GREENSBORO — N.C. State won 22 games in the regular season.
Senior forward Richard Howell said he doesnt know many were because of its defense.
He knew what led to Thursdays 80-63 win over Virginia Tech, however, in the first round of the ACC tournament.
If we want to go farther in this tournament and the NCAA tournament, its going to have to be with our defense, Howell said.
N.C. State (23-9) advanced to Fridays quarterfinal matchup against Virginia by holding Erick Green, the nations leading scorer, to 15 points 10 points below his average.
Green made just 5 of 19 shots and had four turnovers, thanks in large part to the defensive effort of Wolfpack point guard Lorenzo Brown.
Green had 29 points and eight assists in the previous meeting in Raleigh in February.
I thought Lorenzo was terrific, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. Lorenzo made his mind up, he was going to do a good job on it and I thought he did.
Brown was touched up in the Wolfpacks previous game, a 71-67 loss at Florida State, by guards Ian Miller and Devon Bookert. Brown also had seven turnovers.
Against the Hokies (13-19), Brown controlled the game on both ends, keeping Green out of the paint, and by proxy off the free-throw line, and handing out 12 assists of his own. In 36 minutes, Brown finished with nine points and only two turnovers.
It just worked out how we planned it, Brown said.
Wolfpack senior Scott Wood (13 points) thought Brown was motivated to bounce back after the FSU loss but said thats also how Brown is wired.
Hes always like that, hes hungry, Wood said.
Howell led N.C. State with 22 points and 12 rebounds. C.J. Leslie added 15 points and seven rebounds as the Wolfpack outrebounded Virginia Tech 40-25.
The Wolfpack used a late 10-2 run in the first half to take a 38-32 halftime lead over the last-place Hokies.
After back-to-back baskets by forward Jarell Eddie (21 points), Virginia Tech took a 25-24 lead at 7:17 mark in the first half.
N.C. State responded with a 10-2 run, which featured six points by T.J. Warren (13 points) and consecutive dunks from Warren, on an alley-oop from Brown and Leslie in transition.
N.C. State put the game away with a 9-0 run early in the second half, started by Warrens 3-pointer and finished by Howell, who was set up on the break by Brown.
Howell had 14 points in the first half and finished 11 of 13 from the floor. It was the second time in the past four postseason games Howell scored at least 20 points and it was his 20th game of the season with at least 10 rebounds.
Richard was, as he always is for us, Mr. Reliable, Gottfried said. Hes just one of those guys thats the same every day.
Howells layup gave the Wolfpack a 57-42 advantage with 12:40 left in the game. The Hokies did not get closer than 10 points the rest of the way, a tribute the Wolfpacks defensive effort.
Virginia Tech made just 4 of 18 3-pointers and shot just 41.7 percent overall.
We were active and quick and we rotated better, Gottfried said.
The N.C. State players have not been shy about their intentions in Greensboro, but theres only one way to get to Sunday.
Weve got to keep on trucking here and get some wins, Wood said.
N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie continued his trend of following up a bad game with a good one.
Leslie had five points and three rebounds in the loss at Florida State last Saturday. He had 15 points and seven rebounds on Thursday.
Leslie scored in single digits in four games this season, he scored in double digits in the next game after each of those four games.
Virginia Tech freshman wing Marshall Wood didn't score and fouled out in 13 minutes in Thursday's game.
In the first game against N.C. State in February, Wood put together perhaps the anomaly of the season with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Wood, who averages 3.8 points and 3.9 rebounds for the season, has scored five points in seven games since his outburst in Raleigh, getting shutout in six of those games.
He has 18 total rebounds in the seven games since getting 16 against the Wolfpack on Feb. 16.
N.C. State out-rebounded Virginia Tech 40-25 on Thursday. The Hokies had a 42-39 advantage in the meeting on Feb. 16.