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Pack opens ACC tournament Wednesday against Syracuse

NC State enters postseason play winners of five consecutive games
North Carolina State's D.J. Funderburk (0), Jericole Hellems (4) and Shakeel Moore (2)...
North Carolina State's D.J. Funderburk (0), Jericole Hellems (4) and Shakeel Moore (2) celebrate after the team's victory over Boston College in an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP, Pool)(Ethan Hyman | AP)
Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:19 PM EST
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The NC State men’s basketball team begins play at the ACC Tournament on Wednesday when it faces Syracuse at noon inside Greensboro Coliseum.

The game will be televised on the ACC Network with Sean McDonough, Cory Alexander and Allison Williams on the call. NC State fans can also listen to Gary Hahn and Tony Haynes call the action on the Wolfpack Sports Network.

Pack Tracks

- The Pack won its fifth consecutive game, its longest ACC win streak since the 2003-04 season, with an 80-69 win at Notre Dame last Wednesday.

- NC State’s freshmen led the Pack in the win over the Fighting Irish. The freshmen trio of Cam Hayes, Shakeel Moore and Dereon Seabron combined for 45 points on 18-of-29 (62.1%) shooting, 19 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Seabron was named ACC Freshman of the Week for his efforts as he posted season-highs in points (17) and rebounds (13) for his first career double-double. Hayes added a season-high 20 points.

- During its five-game win streak, NC State hasn’t trailed by more than one possession in any game. It’s largest deficit was three (13-10) at Wake Forest. The Pack led for 35 minutes at Pitt, 32 minutes at Wake Forest, 36 minutes at Virginia, 37 minutes vs. Pitt and 38 minutes at Notre Dame.

- During the five-game win streak, NC State is shooting 49.6 percent from the field, including 38.3 percent from three-point range, while its holding its opponents to 39.5 percent shooting, including 30.6 percent from three-point range.

- The annual ACC awards were announced on Monday. Sophomore forward Manny Bates was named to the conference’s All-Defensive team. Bates is primed to lead the ACC in blocks for the second consecutive season. He is averaging 2.95 blocks per game and has had multiple blocked shots in 14 of 21 games this season. Junior forward Jericole Hellems earned honorable mention All-ACC honors. Hellems is averaging 13.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Wednesday Storylines

- NC State freshman guards Cam Hayes and Shakeel Moore are both from Greensboro. Hayes attended Ben L. Smith High School as a freshman and sophomore before finishing up his prep career at Greensboro Day School. Shakeel Moore attended Ragsdale High School as a freshman before transferring to Piedmont Classical High School. As a child, Hayes would attend the ACC Tournament when it was in Greensboro.

- NC State has a 73-56 all-time record in the ACC Tournament, including 25-23 when it is held in Greensboro. The Pack has won at least one game in 10 of the last 12 times the ACC Tournament has been played in Greensboro, including the last four times it’s been held here. Last season, NC State scored a 73-58 win over Pitt on what turned out to be the final day of the college basketball season. 2011 was the last time NC State went one-and-done in an ACC Tournament held in Greensboro

- The Pack announced last Tuesday that junior guard Thomas Allen will miss the rest of the season with a left ankle injury. With senior guard Devon Daniels tearing his ACL at the end of January that leaves NC State with just four scholarship guards for the remainder of the season: two freshmen (Cam Hayes and Shakeel Moore), a redshirt freshman (Dereon Seabron) and a senior (Braxton Beverly). In the meeting against Syracuse on 2/9, Allen scored a season-high 17 points, hitting four three-pointers.

- Freshman Cam Hayes is playing his best basketball of the season. The Greensboro native has now scored in double figures in four of the last five games. Hayes had not scored in double figures in 12 straight games prior to this five-game stretch. He scored 11 points, passed out a career-best nine assists and had three steals in the win over Pitt on Feb. 17. He had 11 points, five assists and three steals in the win at Wake Forest on Feb. 20. In the win at UVA, Hayes scored 16 points, hitting three three-pointers and went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 43 seconds as the Pack snapped UVA’s 15-game home winning streak. He closed the regular season with a season-best 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the win at Notre Dame In the last five games, Hayes is averaging 12.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game.

- Senior guard Braxton Beverly is four points away from becoming the 54th member of the 1,000 point club at NC State. He also has 297 career assists and needs just seven more to break into the top-20 in the NC State record book for career assists.

- Force at least 15 turnovers. When NC State forces an opponent into 15 or more turnovers this season the Pack is 10-1. When its opponent has less than 15 turnovers, NC State is 3-8. In the Pack’s 13 wins this season, opponents are averaging 17.5 turnovers per game. In its nine losses, NC State’s opponents average just 12.6 turnovers.

- When the Pack’s defense is stealing the ball and converting it into points NC State is tough to beat. The Pack is 10-0 when it scores 19 or more points off opponent turnovers this season, but just 3-9 when it scores 18 points or less off opponent turnovers.

- Pack’s defense has held its last three opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field. In the win at #15 Virginia, NC State held the ACC’s top field goal percentage team to just 37.0 percent from the field. It was the lowest shooting percentage for an NC State opponent this season ... for four days until the Pack held Pitt to just 34.5 percent shooting in the Pack’s win. In the win over Notre Dame last Wednesday, the Pack held Notre Dame to 37.5% shooting. NC State’s defense has been especially potent in the first half. In the opening 20 minutes of the last three games, NC State’s opponents are combining to shoot 31.5% from the field, including just 23.1% from long-range.

- Shooting percentage tells the story. In the Pack’s 13 wins this season, NC State is combining to shoot 50.3% from the field and hold its opponents to 41.1% shooting. In its nine losses, the numbers are nearly reversed. The Pack is shooting 42.9% when it loses and its opponents are shooting 50%.

- In the 10 games since Devon Daniels was injured, forwards Manny Bates, D.J. Funderburk and Jericole Hellems have combined to score 334 points (33.4 combined points an outing for the trio) and are shooting 134-of-256 (52.3%).

- The Pack is averaging 34.0 points in the paint in the 10 games since Devon Daniels was injured. With the loss of Daniels, NC State’s top-three scorers remaining are all forwards. After being outscored in points in the paint in five of its first six ACC games, the Pack has tied or outscored its opponents in points in the paint in 10 of the last 11 games. The only team to outscore the Pack in points in the paint during this stretch is Syracuse. On Feb. 9, the Orange held NC State to just 20 points in the paint (a season-low) and outscored the Pack, 28-20, in the paint.

NC State - Syracuse Series

- Wednesday marks the 16th all-time meeting between the two programs.

- Syracuse leads the all-time series, 9-6, and the Orange has won both meetings this season.

- This is the second-ever meeting between the two programs in the ACC Tournament. In 2014, seventh-seed NC State advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals with a 66-63 win over 2nd-seed Syracuse. ACC Player of the Year, T.J. Warren, led the Pack with 28 points in the win.

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