Cat Barber had his breakout game against Georgia Tech last season. N.C. State is hoping Barber will be healthy enough to play against the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday.
Barber was hobbled with a leg injury in the second half of Saturday’s loss to Duke. The junior point guard, who leads the ACC in scoring, did not practice on Monday and was limited on Tuesday.
Barber actually only missed 28 seconds of game time in the Duke loss but his left leg has been sore. Barber banged knees with Duke center Marshall Plumlee when the N.C. State guard was on defense early in the second half.
Barber had 19 points before he came up limping at the 14:12 mark and didn’t score after the collision. N.C. State had a four-point lead before Barber was hobbled and ended up losing 88-78.
N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said on Monday that he was taking a “wait-and-see” approach with Barber’s status.
Barber started to emerge as one of the best players in the ACC during last year’s 81-80 overtime win at Georgia Tech on Jan. 31. Barber scored 23 points and made four 3-pointers in that Wolfpack win after not cracking the double-digit mark in the seven games before the trip to Atlanta.
Barber averaged 15.3 points over the final 14 games of his sophomore season. He has been even better this season as a junior, leading the ACC with 22.1 points per game.
Barber has rarely left the court this season, averaging 38.5 minutes per game. He logged 39 in the loss the Duke.
Gottfried has been able to give Barber more of a break recently with Cody Martin playing some more at the point guard. Martin would start against the Yellow Jackets at the point, in the unlikely event Barber can’t play.
N.C. State (11-9, 1-6 ACC) and Georgia Tech (11-8, 1-5) enter Wednesday’s only scheduled meeting of the season in similar spots.
The Yellow Jackets have improved in coach Brian Gregory’s fifth season but have played one of the toughest ACC schedules and all five of their conference losses have been by single digits.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio