BAYAMON, Puerto Rico — The first set N.C. State ran Friday night against Massachusetts was designed to get Scott Wood a 3-pointer.
Wood came off the screen and was hedged by a taller, UMass defender. It was just about the only time the Minutemen had an answer for the Wolfpacks sharp shooter.
Wood made five 3-pointers in the Wolfpacks 94-76 win over UMass to advance to Sundays championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The Wolfpack will try to get Wood loose against Oklahoma State (3-0), which like UMass, will play an up-tempo game against the sixth-ranked Wolfpack.
Woods performance from the 3-point line has been a canary in the coal mine for the Wolfpack since the start of last season. When Wood makes at least four 3-pointers, State wins. It happened 10 times last season and it held form Friday with Wood making four 3s in the first half.
Wood doesnt like to talk about that particular stat but he understands his importance to N.C. States success.
Im sure it helps, Wood said of the 3-point success. The big thing for me is I just have to work harder to find my shot. When I settle and let guys defend me, thats when I get in trouble.
Wood was mostly stagnant against Penn State on Thursday, at least through the first 30 minutes of the game.
He didnt score in the first half against the Nittany Lions and had his first shot blocked.
Wood came on in the second half against Penn State, he hit two 3s and a two-pointer to finish with eight points. He also had five rebounds, all in the first half.
He got in the groove in the first half against the Minutemen. He made his first 3-point attempt, always a good sign for Wood, and then hit three more.
Scott was able to figure it out in the break and at the end of their press where to get open, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. He stepped up and made some good shots.
Unlike last season, Wood hasnt been the Wolfpacks only threat from 3-point range. Freshman Rodney Purvis has made all five of his 3-point attempts in two games in Puerto Rico and 8 of 10 for the season.
He has been lights out, Wood said. Its going to be hard for people to play us zone.