NC State returns to action tonight against visiting Loyola (Md.) at 7 p.m. at the RBC Center.
The 7-2 Wolfpack last played against Marquette on Dec. 22, losing on a Dominic James three-pointer with 0.4 seconds left that gave the Golden Eagles' a 68-65 victory.
The loss also delivered a blow to the NC State backcourt, which lost redshirt junior shooting guard Trevor Ferguson for 3-to-6 weeks due to a non-displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone (ring finger) on his left hand.
Ferguson moved into the starting lineup the last four games in place of freshman C.J. Williams, and supplied a perimeter threat, shooting 41.5 percent from three-point range.
Replacing Ferguson in the lineup won't be easy. Williams could resume his starting spot, or the Wolfpack could insert redshirt senior forward Simon Harris into the lineup. Redshirt junior point guard Farnold Degand is another possibility.
If Harris starts, then former shooting guard Courtney Fells moves back to his old position from small forward. If Fells stays at small forward, Williams would play shooting guard, or the Wolfpack will start two point guards for the first time this season with freshman Julius Mays and Degand.
NC State was hoping to play Degand and sophomore Javier Gonzalez together at some point this season, but both have battled injuries this season.
Loyola brings a 4-7 record this season and has been known more for its unconventional strategy than anything else.
Loyola lost 78-48 to Davidson by playing two players against star Stephen Curry, holding him scoreless. Curry stood in the corner while his four teammates played against three Greyhounds' players.
Coach Jimmy Patsos, a former assistant coach under Gary Williams at Maryland, also drew national attention for sitting in the stands during their 82-72 loss to Cornell in Boston for the NIT Season Tip-off Nov. 18 because he feared that he would get ejected after accumulating one technical foul midway through the first half. So he passed the game to an assistant coach and watched from the stands
Loyola (Md.) preview
Loyola (Md.) (4-7) at NC State (7-2)
Game time: Tonight, Dec. 29, 7 p.m. — RBC Center, Raleigh
Television: None, ACC Select
PG — 24 Julius Mays (6-2, Fr., 3.9 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 2.1 apg)
SG — 4 Courtney Fells (6-6, Sr., 11.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.3 apg)
SF —2 Simon Harris (6-6 R-Sr., 2.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.3 apg)
PF — 33 Brandon Costner (6-9, R-Jr., 14.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 bpg)
C — 34 Ben McCauley (6-9, Sr., 14.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.7 spg)
PG — 4 Brett Harvey (6-1, Jr., 14.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.1 spg)
SG — 5 Marquis Sullivan (6-1, Sr., 10.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.6 apg)
G — 22 Jamal Barney (6-3, Soph., 14.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.3 apg)
PF — 1 Anthony Winbush (6-7, Fr., 3.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.3 spg)
C— 55 Josh Wiegand (6-9, Fr., 1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.1 apg)
Location: Baltimore, Md.
2007-08 record: 19-14 overall, 12-6 (tied for third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic)
2008 postseason: None
Coach: Jimmy Patsos, 4th season overall and at Loyola (62-69)
The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 3-0
Last meeting: NC State won 80-52 on Feb. 22, 1982 in Raleigh
Loyola: The Greyhounds have started 10 different players this year, including seven that have four or more starts … Loyola plays at Duke on Wednesday with game televised on ESPN2. They also played Boston College on Nov. 17 on ESPNU, losing 90-57 … Barney transferred to Loyola from Providence, where he averaged 2.4 points per game … Reserve point guard Brian Rudulph, a 5-11 sophomore who was the MAAC's Co-Rookie of the Year last year, leads the team with 5.2 assists per game to go along with 5.9 points. He's started nine out of 11 games. Reserve forward Isaac Reid, a 6-5 sophomore, leads the team with 7.1 rebounds per game and averages 7.8 points … Junior walk-on Kelly Garrett is from Asheville, N.C., and transferred to Loyola from North Carolina Wilmington … Maryland transfer Shane Walker, a 6-10 power forward from England, will be eligible for Loyola next year.
NC State: Gonzalez returned to the court against Marquette, but played just two minutes. He injured his elbow against East Carolina on Dec. 17 and missed the win over Lipscomb on Dec. 20. Gonzalez has also battled ankle and knee injuries this season … NCSU is shooting 51.2 percent over the last four games, going 109 of 213, and also snapped out of a mini-funk on three-pointers, going 16 of 32 over the last two games. The Pack shot 31.3 percent from beyond the arc the first seven games … Costner scored his 1,000 career point during the Marquette game, becoming the 41st player in school history to achieve the milestone. Costner played his best game of the season with 24 points on 9 of 10 shooting, including 5 of 5 from three-point range.