Wolfpack men’s basketball is preparing to face off against William & Mary on Monday, Nov. 30. The Pack has gotten off to a hot start this season, ending the Mako Medical Wolfpack Invitational with a 2-0 record. The team managed to win both games handily, with the most recent win coming against North Florida on Friday, Nov. 27.
The Pack’s scoring brigade in this game was spearheaded by junior forward Jericole Hellems. Leading the Pack with 17 points, Hellems was one of four players to reach double-digit points in this contest. Following his hot start to the season with 29 points against Charlotte Southern, redshirt senior guard Devon Daniels remained quiet in this game with seven points on 2-for-7 shooting from the field.
Freshman guard Cam Hayes was a member of the Pack’s double-digit club with 13 points on an efficient 6-for-8 shooting in his second game in the NC State jersey. Hayes also managed to add six assists and a steal to his stat line. This is a very positive sign for all Pack fans, coaches and teammates, suggesting that Hayes has the ability to be a playmaker throughout his freshman season.
The performance of the Pack so far has been very positive, a 2-0 start is something this squad should be happy with moving forward. The two games played so far have served as a warmup for this roster, as it dials in the last pieces of its game to be ready for tougher opponents as the season progresses.
The William & Mary Griffins aren’t exactly the most world-renowned college basketball program, but they have proven their ability to shock bigger teams when given the opportunity. A perfect example of this would be the last game between the Pack and the Griffins on Nov. 15, 2015, where William and Mary walked away with their first win in the matchup’s history.
Historically, the numbers in this matchup would favor the Pack, which boasts a 6-1 record all time against this team. In matchups against William & Mary, NC State averages 85.14 points per game. The current Wolfpack squad should have a relatively easy time reaching this metric, especially considering the team has had more games to work on itself than the Griffins.
While this will most likely not be the most high-octane matchup the Wolfpack will partake in this season, it will continue to help answer some questions regarding uncertainties amongst the roster. One especially interesting uncertainty is who will take over the leading scorer role for this team. Following the Pack’s first game, many would be quick to tell you that the spot belongs to Daniels, but it was observed in its second game that it won’t be as simple as that.
A more likely scenario is a rotating door of leading scorers game in and game out, with many players boasting the capability to lead. Daniels managed a career-high 29 points in the first game before quickly falling back to earth on a tough night from the field. The Pack didn’t miss a stride, however, with Hellems picking up the slack. That trend is one that can be expected to continue as this team continues to find its identity early on in the season.
The only way to formulate answers to questions such as these is to see this squad in action. The next chance to do so comes against a relatively untested William & Mary squad on Monday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in Raleigh. The game will be broadcast live on ACC Network and on the Watch ESPN app. Make sure to follow @TechSports on Twitter for more updates regarding this game and all other things NC State sports.