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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET12:00 PM GMT8:00 PM 北京时间5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST, Dec 19, 2018
PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina  Attendance: 17,793

North Carolina State braces for No. 7 Auburn

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina State mostly cruised through the early home games on its schedule and now No. 7 Auburn arrives for Wednesday night's non-conference showdown at PNC Arena.

The Wolfpack (9-1) dispatched opponents on one of the nation's weakest schedules to date to get off to a grand start to the season.

This matchup is bound to create a different kind of interest.

"I think they are all real tests," N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said. "When you look at us, as we have played our schedule, we've only got tougher. This will be our fourth Power 5 team, and I'm excited about it."

Auburn (9-1) needed overtime for a 75-71 victory Saturday against Alabama-Birmingham. Jared Harper provided 31 points, including 15-for-16 on free throws for the Tigers.

"I prepare for moments like that," Harper said of several clutch contributions. "To have the trust of my coaches and teammates means a lot."

But Auburn has shown that multiple players can produce big offensive outputs. In the previous game, Bryce Brown poured in 34 points against Dayton. Those were the most points for an Auburn player in 14 years.

Like N.C. State, much of the Auburn offense is generated at the defensive end.

"When we play defense, we want to create," Harper said. "We don't just want to lay back and let teams do what they want to do. ... Anytime we're able to make a play defensively to lead to easy baskets for us, we look to do that."

Auburn and N.C. State hold similarities because the teams use deep benches.

"They go 10 deep. They pressure. They shoot a lot of 3s," Keatts said.

The Tigers' only loss came to Duke in the Maui Invitational semifinals.

Auburn is the highest non-conference foe to visit N.C. State since December 2011, when Syracuse was No. 1 prior to joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Last season in Keatts' first year on the job, the Wolfpack went 3-1 against top-10 teams.

This season, N.C. State had dealt with some away-from-home challenges, leading most of the way before falling at Wisconsin and later winning neutral-court matchups against Vanderbilt and Penn State.

"When you look at it, our schedule was a little bit easier starting off, but everybody ends up playing three or four Power 5 teams (in non-league play)," Keatts said. "For us, we just played them a little bit later on."

For Auburn, this marks the first true road game of the season (and only such outing in non-league play), though the Tigers have played four neutral-court games. Two of those resulted in overtime victories by defeating Xavier and Alabama-Birmingham.

Coach Bruce Pearl called this part of the schedule "good and tough for us."

For N.C. State, this might be an ideal time to face this type of competition.

"Our chemistry has got a lot better," Keatts said. "I think guys are starting to figure it out, which is good for us. The guys who we need to score the basketball are scoring the basketball. The guys who we need to be role players are starting to understand that. So I like where we are headed into the Auburn game."

Updated December 18, 2018

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