Juan Dixon,” Sessoms told PressBox Online recently. “I just felt like it was the best decision as far as being able to go to another school and having a (better) chance of winning a conference.”
–Field Level Media