Gameday Live Blog/Open Thread: State vs. Wisconsin

Brett Friedlander

There are plenty of storylines to go around for tonight's ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup between NC State and Wisconsin.

For starters, there's the Russell Wilson debate. The star quarterback played for both schools during his college career (although he spent much more time and received a degree from State), so theoretically the winner of tonight's game can lay claim to him.

There's also conference pride on the line. Coming into the night, the ACC and Big Ten were deadlocked at four wins apiece, so the outcome here at PNC Arena could go a long way toward deciding the competition for this year.

Another thing to watch is how many times Badgers guard Brad Davison throws himself to the floor in hopes of drawing offensive fouls on the Wolfpack. He's college basketball's crown prince of flopping and he succeeded in drawing five charges against State in last year's game in Madison -- including one with 17 seconds left that helped decide the game. There's a new anti-flopping rule in effect this season, so it will be interesting to see how that affects Davison's game.

 Finally, there's the game itself. State missed an opportunity to put a big-time win on its record against Memphis in Brooklyn last Thursday and its running out of opportunities to pad its resume with nonconference wins that will impress the NCAA tournament selection committee come March.

It should be a good one, so be sure to follow along for frequent updates and analysis as the game goes on ...

PREGAME

The students at courtside have gotten here early and are already taking the opportunity to heckle Davison everytime he touches the ball or shoots during pregame warmups. He's a good player, ranking second on the Badgers in scoring at 12.1 points per game. But there are aspects of his game that make him easy to dislike if he's not on your team. If he played for Duke, he'd probably be college basketball's Public Enemy No. 1. ...

Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts is changing up his starting lineup for tonight's game. Leading scorer C.J. Bryce, who had a tough game against Memphis on Thursday, will come off the bench and will be replaced in the lineup by Devon Daniels. The other four starters are the same ... Markell Johnson, Braxton Beverly, Jericole Hellems and Manny Bates.

Also of note are the officials ... an ACC crew of Jamie Luckie, Roger Ayers and Ron Groover. Everyone knows how Mr. Luckie likes the spotlight, so it will be interesting to see what happens the first time Davison hits the floor ...

FIRST HALF

It toom Davison less than two minutes to hit the floor for the first time. There was definitely contact and Hellems was called for a foul, but the kid also embellished it. ....

Bates blocks Wisconsin big man Nate Reuvers' first shot. That is big if Bates can hold his own against the Badgers' top scorer. ...

Beverly draws a charge from Wisconsin's Aleem Ford. Maybe tonight is the Wolfpack's night to get the calls ...

Bryce into the game quickly in place of Daniels and he immediately takes it to the hole and scores ... 

First TV timeout: State 4, Wisconsin 2

The teams are a combined 3 for 16 from the floor thus far.

Bates is off to a fantastic start on the defensive end … really battling Reuvers. He also had three blocks already (although only two have been credited). ...

Bates battling for rebound vs Wisky
Manny Bates battles for a rebound with Wisconsin's Kobe King

Wolfpack starting to heat up ... Hellems with a 3 off a nice low post redirect from Bates, then Daniels gets a breakout diunk to make it 15-9 State and get the crowd going. ... Wisky wants timeout with 10:21 left in the half...

Hellems is coming off a career-high 17 points against Memphis and he's building on it tonight. He's already got nine points and has hit a pair of 3s from the top of the circle. 

Under 8 TV timeout ... State 19, Wisconsin 17

Markell Johnson still isn't right. He just fired up an air ball from 3 and is 1 of 4 tonight with two turnovers ...

Under 4 TV timeout ... Wisconsin 26, State 25

Gotta love basketball … Markell Johnson can't throw it into the ocean from the beach tonight …. He's got an airball and a brick on his first two 3-point attempts. So what does he do. Sends one in off the glass from halfcourt at the buzzer, sending State into halftime with a lead.

After 20 minutes it's Wolfpack 32, Badgers 30

State-wisky half

SECOND HALF

Hellems picks up where he left off in the first half by hitting back to back shots, including a 3 … he's got 16 points, just one off his career high set last Thursday. And there's the new career high .... he hits another three and he's got 19 .... State leads 42-36  ...

Under 16 TV timeout ... State 42, Wisconsin 39

State is finally able to force some tempo and speed this thing up. Three straight baskets have extended the Wolfpack's lead to 48-39 with 13:37 left and Wisconsin coach Greg Gard wants timeout ...

A pair of Funderburk free throws extends State's lead into double figures for the first time, 50-39 with 12 minutes left ...

SECOND half Andree hits a 3 and it's 53-41 ...

Pat Andree vs Wisky
Pat Andree battles Wisconsin's Tyler Wahl for a loose ball

Under 12 TV timeout ... State 55, Wisconsin 44

Official Roger Ayers is in some serious distress after taking a fall into the row of photographers with D.J. Funderburk on top of him ...

He's up now, but in a lot of pain. Looks like it's his back. He's walking VERY gingerly ...

EMS with a stretcher is on the scene, but Ayers waves them off and looks like he's going to continue. He's one of the ACC's best and a genuinely nice guy. Apparently, he's pretty tough too. ... BTW, my good friend, photographer Gene Galin is okay too … he was also in the pileup. ...

Tyler Wahl taunts the crowd by missing the first free throw, but makes the second to deny them chicken in the Chick-fil-A Fowl Shot promotion ...

CJ Bryce looking like CJ Bryce again tonight after an off game against Memphis on Thursday. He's back in double figures with 11. State up by 12 with 6 1/2 to go ...

Wisconsin's Kobe King becomes the first visiting player this season to miss both free throws in the final six minutes of a game, winning free Chick-fil-A sandwiches for everyone in attendance ...

Meanwhile, the Wolfpack is still maintaining its double-digit lead. 64-53 with 4:41 left ...

Hellems now up to 23 points ...

Johnson with a 3 that might just be a dagger ... State up by 16 with 2:22 left ...

Fans are taunting Davison now as he leaves the court with just under a minute left. I have to say he's been on his best behavior tonight. Just that first semi-flop in the opening two minutes, but nothing even close since. He's also not had a good game -- just 1 for 5 from the floor (1 for 4 on 3-pointers) with three rebounds. Not sure if all the talk about flopping and last year's game got in his head, but he's a better player than he showed tonight ...

It can not be understated how big a win this is for State .... 

Final: Wolfpack 69, Badgers 54

Final State-wisky box
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