The NC State men’s basketball team (0-1, 0-1 ACC) will take on the Detroit Mercy Titans (0-0) on Sunday, Nov. 10 inside PNC Arena following the team’s loss in the season, and ACC, opener on Tuesday.
In the loss to Georgia Tech, the Wolfpack was without senior guard Markell Johnson, a star and starting point guard for this team, while redshirt junior forward D.J. Funderburk missed the game due to suspension.
The Wolfpack lost the game in heartbreaking fashion, dropping the ball 82-81 in overtime on game-winning free throws. Redshirt senior guard C.J. Bryce poured in 24 points and 11 rebounds, but it was not enough to topple Georgia Tech’s high-scoring starting lineup, led by guard Michael Devoe and forward James Banks III.
Detroit Mercy is coming off a season that saw the team go 11-20, a mediocre mark, while finishing 8-10 in conference play. Despite this, the team saw some impressive wins, such as a 91-63 victory over Loyola Maryland.
Despite the record, the Titans house some elite talent on their roster, particularly in the form of guard Antoine Davis, who stands at 6-foot-1. Last season, Davis averaged 26.1 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game with 3.3 turnovers per game. He also shot an astounding 38% from 3-point range, taking 347 shots. Davis knocked down 132 3-pointers last season as a freshman, breaking Davidson’s Stephen Curry’s record for most 3-pointers made in a single season in NCAA history.
Davis returns this season as just a second-year player, and has all the talent to make it to the NBA. He started all 30 games for his team last season, finished with at least 17 points in every game and finished third in the nation in scoring, as well as leading the Horizon League. In the aforementioned victory over Loyola, Davis dropped 42 points, and in a 21-point victory over Wright State, Davis put up 48 points, one away from a school record and breaking the record for most points scored by a freshman in Horizon League history.
It is undetermined whether or not NC State will be without star guard Johnson for the game, but if not, it will prove even more difficult to contain the phenom Davis. Junior guard Braxton Beverly started in place of Johnson in the loss to Georgia Tech, and likely will again if Johnson cannot play. While Bryce would likely play defense on Davis, a Davis-Beverly matchup would be a fun offensive showing, but one Beverly would be outmatched on defense in.
Despite winning the turnover battle in the loss to the Yellow Jackets, keeping better control of the ball will be integral to winning this game. If Bryce does end up playing on Davis, he cannot afford to have seven turnovers again.
Another key to this game will be graduate forward Pat Andree, who knocked down three of five 3-point attempts against the Yellow Jackets and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. The Titans lost their leading rebounder from last season, as well as second and third leading scorers, so the Pack having scoring from multiple players such as red-hot shooter Andree, Bryce, redshirt junior guard Devon Daniels and others would outmatch the offensive output of Davis.
After this game, the Wolfpack will take on Florida International inside PNC, before playing a couple of games at Reynolds Coliseum. The Wolfpack will return to PNC on November 23.
The game between the Titans and the Wolfpack tips off on Sunday at 4 p.m. inside PNC Arena. The game will be streamed on Raleigh Sports Network, and radio listeners can tune in on Wolfpack Sports Radio.