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May 1, 2014

Pack will travel to Purdue for ACC/Big Ten Challenge

The ACC officially announced today that NC State will travel to Purdue on Dec. 2 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in 2014. The news was first reported by The Wolfpacker on its premium State of Basketball message board this morning.

The Wolfpack is coming off of its third straight NCAA bid in three years under head coach Mark Gottfried. NC State finished 22-14 (9-9 ACC) last year, but must replace ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren, who is a projected first-round pick in this June's NBA Draft, center Jordan Vandenberg, who graduated, and point guard Tyler Lewis, who transferred to Butler.

Meanwhile, Purdue is coming off of a 15-17 (5-13 Big Ten) campaign, and also lost one player earlier than expected - starting point guard Ronnie Johnson, who averaged 10.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in his two years with the squad. Johnson's older brother, Terone, was the school's leading scorer this year at 12.0 points per game, but he has exhausted his eligibility.

The Boilermakers will be young next season, and are likely to be led by junior center A.J. Hammons, a 7-foot, 251-pounder who averaged 10.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last year. He is the leading returning scorer, followed by sophomore guard Kendall Stephens, who averaged 8.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game last season while shooting 37 percent from three-point land.

Classmate Bryson Scott will probably handle point guard duties following Johnson's departure. He paced the team with a 38.5 three-point percentage last year, while he averaged 6.3 points and 1.4 assists per game.

Former Purdue guard Matt Painter will enter his 10th year at the helm next season, and he has a career record of 191-112 (.630) during that time, including an 89-69 (.563) mark against Big Ten foes. He led the team to the NCAA Tournament and won at least one game in it every year from 2007-2012, but that six-year streak was broken with a 16-18 season and CBI quarterfinal appearance in 2012-13.

Last year, the school did not go to the postseason for the first time since Painter's debut campaign.

Purdue was able to record a victory in last year's ACC/Big Ten Challenge. They topped Boston College in West Lafayette, 88-67, to give the school five straight wins in the event.

NC State was also able to record an ACC victory in the event last year, when they topped Northwestern, 69-48, at home. It marked the Pack's first win in the Challenge since 2006 against Michigan in former coach Sidney Lowe's debut campaign.

NCSU is 4-0 all-time against Purdue, with the last meeting a 60-53 win for the Pack at home on Nov. 29, 2004. The school is 6-8 all-time in the made-for-television series between the two leagues.

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