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Photo by Steve Murphy/Inside Pack Sports
NC State Football

NOTEBOOK: Pack Back In Action Tonight

November 17, 2023

NC State returns to action tonight in PNC Arena against Charleston Southern.  Here are some pregame notes on the Wolfpack.

Pack Tracks

- NC State improved to 2-0 on the season with an 84-64 win over Abilene Christian last Friday.

- The victory marks the sixth time in seven seasons under Kevin Keatts that the Pack has started 2-0 or better.

- In his second game in an NC State uniform, transfer Jayden Taylor paced the Pack with 22 points in the win over ACU, just two shy of tying his career-high. The Indianapolis, Ind., native knocked down three of his four three-point attempts and made all nine of his free throw attempts. Taylor added a team-high two steals in the win.

- Grad guards DJ Horne and Casey Morsell also reached double figures with Horne scoring 15 points and Morsell chipping in 16. It was the first double-digit scoring effort in an NC State uniform for Horne.

DJ Burns scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting. The Rock Hill., S.C., has now made 14 of his 20 field goal attempts this season. Burns led the Pack and ranked fourth in the ACC in field goal percentage last season at 56.1 percent. In 36 career games in an NC State uniform, Burns has now shot better than 50 percent from the field 26 times. During the game on Friday, Burns recorded the 200th made field goal of his NC State career which qualifies him for the program’s career field goal percentage list. Burns has made 202 of his 355 field goal attempts in his NC State career, 56.9%, which ranks as the third-highest career field goal percentage in program history.

Friday Storylines

- NC State has a 45-2 (.957) record against non-conference opponents in regular season home games under head coach Kevin Keatts.

- Mohamed Diarra opened the season with a double-double (10 points/14 rebounds) in the win over The Citadel and followed it up last Friday with 9 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Abilene Christian. Diarra enters the game Friday night against Charleston Southern, second in the ACC in rebounding at 12.5 rebounds per game. If Diarra has double-digit rebounds against the Buccaneers he’ll be the first NC State player since Torin Dorn (11/29/17 to 12/9/17) to record three straight double-digit rebounding games.

- Through two games, the Pack has two players ranked in the top four in the ACC in Assist/Turnover Ratio. With 10 assists against just one turnover, Michael O’Connell ranks second in the ACC. The other Pack player ranked highly in the ACC? DJ Burns, who is fourth currently with a 6.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.

- NC State held its first two opponents to below 40% shooting. Only one time last season did the Pack hold back-to-back opponents under 40% shooting. Through 10 days of action, NC State ranks second in the ACC in scoring defense (61.5) and third in the conference in field goal percentage defense (37.3%)

NC State Series With Charleston Southern

- Friday’s game will be the 10th meeting all-time between the two programs. NC State has won the previous nine games in the series.

- This is the third time the Pack has faced the Buccaneers since Kevin Keatts became head coach.

- In the most recent meeting, NC State defeated CSU, 95-61, to open the 2020-21 season. The Pack forced Charleston Southern into 32 turnovers, the second-most by an opponent in the Kevin Keatts era. The Pack’s 19 steals in the game were the most in the Keatts era and just one shy of the school record.

Replace The Leading Scorer? Nothing New For Keatts

- NC State lost its leading scorer from the previous season as Terquavion Smith and his team-
best 17.9 points per game is now in the NBA. The loss of the previous season’s leading scorer is nothing new for Keatts though, since he became head coach of the Pack in the spring of 2017
he has to replace the team’s leading scorer each season.

Burns Efficiency Is Elite

- DJ Burns, Jr., led NC State and ranked fourth in the ACC last season in field goal percentage, making 56.1 percent of his field goal attempts.

- Through two games this season, Burns has upped his mark, shooting 70% (14-of-20) from the field.

- During the game vs. Abilene Christian on Nov. 10, Burns made his 200th field goal in an NC State uniform qualifying him for NC State’s career field goal percentage list. He currently ranks third with a field goal percentage of 56.9%.

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