The NC State men’s basketball team will travel to Brooklyn, New York to play Memphis on Thursday, Nov. 28 in the Barclays Center Classic.
The Wolfpack (5-1, 0-1 ACC) is currently on a five-game winning streak following its only loss in the first game of the season and ACC opener earlier in the month. With recent strong wins against Detroit Mercy, FIU, St. Francis Brooklyn, Alcorn State and Little Rock, the Pack has some serious momentum entering the game against Memphis.
Redshirt senior C.J. Bryce has been a large contributor for NC State with an average of 17.7 points per game including 18 in the win over Little Rock. He also leads the team in rebounds with 46 in all, including 31 on defense and 15 on offense.
Another difference-maker offensively for the Wolfpack has been redshirt junior forward D.J. Funderburk. After missing the first game of the season due to suspension, he’s been averaging 11.5 points per game as well as 5.5 rebounds per game. He also has a 0.739 field-goal percentage, the highest on the team.
6-foot-11 redshirt freshman forward Manny Bates is a key piece of the Pack’s defense with over 20 blocks so far this season including three against Little Rock. He’s also been averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
This game will be the Pack’s first road test of the season as it takes on the Memphis Tigers (5-1).
Memphis will enter this game on a three-game winning streak with wins against Alcorn State, Little Rock and Ole Miss. Its only loss of the season has come in its game against Oregon, which it lost 84-72.
Memphis has relied heavily on forward freshman Precious Achiuwa and D.J. Jeffries in its recent games. Achiuwa has been averaging 15 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while Jeffries is close behind, averaging 14 points per game but only 3.8 rebounds.
These two freshmen have stepped up with the unfortunate losses of two key players for the Tigers. Freshman guard Lester Quinones, who had been averaging 10.3 points per game, recently broke his right hand and will have about a month of recovery before he can play again. Freshman center James Wiseman is also out until mid-January after a controversial suspension from the NCAA over a situation from back in high school where his coach, now the Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway, paid his family’s moving expenses. This is a huge loss for the Tigers as Wiseman was averaging 19.7 points per game prior to his suspension and he was predicted to be one of the top draft picks in this year’s NBA draft.
In any Thanksgiving matchup, there is sure to be a feast and this game surely shouldn’t disappoint. As long as the Pack can keep the Tigers in check, this should prove to be an interesting road game and a win for the Pack.
The game will tip off at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the Barclays Center and will be aired on ESPN2.