RALEIGH — Even though Rodney Purvis wasnt on the team last year, he knew what happened at Stanford.
We actually lost to them last year, Purvis said Saturday after beating Norfolk State.
The way N.C. State lost was particularly painful, as Stanford closed the game on a 17-1 run and won 76-72.
Tuesday, in PNC Arena at 9 p.m., the No. 25 Wolfpack (7-2) will again take on the Cardinal (7-3). Coach Mark Gottfried said he reminded his team about what happened last season.
We went out there and played well for about 30 minutes and didnt finish the game very well, Gottfried said. We put them on the line a lot in the second half. I think they made 19 foul shots in the second half. We just didnt finish the game very well.
One Wolfpack player, C.J. Leslie, couldnt finish the game at all. Leslie missed the final 10 minutes of the contest with leg cramps. When Leslie played, the Cardinal struggled to find an answer for him. Leslie scored 14 points and recorded three blocks. Once he left the floor Stanford dominated inside and converted 19-of-21 second-half free throws.
It was very frustrating, Leslie said. We definitely had that game, we were very comfortable, but there was a letdown.
Stanford is well equipped to challenge the Wolfpack inside again this year, especially on the offensive glass. The Cardinal averages 13.2 offensive rebounds per game, second in the Pac-12, with 6-foot-10 Dwight Powell and 6-7 Josh Huestis leading the way.
Last year, I thought they did a really good job on the backboards, Gottfried said. They took advantage of us along the rim. They got a lot of second shots. Thats something we cant allow to happen this year.
N.C. State senior Richard Howell has recorded four double-doubles in the Wolfpacks last five games, including a career-high 19 rebounds against Norfolk State. He is one of four Wolfpack returning starters, but despite largely the same lineup, Gottfried, is quick to point out the differences between the two squads.
The difference is the other players, Gottfried said, referring to the freshmen trio of Purvis, T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis.
Last year we had older players, and they were good role players, and this year weve got talented young guys, and were still trying to put all that together. I do think in the last two or three games, weve played a lot better basketball.
We just want to make sure that we keep taking steps forward. Weve got to get ourselves better.
Keeley: 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley