GAME NOTES: Both the Boston College Eagles and the NC State Wolfpack attempt to bounce back from recent losses when the two squads meet in an Atlantic Coast Conference clash at PNC Arena on Wednesday night.
Since winning five games in a row to close out the month of December, Boston College has struggled to find consistency, losing 10 of 14 matchups ACC matchups. The Eagles most recently had the unenviable task of facing Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday afternoon and they were saddled with an 89-68 loss to drop to 12-15 overall.
NC State came into the season as one of the favorites to capture the ACC title, but after spending much of the season ranked in the Top-25, it fell from grace following a three-game losing streak from Jan. 29 to Feb. 7. The Wolfpack bounced back from that slide nicely with three straight wins, but that run was halted last Saturday as they lost at rival North Carolina, 76-65, to fall to 19-8 overall and to fifth place in the ACC with a mark of 8-6.
BC has the edge over NC State in the all-time series, 8-6, but the Wolfpack won all three meetings during the 2011-12 season, including 78-57 in the first round of the 2012 ACC Tournament.
Boston College found trailing 51-27 at the half against Duke on Sunday and it simply couldn't recover on its way to a 21-point setback. The Eagles actually pieced together a strong shooting game (.490), but unfortunately they had no answer at the other end as they allowed the Blue Devils to connect on 53.8 percent of their total shots. Ryan Anderson had a strong outing both from the floor (8-of-13) and the foul line (7-of-10) on his way to 23 points, while Patrick Heckmann and Olivier Hanlan contributed 15 and 12 points, respectively.
The Eagles' poor record this season is reflected in their statistics, as they rank in the lower-half of the league in both scoring offense (67.2 ppg) and scoring defense (68.4 ppg), while also ranking last in field goal percentage defense (.450) and 3-point percentage defense (.383). Despite the team's struggles, Anderson has been consistently one of the conference's best forwards, shooting 48.4 percent from the field for 15.4 ppg to go with 8.2 rpg. Hanlan is a strong second option with 14.4 ppg, while Joe Rahon (9.9 ppg, 3.6 apg) and Lonnie Jackson (9.6 ppg) have also been effective.
NC State battled for much of its last game, and it even held a one-point lead with less than eight minutes to play, but it fell victim to a 16-2 UNC run as it eventually fell by double-digits. Richard Powell notched his 16th double- double of the season with 13 points and 17 rebounds, while Lorenzo Brown scored 12 points and dished out 12 assists. Scott Wood led the way with 19 points, while T.J. Warren made it three NCSU players with double-doubles, registering 10 points and 10 boards.
The Wolfpack have grown accustomed to a balanced scoring attack, as five players average at least 12 ppg. Doing the dirty work down low are C.J. Leslie (15.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Howell (13.0 ppg, 11.1 ppg), who both shoot greater than 54 percent from the field and are hovering right around one block and one steal per game. Brown (12.7 ppg) is an outstanding floor general with the most assists in the ACC (7.0 apg), while Wood (12.2 ppg) is one of the nation's best sharp-shooters, making 77 3-pointers at a 44 percent clip. Warren (12.1 ppg) rounds out the outstanding offense for NC State, which leads the league in points per game (78.9 ppg), but is also vulnerable at the other end of the court (71.3 ppg).
Simply put, NC State is the superior team in this matchup, and having already won 14 of 15 at home this season, it shouldn't have much of an issue dismissing the inconsistent Eagles.
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