Georgia Tech at No. 20 N.C. State 8 p.m., WRAL

Stung last season, Wolfpack warily prepares for Yellow Jackets

Last season’s upset still burns players

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJanuary 9, 2013 

N.C. State avoided most of the pitfalls on the ACC schedule last season with a notable exception.

Georgia Tech beat N.C. State 82-71 in Raleigh last January. It was one of only four ACC wins for Georgia Tech last season and it also was the Yellow Jackets’ highest-scoring game in an otherwise offensively-challenged campaign.

N.C. State got a win back from Georgia Tech last season in Atlanta but the lessons from that early hiccup remained intact. The Wolfpack will try to avoid a repeat against the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday night in Raleigh.

“I remember that game, we started too slow and they were into it early,” senior forward Richard Howell said. “We can’t let that happen again.”

No. 20 N.C. State (12-2, 1-0 ACC) got into a similar game at Boston College on Saturday, but the Wolfpack found a way to win 78-73.

Like Boston College, the Jackets will want to play at a slower pace, but the Jackets will be more physical.

“They’re a tough team and they’re physical,” guard Lorenzo Brown said. “That’s how all their games are. We have to play our game and push the ball more.”

For the most part, N.C. State beat the ACC teams it was supposed to last season, going 9-2 against the teams that ended up with an inferior regular-season record.

The Wolfpack took care of business on Saturday at Boston College, a game it was supposed to win, but it took 40 minutes to put the Eagles away.

“That’s what good teams do,” said Brown, who had 14 points and eight assists against BC. “You find a way to come back when you’re not having your best game.”

Georgia Tech (10-3, 0-1), which scored only 49 points in a loss to Miami in its ACC opener, had a virtual scoring bonanza in Raleigh last year. The Jackets averaged 60.2 points per game last season, 313th out 338 Division I teams, but shot 51 percent and outrebounded N.C. State 34 to 23.

Georgia Tech had more games finish in the 30s (three) than in the 80s (one) after the fluky win in Raleigh. Freshmen Robert Carter and Marcus Georges-Hunt have given Brian Gregory’s program much-needed talent after a turbulent 2011-12 season.

Georges-Hunt leads the team in scoring with 11.2 per game, and Carter leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game.

Still, points have been difficult to come by for Tech, which averages 65.2 per game, ranking next-to-last in the ACC. Regardless, with what happened last January in Raleigh, the Wolfpack is are wary of the Jackets.

“We know what can happen if we don’t come out ready to play,” Howell said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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