NC State opens season with 72-59 win against The Citadel

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Tuesday, November 7, 2023
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Like last year, developing chemistry will be a challenge with so many new faces on NC State's basketball roster, but the Wolfpack showed more than enough to handle The Citadel on Monday night in the season opener for both teams.

Relying on a mix of the familiar -- DJ Burns and Casey Morsell -- and the new -- Mohamed Diarra and Michael O'Connell among them, State beat the Bulldogs 72-59.

Burns had 16 points and Diarra added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

O'Connell, a transfer from Stanford, added 14 for the Wolfpack. Jayden Taylor, a transfer from Butler, chipped in with 9 points.

N.C. State, which never trailed, shot 44% from the field (29 for 66), including 36% from 3 (10 for 28).

The Wolfpack led by as much as 18 points.

AJ Smith led The Citadel with 15 points, nine of which came via free throws. Smith was the only Bulldogs player to finish in double-figure scoring.

The Citadel was limited to 24% shooting from 3 (4 for 17) and finished with 40% shooting from the field overall (21 for 52).

N.C. State has eight newcomers in its 114th season and five returnees, led by Burns.

The Wolfpack put the game away in the first 10 minutes of the second half. N.C. State, which had a 36-27 advantage at halftime, opened the second half by outscoring The Citadel 23-14 to extend its lead to 59-41.

The Pack returns to action Friday night, hosting Abilene Christian at PNC Arena.

The Associated Press contributed.