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NC State seeks better outcome against hot-shooting Saint Louis


North Carolina State is aiming for a bounce-back win when it hosts Saint Louis on Wednesday night in Raleigh, N.C.

The Wolfpack (7-3) are back in their home arena after falling to then-No. 12 Tennessee 79-70 on Saturday in San Antonio. NC State had an early six-point lead in that game before Tennessee, now No. 8, rallied for a win. DJ Horne had 16 points for the Wolfpack and DJ Burns Jr. added 15.

For Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts, there were plenty of positives to take away from losing to a ranked Volunteers team.

“I thought we did some really good things,” Keatts said. “They had fewer mistakes than we did, but I thought our guys fought to the end. It was a really good game. We can learn a lot from the game.

“I thought everybody contributed,” he continued. “It was one of those games that kind of felt like a middle-of-January, early-February ACC game, and it was a good thing. We’ve got to go build on it.”

Getting a win over Saint Louis (7-5) would be a good start toward building on that performance, but it won’t be easy. The Billikens are riding a two-game winning streak after beating visiting Louisiana Tech 75-74 on Saturday behind 23 points from Gibson Jimerson. He averages 16.8 points per game this season.

The win over Louisiana Tech marked the season debut of Bradley Ezewiro, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound junior transfer from Georgetown who lost 35 pounds in the offseason. He tallied 17 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.

“You saw the potential impact he can make,” Saint Louis coach Travis Ford told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “… We spent a lot of time in 24 hours (before playing Saturday) going over stuff with him. Once he gets in shape and playing with guys on a regular basis, you’ll see more of what he’s capable of doing.”

The Billikens are also a sharp 3-point shooting team, knocking down 39.2 percent of their looks from behind the arc this season, which ranks 16th in all of Division I. NC State is 289th in defending the deep shot this year, allowing opponents to shoot 35.3 percent from 3-point land.

This game will mark the third meeting between NC State and Saint Louis, which is 2-0 in the series. The Billikens beat the Wolfpack 80-69 on Dec. 17, 2020.

–Field Level Media

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