Different types of losses have defined the week for North Carolina State and host Syracuse.
Which team is able to demonstrate better recovery skills is bound to have an edge when they meet Sunday night in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
NC State will be playing its first full game since losing leading scorer Devon Daniels to a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
“I quickly appreciated the tenacity and relentlessness he brought into the gym every day,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said, recalling when the guard joined the program after transferring from Utah. “Devon built himself into one of the premier players in the ACC with that tireless work ethic.”
NC State (7-5, 3-4 ACC) managed to hang on to defeat visiting Wake Forest after Daniels departed in the second half of Wednesday night’s game. Daniels rates eighth in the ACC with 16.5 points per game. He was third on the Wolfpack in rebounding with 5.1 per outing.
Syracuse (9-5, 3-4) had a different kind of setback, losing 81-58 at ACC-leading Virginia in Monday night’s game. Orange coach Jim Boeheim said there’s no easy solution to the team’s inconsistent play.
“We’re playing the guys that are playing the best in practice,” Boeheim said.
The Orange are 2-2 across the last four games, with all of those results by margins of 18 points or more.
Syracuse rates 12th in the ACC with 31.4 percent on 3-point shooting. Boeheim said players are getting good looks from the perimeter, including his son Buddy Boeheim, who has struggled with his shooting touch.
“We have to make those shots,” Jim Boeheim said. “… We need him to make another one (3-pointer) a game. That would be helpful.”
Forward Quincy Guerrier tops Syracuse in scoring with 16.8 points per game for the sixth-best mark in the ACC.
The Wolfpack, who endured a coronavirus-related pause a couple of weeks ago, hadn’t won in January until the Wake Forest game. Now, the team will have to make another adjustment minus a key player.
“We haven’t been in great shape because of what we’ve been through,” Keatts said.
It figures that freshmen Cam Hayes and Shakeel Moore will have heightened roles with Daniels out.
Despite a lineup change coming, this is a chance for the Wolfpack to finally develop some continuity.
“It has been a long couple of weeks for us when you think about what we’ve had to go through as far as COVID, and then not having (center) Manny Bates, and (guard) Braxton Beverly not being able to practice,” Keatts said. “It’s taken a toll on us.”
–Field Level Media