Sun, 24 Jan 2021

NC State to bring pressure against UMass Lowell

Field Level Media
03 Dec 2020, 05:40 GMT+10

All is well for North Carolina State through two games. Getting to play more games is part of the next challenge.

A contest that wasn't on the original schedule is now next for the Wolfpack (2-0), who take on UMass Lowell (1-2) on Thursday afternoon in Uncasville, Conn.

This matchup came aboutafter NC State's scheduled home game Monday night with William Mary was called off because of coronavirus issues within the Tribe program. This will be the first meeting between the Wolfpack and River Hawks.

NC State won in a pair of home romps to open the season, including an opening 95-61 triumph against Charleston Southern and Friday night's 86-51 victory against North Florida.

"I like the way we're playing as a unit," coach Kevin Keatts said. "I like the way we've shared the basketball. We've played two games, and we've got 35 assists in the last two games."

NC State holds a plus-32 turnover margin. That was aided by not committing a second-half turnover in the North Florida game.

"It's our pressure," Wolfpack center Manny Bates said. "We want to turn people over. Starting from when the ball goes in, we start pressing."

The Wolfpack have players who can be used in interchangeable roles. That has aided in the defensive efforts.

"I think the personnel means a lot," Keatts said. "There's versatility. There's a lot of guys that can switch."

UMass Lowell has been solid at times, including in a 74-64 loss Sunday at No. 23 Ohio State.

"I thought our team played well," River Hawks coach Pat Duquette said. "It was an exciting game and we had a chance to win it right down to the last minute, which is a great spot for us to be in."

Obadiah Noel was the first America East Player of the Week based on his 24.0 points and 6.7 rebounds across the first three games. That included the senior's career-high 35 points against Illinois State. Noel has 29 consecutive games in double-figure scoring.

For NC State, Keatts used a slight lineup change in the second game of the season, with Jericole Hellems starting instead of Devon Daniels. Keatts said that was related to Daniels being slightly tardy for a team function.

In the meantime, newcomers are blending in with the Wolfpack veterans, such as guard Braxton Beverly.

"You've got to love Braxton Beverly because right now he's playing like a veteran guy," Keatts said. "He's kind of grooming guys like Cam Hayes. He's playing where we need him to play. If I need him to play the point because he's really good with the basketball, if I need him to play off the ball, he's been that guy."

NC State has another game at Mohegan Sun set for Sunday against Connecticut.

--Field Level Media

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