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January 16, 2013

Wolfpack aiming to avoid letdown vs. Terps

North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried believes his team's experience will help it avoid a letdown following its biggest win of the season.

Having experience against Maryland's top perimeter threat could also help.
The No. 14 Wolfpack can match their longest win streak in 24 years tonight when they travel to face Dezmine Wells and the Terrapins.

North Carolina State (14-2, 3-0 ACC) won 84-76 over then-No. 1 Duke on Saturday to hand the Blue Devils their first loss. C.J. Leslie scored 25 points for the Wolfpack, who took advantage of a raucous home crowd that stormed the court after the win.

North Carolina State will now go on the road to try to match the 11-game win streak of the 1988-89 team after the emotional victory.

"We've got four returning starters that have been through this league," Gottfried said. "I think they're very well aware of the fact that each game counts as one game."

NC State ended a nine-game losing streak to Maryland (13-3, 1-2) with a 79-74 victory last season, as Leslie had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Scott Wood added 19 points.

The Terrapins' top two scorers from that team are gone, but they have added Wells — a Xavier transfer and Raleigh native who was a high school teammate of Leslie. The 6-foot-5 Wells, averaging 12.2 points, nearly joined the Wolfpack — who are very familiar with him.

"I think it probably helps," Gottfried said. "When players know each other, they usually know their games sometimes better than we do. So, yeah, I think that probably works the other way too with Dez. He knows our guys pretty good too."

Even without the talented Wells, NC State leads the nation in field-goal percentage at 52.8. Five players average double figures in points, and freshman forward T.J. Warren is among the nation's leaders with his 67.2 shooting percentage.

Maryland could provide a challenge since it leads the ACC in defensive field-goal percentage at 35.3. The Terrapins enjoyed a 13-game win streak since a season-opening 72-69 loss to then-No. 3 Kentucky, but they've dropped their last two.

Coach Mark Turgeon is considering using a third straight different point guard. Pe'Shon Howard was scoreless with one assist and three turnovers last Wednesday in a 65-62 home loss to Florida State before Seth Allen had four points, four fouls and no assists in Sunday's 54-47 defeat at Miami.

The Terrapins had a season-low four assists Sunday, and Turgeon may shift sophomore Nick Faust to point guard.

"Nick has got experience, so if I move him to the point, he played there last year, he'll be able to do it pretty quickly," Turgeon said.

Faust fouled out in 12 minutes off the bench last season against the Wolfpack. Center Alex Len, averaging a team-high 13.8 points in 2012-13, was a bright spot in that game with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

NC State has lost its last four visits to College Park since an 85-69 win Jan. 23, 2005.

"We're going to go into a tough environment," Gottfried said. "I'm sure they are going to be excited and ready to play us."

Maryland preview

NC State 2011-12 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

Maryland roster

Maryland schedule/results

Maryland season stats

Game facts

No. 14 NC State (14-2, 3-0 ACC) at Maryland (13-3, 1-2 ACC)

Game time: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. — Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Television: ESPN2

Probable starters

NC State
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 13.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 7.1 apg, 2.1 spg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-3, 195, Fr., 9.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.8 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 12.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.1 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 16.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.1 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.6 apg)

PG — 4 Seth Allen (6-1, 190, Fr., 8.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.8 apg)
SG — 5 Nick Faust (6-6, 205, Soph., 9.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.8 apg)
SG — 32 Dezmine Wells (6-5, 215, Soph., 12.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.0 spg)
PF — 35 James Padgett (6-8, 235, Sr., 6.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.6 apg)
C — 25 Alex Len (7-1, 255, Soph., 13.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.2 bpg)


Location: College Park, Md.

Nickname: Terrapins

2011-12 record: 17-15 overall 6-10 ACC

2012 postseason: None

Coach: Mark Turgeon, second season at Maryland (30-18) and 16th overall (280-177)

Series: Maryland leads series 76-73

Last meeting: NC State defeated Maryland 79-74 on Jan. 8, 2012, in Raleigh


Maryland: Sophomore center Alex Len showed the country that he had improved since last year in exploding for 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in a 72-69 loss to Kentucky Nov. 9 in Brooklyn, N.Y. The 7-1, 255-pounder from Ukraine, who is high on NBA draft boards, averaged a modest 6.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game a year ago in adjusting midseason to U.S. basketball. Len has four double-doubles on the season, and has blocked at least three shots in five games … Raleigh native Dezmine Wells arrived on the wing this fall after getting expelled at Xavier, where he averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds his freshman season last year. The 6-5, 215-pounder played with NC State junior power forward C.J. Leslie at Raleigh Word of God, and traveling team basketball with freshman shooting guard Rodney Purvis on Chris Paul All-Stars. He combined for 48 points in back-to-back games at Northwestern Nov. 27 and George Mason Dec. 2. He is shooting just 25.0 percent from three-point land … Senior power forward James Padgett has come off the bench in four of the last eight games, but got the start at Miami on Sunday. He averaged 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds last year, but has dipped to 6.4 points and 4.4 boards per game this season … Sophomore wing Nick Faust has been steady on the wing, and is averaging 9.0 points per game and shooting 31.3 percent from three-point land. He has scored at least 10 points in nine games, but played just five minutes off the bench due to back spasms in the ACC opener against Virginia Tech Jan. 5. He returned to shoot 4 of 6 from three-point land for 14 points in the 65-62 loss to Florida State on Jan. 9 … Junior point guard Pe'Shon Howard had a season-high eight points against both Stony Brook Dec. 21 and IUPUI Jan. 1, but dished out a season-high 13 assists against Long Island-Brooklyn. He came off the bench against Miami … Senior wing Logan Aronhalt transferred from Albany after graduating. He averaged 13.8 points and shot 35.5 percent from three-point land last year, and is adding 5.7 points and an impressive 51.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc for the Terrapins this winter … Freshmen Shaq Cleare, Charles Mitchell, Jake Layman and Seth Allen have provided a boost off the bench. Layman, a small forward, filled in for the injured Faust and had 20 points and eight rebounds and shot 4 of 9 from three-point land against Virginia Tech. Allen, a guard, has scored in double figures the last four games, including a career-high 21 against the Hokies. He earned his second start of the season against Miami. Cleare, a center, helps back up Len in the middle and has cracked double figures in two games. He earned the start against Maryland-Eastern Shore Dec. 5 and had a career-high 12 points. Mitchell, a power forward, has started four games, including the last three. The Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler product had 19 points and 14 boards in a 79-50 win over Delaware State Dec. 29 … Junior power forward Evan Smotrycz is sitting out this season after transferring from Michigan.

N.C. State NEWS


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