Preview: Missouri at North Carolina State
Send a link to a friend
[December 27, 2013]
(SportsDirect Inc.) — After suffering a gut-wrenching loss in
its last time out, No. 25 Missouri eyes a strong finish to 2013 on
Saturday when it plays its first true road contest of the season against
North Carolina State. The Tigers fell from the ranks of the unbeaten
after losing to Illinois 65-64 in St. Louis on Saturday when the Illini
hit a pair of late free throws with less than five seconds remaining.
Thanks to their strong effort, their ranking remained unchanged in the
USA Today Coaches' Poll.
While Missouri was no stranger to its last foe, it hasn't faced
the Wolfpack in 18 years. After a rocky 2-2 start that included a
home loss to North Carolina Central, North Carolina State has won
seven straight after securing a 90-79 home victory over East
Carolina last Saturday. This contest will feature two of the
country's top 40 scorers in Wolfpack forward T.J. Warren (ACC-best
23.1 points per game) and Tigers guard Jordan Clarkson (SEC-leading
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT MISSOURI (10-1): The Tigers were held to a season-low point
total for the second straight contest despite a terrific all-around
effort from Clarkson, who finished with 25 points, six rebounds and
a career-high eight assists. Clarkson joined Clarence Gilbert (2001)
as the only Missouri players since at least 1996 to have 30 or more
points, five or more assists and zero turnovers in a game. Clarkson
and Jabari Brown (18.8) are one of four sets of teammates to average
more than 18 points in high-major college basketball this season.
[to top of second column]
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (9-2): Warren poured in a
career-high 32 against East Carolina — the third time he has
topped the 30-point mark this season. Each of Warren's huge
scoring efforts have come since center Jordan Vandenberg
returned to the lineup seven games ago, allowing the ACC's top
scorer to play his natural small forward position more often.
"With Jordan and (freshman forward BeeJay Anya) coming along, it
allows T.J. to play on the wing. He is more comfortable there
and we are a better team with that lineup," coach Mark Gottfried
said after the game.
Missouri is seeking its first nonconference road victory
since a 75-68 win at Old Dominion on Dec. 30, 2011.
North Carolina State is 14-2 when Warren leads the team in
scoring, including 9-1 this season.
The Tigers have faced five players that rank among the top 65
scorers in Division I, but only one has hit his season average
PREDICTION: North Carolina State 78, Missouri 76
[© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2013 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.