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Cleveland State (6-2) at (25) NC State (5-2)



Saturday, December 8, 1 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Reynolds Coliseum (14,000) -- Raleigh, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com, CSN-BAL. Home Record: CSU 3-0, NC State 2-0. Away Record: CSU 0-2, NC State 0-1. Neutral Record: CSU 3-0, NC State 3-1. Conference Record: CSU 0-0, NC State 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The 25th-ranked NC State Wolfpack begin a season-long, six-game home stand on Saturday afternoon, as they entertain the Cleveland State Vikings in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.

Cleveland State has gotten off to a fast start this season, and its win last Saturday at home versus Toledo (78-73) moved it to 6-2 on the year. The bad news for the Vikings in this matchup is that they have yet to win a game on the road, dropping contests at Michigan (77-47) and Robert Morris (71-62).

NC State was able to rise as high as No. 6 in the national rankings after a 3-0 start, but following losses against Oklahoma State (76-56) and Michigan (79-72), it has tumbled all the way to No. 25. The Wolfpack got back on the winning track on Tuesday night by defeating UConn on a neutral floor, 69-65.

Cleveland State has been fairly average at the offensive end this season, connecting on 44.4 percent of its field goal attempts for just over 70 ppg, but it is coming off one of its best performances of the year in the win over Toledo. The Vikings shot 52.9 percent from the floor in the victory (including 12-of-24 from three-point range), paced by 22 points from Charlie Lee, who drained 4-of-6 from three-point range and added a team-high seven assists as well. Bryn Forbes netted 16 points off the bench, Tim Kamczyc had 15 points, and Sebastian Douglas finished with 10 points and five steals. The balanced effort was no accident by the Vikings, as six different players average at least 8.5 ppg on the season. Lee paces the squad in both scoring (15.8 ppg) and assists (5.8), and he also drains half of his three-point attempts (19- of-38). Anton Grady (13.7 ppg), Kamczyc (11.3 ppg), and Marlin Mason (8.5 ppg) each grab 5.0 rpg or more.

In a back-and-forth contest against UConn the last time out, NC State was able to pull away in the game's final five minutes to escape with a four-point victory. It shot 47.3 percent in the game, and it was lifted to victory by an impressive performance from C.J. Leslie, who tallied a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds while also adding four assists, a block, and a steal. Lorenzo Brown also scored 16 points and handed out five assists, while Scott Wood and Richard Howell (10 rebounds) put up 13 points apiece. NC State has been fantastic at the offensive end through seven games, shooting 51.8 percent from the floor (fourth in the nation) for 77.4 ppg. It is one of the few teams in the country that has all five starters averaging double digits in the scoring column. Howell (14.0 ppg) and Leslie (12.3 ppg) each grab at least eight boards per contest, while the former shoots an astounding 69 percent from the field. Brown (11.3 ppg) hands out 5.9 apg. T.J. Warren (13.4 ppg) and Wood (10.9 ppg) round out the potent lineup, with Rodney Purvis just missing the double-digit cut with 9.6 ppg on 55.6 percent accuracy from three-point range.

Cleveland State has a similar balanced scoring attack as the Wolfpack, which could cause some problems, but its scorers aren't nearly as potent as what NC State has to offer, and in Raleigh, it should have no problem starting its home stand off on the right foot.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 81, Cleveland State 67

12/08 10:35:24 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
7th
DUR 9
SWB 2
 
7th
SEA 2
TOR 4
 
6th
HOU 7
DET 7
 
7th
BAL 1
MIA 5
 
6th
CIN 0
CLE 2
 
7th
OAK 6
TAM 0
 
6th
ANA 1
BOS 3
 
6th
MIL 0
ATL 0
 
5th
NYM 1
PIT 1
 
5th
PHI 1
WAS 2
 
4th
MIN 3
CWS 0
 
4th
STL 2
KAN 0
 
4:10pm Today
CHC
ARI
4:10pm Today
SDP
LOS
4:10pm Today
SFG
COL
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
NYY
8:30pm Tonight
ATL
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
TAM
NYR
7th
DUR 9
SWB 2