GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Bulldogs will close out action at McCamish Pavilion for the season on Sunday night when they play host to the NC State Wolfpack in an Atlantic Coast Conference bout.
NC State (20-8) began the season as one of the favorites in the ACC, but with just three games remaining in the regular season it sits alone in fifth place at 9-6. After suffering a defeat at North Carolina on Feb. 23, the Wolfpack bounced back on Wednesday night with an 82-64 victory over Boston College for their fourth win in the past five games.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech has suffered a disappointing fate in the ACC (5-10) despite its solid overall showing (15-12). The Yellow Jackets snapped a two- game losing streak on Wednesday with a 78-68 win over Maryland to improve their home record to 11-5.
NC State holds a 53-37 lead over Georgia Tech in the all-time series. The Wolfpack have won three of the last four meetings, including 83-70 in Raleigh on Jan. 9.
The Wolfpack ran out to a 22-6 in less than 12 minutes into their latest game and they went on to cruise to the 18-point victory from there. They shot nearly 56 percent from the field and had five players score in double figures, led by Rodney Purvis, who shot 8-of-11 from the floor for 21 points off the bench. Scott Wood drained 5-of-10 from 3-point range for 17 points, Lorenzo Brown tallied 11 points and six assists, while T.J. Warren (13 points, eight rebounds), C.J. Leslie (10 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) and Richard Howell (10 rebounds, two blocks) were all strong in the trenches. NC State has grown accustomed to fantastic all-around efforts on offense, as all five starters average at least 12.1 ppg. Leslie (15.2 ppg) and Howell (12.8 ppg) both shoot greater than 53 percent from the field, while Howell's 11.0 rpg rank tops in the ACC and fourth nationally. Brown (12.6 ppg) leads the league in assists with seven per outing, and Wood (12.4 ppg) is one of the country's top perimeter threats, having connected on 82-of-185 from 3-point range (.443). Warren rounds out the dangerous starting five with 12.1 ppg, and Purvis (9.0 ppg) is strong in his reserve role. While NC State is the ACC's second-highest scoring team (78.3 ppg), it has avoided elite status due to its porous defense (71.0 ppg).
Georgia Tech carried a five-point lead into halftime its last time out against Maryland and never surrendered that advantage. Not only did it shoot a lofty 51 percent from the field, but it also took care of business at the foul line, outscoring the Terps at the stripe, 20-10. Robert Carter, Jr. was the catalyst in the victory with 19 points and 10 boards, while Daniel Miller tallied 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, shooting a perfect 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the process. Brandon Reed provided a spark from off the bench with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting (3-of-4 from 3-point range). It wasn't the typical offensive performance for the Rambling Wreck, who rank just 11th in the ACC in scoring with 64.0 ppg and last in both field goal (.420) and free-throw percentage (.636), but luckily it is able to keep most of its games close thanks to its fourth-ranked scoring defense (60.6 ppg). Marcus Georges- Hunt paces the squad with 10.6 ppg, while Carter, Jr. brings 10.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg and nearly a block per contest to the table. Miller is simply a modest scorer (8.1 ppg), but he's still one of the most imposing big men in the conference with 6.9 rpg and a league-best 2.2 bpg.
Georgia Tech will have some extra motivation playing for its seniors in their final home game, but that energy will wear off as the game goes on against a talented NC State squad. The Wolfpack have struggled on the road this season (2-6), so another setback isn't out of the question, but expect them to take advantage of mismatches all over the floor to claim this one.
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