ATLANTA — N.C. State needed to beat Boston College to get another shot to boost its NCAA tournament chances, and Scott Wood made sure the Wolfpack took care of business Thursday.
Wood's 22 points led the Wolfpack to a 78-57 win over the last-place Eagles to set up a much-needed matchup with fourth-seeded Virginia today in the quarterfinals.
The third win of the season against Boston College, No. 242 in the RPI, did nothing for N.C. State's NCAA hopes. A win over Virginia, No. 42, would help the Wolfpack, which has an 0-8 record against top 50 teams.
"For us, the answer is to continue to win," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said in response to a question about his team's tournament chances.
"I don't know if that's one game, two games or three games. I know if we win this tournament we get to go."
Thursday's win wasn't always pretty for N.C. State (21-11) but it didn't have to be. Wood made five 3-pointers and responded to every Boston College push in the second half with a dagger.
The Wolfpack improved to 9-0 when Wood makes at least four 3-pointers.
"I don't think any team can beat us when he's hitting his shots," said guard Lorenzo Brown, who added 12 points, eight assists and five steals.
After falling behind by 17 points in the first half, the Eagles (9-22) pulled within six in the second half but Wood answered with a 3 at 14 minutes, 11 seconds to push the lead to 46-37.
The Eagles scrapped back to 48-41 and had a chance to make it a five-point game, but Dennis Clifford's putback swirled around the rim and out. Again, Wood came back with a 3.
Wood is firmly out of the four-game shooting slump that coincided with losses to Duke, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson.
He has made 17 of his past 34 shots in the past three games, all wins, compared to a 4-of-28 funk in the previous four loss.
His shooting problems actually started in Atlanta a month ago when he missed three free throws in the second half of a 61-52 win against Georgia Tech. Wood had made his first 56 free throws of the season.
"Any time you miss free throws, it gets in your head," he said. "I think a lot of it was mental and lot of it was just not making shots."
Wood said he worked on his mechanics in practice sessions during the shooting slump but his confidence is the biggest reason for the late turnaround. When he makes his early shots - and he made his first three and had eight points before Boston College scored - he usually shoots well.
"Once you see those go in, you feel like you can make anything," Wood said.
Boston College couldn't buy a basket to start the game, going until the 13:27 mark before scoring after six missed shots and five turnovers on its first 11 possessions.
N.C. State led 14-0 and 23-6 lead before Ryan Anderson (22 points) got the Eagles going.
The Wolfpack relaxed in the second half, which didn't make Gottfried happy, but it was able to close out the game with a flurry of dunks from forward C.J. Leslie and Brown.
"We got away from what we were doing in the first half," said Leslie, who finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. "We let it slip a little bit in the second half but we got it back."