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January 26, 2013

NC State hosts UNC on big stage



Before a recent lull, it appeared that North Carolina State was a serious contender for its first ACC regular-season title in 24 seasons.

Those hopes have faded in recent days, but a win Saturday night would undoubtedly give the team a much-needed boost.

The 18th-ranked Wolfpack will seek to end a lengthy losing streak to rival North Carolina when the surging Tar Heels visit Raleigh.

NC State capped a 3-0 start to ACC play — its best since 1973-74 — with an 84-76 victory over No. 1 Duke on Jan. 12, but it's lost twice in the past three games. A season-worst 31.1 percent shooting contributed to a 51-50 defeat at Maryland on Jan. 16, and a poor defensive performance in the second half helped send the Wolfpack to an 86-84 loss at Wake Forest on Tuesday.

NC State (15-4, 4-2) led by 12 at halftime but gave up 51 points over the final 20 minutes, spoiling a milestone night for Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown.

Both players surpassed 1,000 points — giving this season's team four such scorers — and recorded double-doubles. Freshman Rodney Purvis had a team-best 18 points, one shy of his career high.

"We can be better defensively," coach Mark Gottfried said. "For us to become a really good team, we can't have the lulls and periods where we are not as good defensively as we are at other times."

NC State, 11-0 at home, would probably love to have a more consistent performance Saturday. The Wolfpack haven't beaten the Tar Heels (13-5, 3-2) since Feb. 3, 2007, losing a series-worst 13 straight matchups and 19 of the past 20.

"I think our guys will be eager to play, regardless of our opponent," Gottfried said. "I think the fact that North Carolina's our next opponent, I think our guys will be more than ready to play."

NC State lost three times to North Carolina in 2011-12, falling 69-67 in the ACC tournament semifinals March 10. The Wolfpack will now face a team that's seeking a season high-tying fourth straight win after losing three of five.

North Carolina had its best scoring performance in conference play in the latest of those victories, 79-63 over visiting Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Reggie Bullock had a team-best 17 points after scoring a career-high 24 in a 62-52 win over Maryland last Saturday. James Michael McAdoo just missed his sixth double-double of the season and his second in a row, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds, and P.J. Hairston provided 15 points off the bench.

"We're working on finding our place every day in practice," forward Brice Johnson told the school's official website. "We've gotten much more used to where we're supposed to be, and we want to do whatever helps our team win."

North Carolina hasn't won four in a row since its 4-0 start to this season, while NC State hasn't suffered back-to-back losses since a four-game skid Feb. 16-25, which included an 86-74 home defeat to the then-No. 7 Tar Heels.

Howell has double-digit rebounds in seven straight games, the longest streak for an NC State player since Tommy Burleson's 10 in a row in 1972-73. He's grabbed 10 or more in each of his last two games against North Carolina.

Junior forward C.J. Leslie, leading the Wolfpack with 15.3 points per game, scored a combined 46 points on 18-for-31 shooting (58.1 percent) and pulled down 19 rebounds in the last two meetings with North Carolina in 2011-12.




North Carolina preview

NC State 2011-12 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

North Carolina roster

North Carolina schedule/results

North Carolina season stats

Game facts

North Carolina (13-5, 3-2 ACC) at No. 18 NC State (15-4, 4-2 ACC)

Game time: Saturday, Jan. 26, 7 p.m. — PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.

Television: ESPN

Probable starters

NC State
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 12.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.9 apg, 2.1 spg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-3, 195, Fr., 9.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.8 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 11.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 15.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.1 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.6 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.1 bpg)

North Carolina
PG — 5 Marcus Paige (6-0, 157, Fr., 6.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.1 spg)
SG — 1 Dexter Strickland (6-3, 185, Sr., 7.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.7 spg)
SG — 35 Reggie Bullock (6-7, 205, Jr., 14.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.3 spg)
PF — 43 James Michael McAdoo (6-9, 230, Soph., 14.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.4 spg)
C — 14 Desmond Hubert (6-9, 220, Soph., 1.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.1 bpg)

North Carolina

Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.

Nickname: Tar Heels

2011-12 record: 32-6 overall, 14-2 ACC

2012 postseason: Lost 80-67 to Kansas in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament

Coach: Roy Williams, 10th season at UNC (269-72) and 25th season overall (687-174)

Series: UNC leads 147-75

Last meeting: North Carolina won 69-67 on March 10, 2012, at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Notes

North Carolina: Sophomore power forward James Michael McAdoo came into the season with as much fanfare as any ACC player outside of perhaps NC State junior power forward C.J. Leslie. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound McAdoo helped fill in when power forward John Henson was injured last year, and had a season-high 17 points against Vermont in the NCAA Tournament and added 15 in the 80-67 loss to Kansas in the Elite Eight. McAdoo scored in double figures in just six games last year, so his success was modest. McAdoo opened this season in grand fashion with 26 points and 14 rebounds, both currently career highs, in a 76-59 win against Gardner-Webb Nov. 9. He has five double-doubles this season and has scored in double figures in all but one game. However, he also has averaged 2.9 turnovers per contest and had at least four turnovers in eight games … Junior small forward Reggie Bullock has been the Tar Heels' most consistent perimeter player, and is averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. The 6-7, 205-pound Bullock is shooting an impressive 46.3 percent from three-point land and 86.2 percent from the free throw line. He scored a season-high 24 points, on the strength of 4-of-7 shooting from three-point land, in a 62-52 win over Maryland Jan. 19. Bullock drained 5 of 8 from beyond the arc for 17 points against McNeese State in a 97-63 win Dec. 22, and he went 4 of 6 from three-point range for 22 points in a 61-52 loss at Virginia Jan. 6. Bullock recorded his lone double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds in a 85-67 loss at Texas Dec. 19 … Sophomore P.J. Hairston, who is a 6-5 and 220-pound wing off the bench, has improved his three-point shooting this season, but has struggled from distance in the ACC. He is averaging 11.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, and is shooting 34.0 percent from three-point land. He connected on 4 of 9 three-pointers on his way to a season-high 23 points in a 77-72 win at Florida State Jan. 12. Hairston also had 20 points and eight rebounds against McNeese State … Senior shooting guard Dexter Strickland has tallied at least 10 points in six games, with a season-high 16 in a 79-73 win over UNLV Dec. 29. He also had 12 points and 10 assists in a 93-87 win over East Carolina Dec. 15. Strickland is averaging 7.9 points and 4.0 assists per game, but hasn't made a three-pointer in eight games … Freshman point guard Marcus Paige, who is 6-0 and 157 pounds, is averaging 6.7 points and 4.4 assists per game. He had a season-high 15 points in a 78-63 win at Long Beach State Nov. 16 and has scored at least 10 points in five games … Sophomore center Desmond Hubert, who is 6-9 and 220 pounds, has started all but five games this season. He is averaging just 1.4 points per game, but has blocked two shots or more in six contests, including five Wednesday in a 79-63 win over Georgia Tech. Hubert is shooting 21.4 percent from the line … Redshirt junior shooting guard Leslie McDonald will miss the NC State game while serving a three-game suspension. He is averaging 8.4 points per game and shooting 43.1 percent from beyond the arc.


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