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November 23, 2012

NC State looking to bounce back tonight



The manner in which North Carolina State suffered its first loss might have provided Mark Gottfried's group with a much-needed wake-up call.

With that defeat in the past, the No. 16 Wolfpack look to get back on track by continuing their dominance over visiting UNC Asheville tonight.

Saddled with lofty preseason expectations and hardly challenged in its first three games, North Carolina State (3-1) was humbled in a 76-56 loss to Oklahoma State on Sunday in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

The Wolfpack averaged 87.7 points and shot 56.1 percent while beating Miami of Ohio, Penn State and Massachusetts by 24.4 points, but were sluggish against the Cowboys. N.C. State shot 35.5 percent, went 4 of 14 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 45-34.

"That was as poor a performance as we have had in a long time," Gottfried said. "I'm not sure we did a lot of things well. We came out casual and, like in a prize fight, they took it to us.

"It's my job to make sure we are ready to play, and we weren't ready to play."

The defeat dropped NC State 10 spots in the poll and provided a stark reminder that it can't take anything for granted. The Wolfpack may have the talent and experience to challenge Duke and North Carolina for the ACC title, but they also need the proper attitude to succeed.

"We have to come out and have a better start," said freshman guard Rodney Purvis, who had a team-high 16 points. "But that won't happen anymore. This can happen any night. We have a bull's-eye on our back. We have to prepare ourselves physically and mentally for every game and come out here and play."

Though NC State is 17-0 against Asheville, the Wolfpack may come out trying to prove a point in this tune-up before visiting fourth-ranked Michigan on Tuesday.

"NC State has a very good team, and I'm sure they're not pleased at how they played against Oklahoma State," Asheville coach and former Wolfpack player and assistant Eddie Biedenbach told his school's official Web site. "Obviously we're going to have our hands full."

While the Wolfpack fell short of their goal in Puerto Rico, freshman T.J. Warren earned all-tournament honors by coming off the bench to average 19.3 points and 68.6 percent shooting in the three games.

Asheville (1-4) was competitive in Puerto Rico, but went winless against Tennessee, Akron and Providence. The Bulldogs overcame a 13-point deficit before falling 72-67 to the Friars on Sunday for their fourth consecutive defeat.

"We're going to have to play better in all areas of the game to have any kind of chance (Friday)," Biedenbach said. We learned a lot in Puerto Rico against some really good teams. Hopefully we will put that knowledge to good use against N.C. State."

The Bulldogs are paced by senior Jeremy Atkinson, who averages 17.0 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Richard Howell (12.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) had 14 points with 15 boards and DeShawn Painter added 12 points with 12 rebounds in NC State's 84-75 win over Asheville last Nov. 11. Atkinson scored 11.




UNC-Asheville preview

NC State 2011-12 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

UNC Asheville roster

UNC Asheville schedule/results

UNC Asheville season stats

Game facts

UNC Asheville (1-4) vs. No. 16 NC State (3-1)

Game time: Friday, Nov. 23, 7 p.m. — PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.

Television: ESPN3.com

Probable starters

NC State
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 9.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.5 apg, 2.5 spg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-2, 195, Fr., 13.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.8 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 9.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.5 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 10.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg)

UNC Asheville
PG — 55 Trent Meyer (6-3, 170, Jr., 10.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.8 spg)
SG — 4 Keith Hornsby (6-4, 190, Soph., 9.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.4 spg)
SF — 15 Jeremy Atkinson (6-4, 210, Sr., 17.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 2.2 spg)
PF — 35 Jon Nwannunu (6-8, 225, Sr., 7.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.2 apg)
C — 33 D.J. Cunningham (6-10, 240, Jr., 9.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 spg, 2.0 bpg)

UNC Asheville

Location: Asheville, N.C.

Nickname: Bulldogs

2011-12 record: 24-10, 16-2 Big South

2012 postseason: Lost 72-65 to Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA Tournament

Coach: Eddie Biedenbach, 19th season overall (266-297) and 17th at UNC Asheville (241-246)

Series: NC State leads 17-0

Last meeting: NC State won 84-75 on Nov. 11, 2011, in Raleigh

Notes

UNC Asheville: The Bulldogs went 0-3 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, losing to Tennessee, Akron and Providence on the other half of the bracket opposite of NC State ... Junior point guard Trent Meyer scored a career-high 20 points and went 4 of 9 from three point land against Providence. Junior wing Jeremy Atkinson added 16 points and a career-high 13 boards ... Atkinson, who is from Elm City, N.C., and attended Wilson Fike High and Louisburg Junior College, is one of six North Carolina natives on the roster, and a seventh attended high school in the state. Atkinson topped 20 points in two games last year, and was in double figures in all but 11 contests. He opened his senior season with a career-high 24 points and 11 boards against Western Carolina ... Junior center D.J. Cunningham missed last year, but has returned with double-digit efforts in the first three games, including 11 points, nine rebounds and six blocks against UNC Wilmington. He had three double-doubles in 2010-2011, and four in 2009-2010 ... Meyer entered the season with a pair of games where he scored in double figures, and he already has matched it through five games ... Senior power forward Jon Nwannunu spent his first year at Vincennes Junior College in Indiana and is a starter for the first time this season ... Sophomore shooting guard Keith Hornsby, who is the son of musician Bruce Hornsby, had 22 points against Akron and is shooting 44.4 percent from beyond the three-point line ... Freshmen forwards Will Weeks and Sam Hughes both played in the NCISAA state tournament last year. Weeks attended Arden Christ School and played in the 3A level, while Hughes helped Wilson Greenfield School finish runner-up in 1A.


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