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February 7, 2013

NC State aiming for regular season sweep of Duke



Duke finally figured out how to play without Ryan Kelly. North Carolina State might have to do the same with Lorenzo Brown.

The Wolfpack visit the fourth-ranked Blue Devils for a rematch tonight, and while Duke knows it will be without one of its best players, NC State will also be without Brown, who injured his ankle Jan. 29 at Virginia.

After struggling mightily in their first few games following Kelly's injury, the Blue Devils (19-2, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) have righted themselves, winning three straight to improve to 4-2 without the versatile power forward.

The Wolfpack (16-6, 5-4) face a similar situation after their first losing streak of the season dropped them out of the Top 25 for the first time.

The current two-game slide coincided with Brown's injury. He sprained his left ankle during last week's loss at Virginia, and it kept him out of the home loss to Miami that followed.

Coach Mark Gottfried said Tuesday that Brown would be day-to-day, but Brown announced Thursday evening on Twitter he wouldn't be able to face the Blue Devils.

Freshman Tyler Lewis played well in Brown's absence, scoring a season-high 16 points with five assists in a 79-78 loss to the Hurricanes, who pulled out the victory with a tip-in with 0.8 seconds left.

But there's no question the Wolfpack are a lesser team without Brown, whose baseline-to-baseline speed in transition and knack for finding his high-scoring teammates makes him one of the top point guards in the country.

"We're going to have to deal if he doesn't play, and if he plays, he's definitely going to make us better," forward Scott Wood said. "If he's not in there, it doesn't matter the situation or how much he would help us in that situation. We've got to cope with him being out."

The Blue Devils learned the hard way last month just how dangerous NC State is when Brown is clicking at full speed.

He had 12 points and 13 assists while pushing the go-go Wolfpack up and down the court in an 84-76 upset of then-No. 1 Duke in its first game without Kelly.

"We had times we were back, five on five," Duke guard Seth Curry said, "and he still pushed it down our throats."

The Blue Devils are quick to point out that they're a different team than they were for that Jan. 12 matchup.

With smaller Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston splitting time in place of the 6-foot-11 Kelly — who's out indefinitely with a right foot injury — they've tweaked the way they play.

They emphasize screens over spacing to free up shooters Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon and work the ball inside to elite big man Mason Plumlee, and they've shot at least 52 percent in each game of their three-game winning streak.

They hit a season-high 60.8 percent — including 11 of 18 from 3-point range — in Saturday's 79-60 win at Florida State.

"For us, it took a couple games" to figure out how to play without Kelly, Plumlee said. "Every team's different, depending on who you lose. You know it's a part of the season, though. Every season I've been here, we've had someone go down with an injury. So you almost — I don't want to say you anticipate it, but you know those things are going to happen, and you have to adjust."

Duke is 11-0 at home this season, winning those games by an average of 21.9 points, and NC State has lost 14 in a row at Cameron Indoor Stadium.




Duke preview

NC State 2011-12 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

Duke roster

Duke schedule/results

Duke season stats

Game facts

NC State (16-6, 5-4 ACC) at No. 4 Duke (19-2, 6-2 ACC)

Game time: Thursday, Feb. 7, 9 p.m. — Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.

Television: ACC Network

Probable starters

NC State
PG — 12 Tyler Lewis (5-11, 157, Fr., 2.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.4 apg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-3, 195, Fr., 9.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.7 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 11.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 15.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg)

Duke
PG — 2 Quinn Cook (6-1, 175, Soph., 11.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.7 spg)
SG — 30 Seth Curry (6-2, 185, R-Sr., 16.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.3 apg)
SG — 14 Rasheed Sulaimon (6-4, 185, Fr., 11.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.0 spg)
PF — 21 Amile Jefferson (6-8, 195, Fr., 4.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.3 apg)
C — 5 Mason Plumlee (6-10, 235, Sr., 17.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.7 bpg)

Duke

Location: Durham, N.C.

Nickname: Blue Devils

2011-12 record: 27-7, 13-3 ACC

2012 postseason: Lost 75-70 to Lehigh in first game of NCAA Tournament

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski, 33rd season at Duke (873-234) and 38th overall (946-293)

Series: Duke leads 138-98

Last meeting: NC State won 84-76 on Jan. 12, 2013, in Raleigh

Notes

Duke: NC State played impressively to topple then No. 1-ranked Duke 84-76 in front of a sold out crowd at PNC Arena Jan. 12. The Blue Devils were playing their first game without senior power forward Ryan Kelly, who injured his foot against Clemson Jan. 8. Kelly is averaging 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, but he isn't expected back until later this month at the earliest … Fifth-year senior shooting guard Seth Curry had 22 points and five three-pointers before departing in the final minutes with a sprained ankle against NC State, that hasn't slowed him down since. Sophomore point guard Quinn Cook had 17 points and seven assists and senior center Mason Plumlee added 15 points and 11 boards … Freshman power forward Amile Jefferson, a former NC State recruiting target, has filled in for Kelly. The 6-8, 195-pound Jefferson is averaging 4.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, but is shooting 54.3 percent from the field. He has scored in double figures in four of the last six games since Kelly got hurt, including a career-high 13 points in a 90-63 loss at Miami Jan. 23 … Backup power forward Josh Hairston is listed as "doubtful" due to an infection. Redshirt freshman Marshall Plumlee (Mason's brother) could end up playing more in the post due to Hairston's absence … Mason Plumlee had his highest scoring game and tied for his lowest scoring effort since playing the Wolfpack. The 6-10, 235-pounder exploded for 32 points and nine rebounds in a 75-70 win at Wake Forest Jan. 30. He shot 12 of 15 from the field and 8 of 10 at the line. Plumlee followed with eight points in 25 minutes, but he made all four field goal attempts in a 79-60 win at Florida State Feb. 2. He has 25 of 32 from the field over his last three games, and is shooting 60.4 percent from the field this season. Plumlee has 11 double-doubles for points and rebounds … The 6-2, 185-pound Curry had his worst game of the season against Miami, shooting 0 of 10 from the field for zero points. However, he has scored 21 points in his last two games against Wake Forest and Florida State, including going 5 of 7 from three-point range against the Seminoles. Curry is averaging 16.3 points per game and shooting 43.2 percent from three-point land this season … Cook has been steady in averaging 11.5 points, 6.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. He had a season-high 27 points in a 68-40 win over Clemson Jan. 8, and added 18 points and six assists at FSU. Cook is shooting 38.8 percent from three-point land … Sulaimon had one of his worst games of the season against NC State, shooting 0 of 10 from the field. He has been on fire since. The 6-4, 185-pounder has 13 of 24 from three-point land over his last five games. He went 6 of 8 from beyond the arc for 25 points in a 84-64 win over Maryland.


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