N.C. State’s Williams plays through pain, breaks out of slump

ldecock@newsobserver.comMarch 19, 2012 

— C.J. Williams was supposed to be hurt, less than 100 percent according to his coach, after rolling his left ankle in N.C. State’s game Friday. If there was anything wrong with the Wolfpack’s senior guard, there was no way to tell Sunday.

Williams broke out of a monthlong slump with 14 points, including a key tip-in in the first half and two 3-pointers, as 11th-seeded N.C. State advanced to the Midwest Regional semifinal with a 66-63 win over third-seeded Georgetown.

“When somebody’s not having a good game, I think we have enough weapons for other people to step up,” N.C. State forward Richard Howell said. “I feel like today was C.J. Williams’ game. He made huge shots, and he had some huge rebounds.”

Wasn’t he supposed to be hurt?

“If he is, I hope he’s hurt next week, too,” Howell said. “So he can do the same thing.”

Williams had been held to single digits in eight of the previous nine games, but with his career on the line, he was one of three Wolfpack players to share the team-high with 14 points.

BONUS BUCKS: By getting the Wolfpack into the NCAA tournament, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried secured a two-year extension to his contract. For making the round of 16, he’ll receive a $62,500 bonus.

Gottfried’s contract also includes bonuses for reaching the round of Eight ($125,000), the Final Four ($187,500), the championship game ($312,500) and winning the national title ($437,500).

N.C. State has 24 wins in Gottfried’s first season, more than the Wolfpack had in any season under Les Robinson, Herb Sendek or Sidney Lowe.

CRAMPING UP: It had been a while since C.J. Leslie had dealt with the cramps that plagued him in the second halves of early season games, but the N.C. State sophomore forward had to take a breather during the second half Sunday when his calves started to tighten up. Leslie ate a banana on the bench before returning to the game.

“They were kind of cramping up today,” Leslie said. “I’m just lucky it happened toward the end of the game and I was able to stay in. It wasn’t so bad. I was able to fight through it, fought through it real hard, and I was able to stay in the game.”

WOOD AWRY: Scott Wood, who once made 66 free throws in a row, is now 5-of-9 in his past four games and missed a big one with 33 seconds to play Sunday and the Wolfpack up two.

“I was telling them I missed it for CBS’ ratings,” Wood said afterward.

BOUNCED AGAIN: This isn’t the first time Georgetown has had trouble closing out a team it was expected to beat. The Hoyas are 2-4 against double-digit seeds in the NCAA tournament since 2007, with Georgetown seeded no worse than sixth over that span.

DeCock: twitter.com/LukeDeCock or 919-829-8947

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