Skip to main content

It's Game 3 of the 2019-20 basketball season and for the first time, State is going to have its entire roster in uniform and available to play. Junior big man D.J. Funderburk, suspended since the preseason because of a parking issue, has been reinstated for tonight's game against Florida International.

The Wolfpack is coming off its first win of the new campaign, Sunday afternoon against Detroit Mercy. Tonight's game figures to be more of a test against a Golden Panthers team that led Mississippi State for the first 12 minutes and actually outscored the Bulldogs in the second half in a competitive 77-66 loss in Starkville.

State is favored by 13 1/2 points. But FIU is an opponent coach Kevin Keatts' team can't afford to take lightly. The Panthers are doing their part to help get the Wolfpack fired up by wearing uniforms that are a color that looks a lot like Carolina blue ...

FIRST HALF

Usual starters for the Wolfpack ... Johnson, Beverly, Bryce, Hellems and Bates. Will be interesting to see how long before Keatts give Funderburk some run ...

FIU comes out giving State a taste of its own medicine by pressing fullcourt. And the Wolfpack isn't handling it well early ...

That's two quick fouls on FIU's Antonio Daye Jr. ...

Markell Johnson's shooting woes continue. He missed his first 3-point attempt and is now 1 of 9 overall 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. ...

Meanwhile, it's 9-2 Panthers. 

Here comes Funderburk at the 16:27 mark for Bates. Crowd (such that it is) gives him a nice hand ...

State is 2 for its first 8 (0 for from 3) with two turnovers at the first TV timeout, trails 11-4 with 15:32 left in the half ...

Funderburk's first basket comes at the 15:13 mark on a tip-in of an off-balance miss late in the shot clock … FIU leads 11-6

Apparently, Jericole Hellems is now going by just Cole Hellems ...

Under 12 TV timeout ... FIU 17, State 10

FIU lead had ballooned to 10 at 20-10 before back-to-back treys from Andree. That's exactly why they brought him here.  ...

Andree adds two more treys to get the Wolfpack even, then Bates sinks a pretty little baby hook in the lane to give State its first lead of the night at 26-24 with 7:58 left in the half. And that takes us to the under 8 TV timeout ...

FIU has cooled off from its hot shooting start. It has gone more than four minutes without a field goal ... Wolfpack has outscored the Panthers 22-6 over the last eight minutes ...

Under four TV timeout: State 32, FIU 26

Amazing the difference one guy can make. State is already a better rebounding team with Funderburk in there ... State winning the battle of the glass 17-12 and as only allowed two offensive rebounds this far  ...

Tied at 37 after 20 minutes. That's the bad news. The good news is that the Wolfpack outscored the Panthers by 10 over the final 11:44.

FIU half box

SECOND HALF

Hellems' first two shots of the half are blocked at the rim and FIU scores the first five points of the period .... Wolfpack right back in the soup ... That is until C.J. Bryce answers with five points of his own to tie things back up ...

Bates on a dunk off a Hellems drive and the kid gives FIU's Osasumwen Osaghae a little scowl when he's done. Good to see him developing a little bit of a mean streak. 

Under 16 TV timeout: FIU 46, State 44

Assistant coach James Johnson got all over Bates coming off the floor for the TV timeout about trying to tip in that last miss instead of dunking it. It was a stern talking-to, but after he was over, Johnson slapped hands with Bates and patted him on the back.  Bates took it well ...

Keatts is about to blow a gasket over that call by Les Jones on a blocked shots by Bates. He then has a second reaction when the replay is shown on the Jumbotron. Looked clean ...

With Funderburk back, Danny Dixon has yet to get in the game ...

Slowly (and I mean VERY slowly), State is starting to establish control in this game. And yet, it's still only 59-55 Wolfpack at the under-12 TV timeout ...

Andree must have used all his 3-pointers up in the first half … He's missed all three here in the second after going 4 for 4 earlier ...

After missing two free throws, Beverly picks an awful time to try a highlight reel behind-the-back pass in transition. The turnover keeps the score 63-58. Wolfpack missing opportunities to finally get some separation ...

Funderburk with his second steal in three possessions. This time he's clobbered from behind on the way in for a fastbreak dunk. Refs call an flagrant foul. He makes one free throw, then the Wolfpack retains possession. Still only up 6 ...

Markell Johnson is now 2 for 18 from the floor this season … but he just fed Daniels on the break for two to increase the Wolfpack's lead to 66-58. Biggest of the night with 7:27 left ...

Markell Johnson is now 2 for 18 from the floor this season … but he just fed Daniels on the break for two to increase the Wolfpack's lead to 66-58. Biggest of the night with 7:27 left ...

And now Johnson makes a 3 … maybe this will get him going. State up 75-65 with 4:34 left. ...

Manny Bates has played by far his fewest minutes in the three games (18). And yet, he's got season/career highs in both points (10) and rebounds (6) ...

By far Funderburk's biggest basket of the night … 12 footer from the right baseline off a Beverly feed at the shot clock buzzer makes it 80-72. Funderburk now has 11 points ...

Johnson makes one of two free throws with 42.2 seconds left to extend the lead back to seven. Then the Wolfpack forces a turnover  ... looks like State is going to survive this ...

It wasn't pretty, but #NCState will take it. Wolfpack beats #FIU 86-77 to improve to 2-1 on the season. St. Francis at Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday is next ...

fiu FINAL BOX