College Basketball Roundup: Johnson’s triple-double leads NC State over The Citadel

Markell Johnson had his first career triple-double in NC State’s win Sunday over The Citadel. (Ethan Hyman / The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH — Markell Johnson had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to help NC State beat The Citadel 83-63 on Sunday night.

Johnson grabbed a rebound with 1:57 remaining to complete his first career triple-double for the Wolfpack (9-3), who never trailed.

Devon Daniels scored 18 points and DJ Funderburk scored 14 for NC State. C.J. Bryce and Jericole Hellems added 13 points apiece.

NC State scored the game’s first seven points and quickly followed with a 13-0 run to take a 22-5 lead midway through the first half.

The Wolfpack led by as many as 23 points in the second half and outscored the Bulldogs 42-18 in the paint.

Kaiden Rice scored 19 points to lead The Citadel (6-6), whose three-game winning streak ended.

Kaelon Harris added 13 points and Alex Reed had 10 points for the Bulldogs. They cut NC State’s lead to 72-60 with 4:30 to play, but got no closer.

NC State guard Braxton Beverly exited the game with 12:16 remaining in the first half and did not return after getting hit hard from behind as he pursued a rebound.

Big Picture

The Citadel: The Bulldogs entered the contest having scored more than 100 points in each of their last three games, but their opponents in those games included only one NCAA Division I opponent (Longwood). The Citadel struggled with NC State’s size, strength and speed, falling behind 40-22 at halftime.

NC State: The Wolfpack’s depth and balance were on display, with five players scoring in double figures. NC State’s performance was lackluster after the fast start, with Beverly’s absence affecting the team’s rotation. But the Wolfpack did what they needed to do against an over-matched opponent, racing to a big lead and extinguishing any hope of an upset.

Up Next

The Citadel: The Bulldogs stay on the road for the third consecutive game, jumping back into Southern Conference play at Samford on Jan. 1.

NC State: The Wolfpack get a week off before they host Appalachian State on Dec. 29 in their final nonconference game of the regular season.

East Carolina holds off Charlotte behind Gardner

GREENVILLE — Jayden Gardner scored 23 points and Tremont Robinson-White scored 18 and East Carolina beat Charlotte 60-56 on Sunday.

Drew Edwards’ layup gave Charlotte a 56-55 lead with 91 seconds remaining. Gardner then sank four foul shots in a 20-second span and Robinson-White made 1 of 2 to seal the win.

Gardner and Robinson-White made 12 of the Pirates’ 19 field goals and were a combined 16 of 27 from the foul line.

Edwards led the 49ers with 12 points.

East Carolina (5-7) hosts Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 28 then starts American Athletic Conference play at Wichita State on New Year’s Day.

Charlotte starts Conference USA action on Jan. 2 when it hosts UAB.

Davidson edges Loyola Chicago for third straight win

CHICAGO — Luka Brajkovic made his only two foul shots with eight seconds left and Davidson beat Loyola Chicago 59-56 on Sunday.

Freshman Hyunjung Lee scored a career-high 19 points off the bench shooting 7 of 8 including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Kellan Grady added 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting for Davidson (6-5).

Jon Axel Gudmundsson broke a 54-all tie with a 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining. Tate Hall reduced the deficit to a point with a jump shot with 1:44 left and neither team scored until Brajkovic’s free throws. Hall missed a 3 attempt to end the game.

Marquise Kennedy scored 16 points off the bench for the Ramblers (8-5). Keith Clemons and Hall each scored 11.

Davidson now has won three straight. The Wildcats travel to Vanderbilt on Dec. 30 before starting Atlantic 10 play on Jan. 5 with road trip to Duquesne.

The Ramblers begin Missouri Valley Conference action on Dec. 30 at Valparaiso.