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November 15, 2012

NC State expected to be tested in Puerto Rico



North Carolina State lived up to its preseason hype — at least for one game. Now the sixth-ranked Wolfpack will have a chance to test their mix of talented freshmen and veterans on the bigger stage of an in-season tournament.

NC State meets Penn State today in the quarterfinals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

The preseason pick to win the ACC, the Wolfpack (1-0) easily took care of Miami (Ohio) at home Friday, winning 97-59. It was their highest point total since a 99-44 win against Campbell on Nov. 26, 2004.

Six NC State players scored in double figures while the team shot 61.4 percent from the floor, thanks in part to a 31-8 advantage in fast-break points.

"They've got a lot of confidence, they want to become a good team, they're excited about playing," NCSU second-year coach Mark Gottfried said. "I don't think our guys are all that caught up in all (the expectations). I think it's fun and nice, and I think they've enjoyed it. But I think that — especially the four guys that have played here — they've been down the road here. They understand if you don't play, you're going to get beat."

Gottfried's rotation is a combination of promising recruits and four returning starters from a team that finished 24-13 and went to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament last season.

Three freshmen who were named McDonald's All-Americans — Rodney Purvis, Tyler Lewis and T.J. Warren — combined for 30 points in Friday's win, with Purvis scoring 16 in a starting role. The returning starters — Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood and preseason ACC player of the year C.J. Leslie — totaled 52.

"We're always around each other and I think it's that trust that we build between one another that helps us out on the court, and off the court as well," Brown said. "It's just like last year. I mean, it's just this team is a lot more talented than we were last year."

Much of the star power for Penn State (1-0) lies in one player: Tim Frazier.

The Big Ten's top returning scorer (18.8 points per game) and assist man (6.2) didn't disappoint in the Nittany Lions' opener, posting 23 points and six assists in Friday's 65-58 win against St. Francis (Pa.). But Penn State needed 39 minutes from Frazier against a team picked to finish last in the Northeast Conference, and coach Patrick Chambers would like to put less pressure on the senior.

"I don't want to rely on that every night," Chambers said. "That's a lot of weight on one man's shoulders. And he's only 22."

Penn State hopes Frazier's backcourt mate can help. D.J. Newbill averaged 9.2 points two seasons ago as a freshman at Southern Mississippi before transferring, and scored 16 in his Penn State debut Friday.

His 3-point shooting will need to improve after he was 1 of 7 as part of the Nittany Lions' woeful 3-for-24 performance from beyond the arc. Frazier and Newbill combined to go 26 of 28 from the free-throw line.

NC State leads the all-time series 15-3, including an 84-76 home win in the most recent meeting in 2000.

The winner will play Friday against the Providence-Massachusetts winner, with the championship game slated for Sunday.




Penn State preview

NC State 2011-12 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

Penn State roster

Penn State schedule/results

Penn State season stats

Game facts

Penn State (1-0) vs. No. 6 NC State (1-0)

Game time: Thursday, Nov. 15, 5 p.m. — Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Television: ESPN2

Probable starters

NC State
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 15.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 7.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-2, 195, Fr., 16.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 10.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 11.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.0 spg, 3.0 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 16.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.0 spg, 2.0 bpg)

Penn State
PG — 23 Tim Frazier (6-1, 170, Sr., 23.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.0 apg, 2.0 spg, 1.0 bpg)
SG — 11 Jermaine Marshall (6-4, 205, Jr., 9.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 2.0 spg)
SF — 2 D.J. Newbill (6-4, 210, R-Soph., 16.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 spg)
PF — 43 Ross Travis (6-6, 225, Soph., 10.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg)
C — 25 Jon Graham (6-8, 225, Soph., 2.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg)

Penn State

Location: State College, Pa.

Nickname: Nittany Lions

2011-12 record: 12-20 overall, 4-14 Big Ten

2012 postseason: None

Coach: Patrick Chambers fourth year overall (55-48) and second year at Penn State (13-20)

Series: NC State leads 15-3

Last meeting: NC State won 84-76 on Nov. 29, 2000.

Notes

Penn State: Senior point guard Tim Frazier exploded onto the Big Ten scene last year. Frazier averaged a modest 6.3 points per game his sophomore year, but scored at least 11 points in all but two games last year. Even when he struggled with his shot, he managed to help in other ways. He had eight points, 11 rebounds and six assists against St. Joseph's, and three points, nine assists and three boards against Lafayette. Frazier posted two double-doubles for points and rebounds, and three for points and assists. He scored a career-high 30 points at Nebraska, and scored 20-plus points in 17 contests. He opened the 2012-13 season with 23 points and six assists in a 65-58 win over St. Francis (Pa.) Nov. 9 … Redshirt sophomore wing D.J. Newbill averaged 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game at Southern Mississippi in 2010-11. The 6-4, 205-pounder had 15 points and 16 rebounds against UTEP Feb. 16, 2011, and recorded six double-doubles. Newbill had 16 points and seven rebounds against St. Francis (Pa.) … Sophomore forward Ross Travis had 10 points and nine rebounds to open the season, and is building off a solid finish to his freshman campaign. Travis had 15 points and six rebounds in a loss to Michigan March 4, and also had 10 points and nine boards in loss to Northwestern Feb. 25 … Junior power forward Sasa Borovnjak of Asheville (N.C.) Veritas Christian Academy was evaluated by NC State, but never offered. The 6-9, 240-pounder from Serbia returned from a season-ending knee injury last year to average 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.


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