Wood, Howell set for NC State senior night game against Wake Forest

jgiglio@newsobserver.comMarch 5, 2013 

NC State, Florida State, NCAA

N.C. State's Scott Wood (15), left, and Richard Howell (1) defend against Florida State's Michael Snaer (21) in the second half of N.C. State's 84-66 victory Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

ETHAN HYMAN — ehyman@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

Scott Wood, Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie will play one last home game together for N.C. State.

The Wolfpack (21-8, 10-6 ACC) closes its home schedule Wednesday night against Wake Forest (WRAL, 9 p.m.), a concept seniors Wood and Howell aren’t quite ready to process.

"Nah, not yet," Howell said.

Wood was even less wistful about the prospect of his final home game.

"I’m more concerned about getting the win than anything else," Wood said. "I could care less that it’s my last home game, that’s more for the parents. It will be more emotional for them."

Wood, Howell, Brown and Leslie have started together in 78 of the past 97 N.C. State games. The veteran quartet led the program to its first NCAA tournament appearance in six years, and into the Sweet 16, last season. The group has posted consecutive 20-win seasons and has the Pack in position for a second straight NCAA tournament bid this March.

They’ve lived through the program’s valleys under former coach Sidney Lowe and its renaissance in two seasons under coach Mark Gottfried.

Juniors Brown, who leads the ACC in assists (7.0 per game) and Leslie, who leads the team in scoring (15.1 points per game) for the second straight year, have the option of returning for a another season but both are expected to jump early to the NBA. Leslie said no matter what happens, it won’t be the same without Howell and Wood.

"I’m going to miss those guys but you try not to think about," Leslie said. "You don’t really miss it until it’s gone."

Wood and Howell have already left their mark on the school record book. Wood has started more games (130), than any player in school history. His 312 career 3-pointers rank second in school history, 10 behind Rodney Monroe.

Howell’s 991 career rebounds ranks fifth in school history and with an extended post-season run, he has a chance to move into second plaice behind Ronnie Shavlik (1,598). His 10.9 rebounds per game this season lead the ACC, which puts him on track to be the fifth State player to lead the conference in that category and first since 1992.

The group is reluctant to reminisce about what they’ve done because there’s more basketball to be played. The Wolfpack faces Wake Forest and then travels to Florida State on Saturday. Then there’s the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

"There’s a lot of good things that have happened and obviously there’s a lot of things that I wish would have been different," Wood said. "I wish we would have won earlier in my career than we did but it happened and you have to live with it."

N.C. State has won five of its past six games because of Wood and Howell’s leadership, Leslie said. Howell had 18 points in Sunday’s win at Georgia Tech and has been the team’s most consistent player throughout the season.

"You run out of adjectives for that guy," Gottfried said after Sunday’s win in Atlanta.

Despite an off shooting night against Georgia Tech, Wood has averaged 13.6 points over the past six games and made the game-winning 3-pointer at Clemson on Feb. 10.

"They’ve done a fantastic job, especially this last half of the season," Leslie said. "I mean you can’t ask for more."

Well, there’s one thing Wood would ask for: a little more time to put it all in perspective.

"Once I look back on it, it will be something that I miss but right now it’s something that I don’t see," Wood said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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