NC State won't be lacking for motivation tonight against Boston College at the RBC Center.
The 7 p.m. game, which will be on ESPNU, is the last regular season home game for seniors Courtney Fells, Ben McCauley and Simon Harris. The hope is that the trio will get another chance to play in Raleigh in the NIT Tournament. However, to ensure such an opportunity, the Wolfpack have to improve their resume, which features a 15-12 overall record and 5-9 in the ACC.
The Eagles have proved to be a tough nemesis for the Wolfpack, rolling up a 7-1 record and have won the last three games. Getting good performances out of the seniors and executing better could be the difference.
NCSU coach Sidney Lowe has never doubted the effort from McCauley and Fells.
"They've both have played hard," Lowe said. "They've both have done a good job I think. They both work hard in practice. They try to do what you ask them to do. I think they've both have had solid careers here. They're quality young guys and I've enjoyed coaching them.
"I just really hope, that we really can finish on a good note, and kind of stretch their career, their collegiate career anyway, as long as we can by playing well and winning a few more ball games and seeing what happens.
The lack of getting the ball inside to McCauley and sophomore power forward Tracy Smith proved to be NC State's undoing in Sunday's X-X loss to Maryland. Having all five players on the same page will do wonders for the execution of what Lowe wants.
"The coach has influence on calling the sets," Lowe said. "The players, they have to execute. Last night it wasn't for example anything different that Maryland did, he [coach Gary Williams] just called a set, he called a play, and their players made it work, they made it happen. In this ball game, on this level, you're not going to find a lot of opportunity where you are going to run a set and get a guy a wide-open shot."
Lowe was particularly troubled by what he saw in the second half against the Terrapins.
"We went seven-straight plays and we only threw in there one time," Lowe said. "We turned it over four times. That's execution from players. That's not a situation where the coach, you can't go out there and do it for them. They got to do it themselves.
"You call the sets, and the players have to do it. That's the way it's always been. That's the way it's always going to be."
Boston College preview
Boston College (20-9, 8-6 ACC) at NC State (15-12, 5-9 ACC)
Game time: Tonight, March 4, 7 p.m. — RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C.
PG — 10 Javi Gonzalez (5-11, Soph., 6.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.1 spg)
SG — 4 Courtney Fells (6-6, Sr., 11.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.1)
SF — 33 Brandon Costner (6-9, R-Jr., 13.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.0 bpg)
PF — 23 Tracy Smith (6-8, Soph., 10.0, 4.5 rpg, 0.6 apg)
C — 34 Ben McCauley (6-9, Sr., 12.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg)
PG — 4 Tyrese Rice (6-1, Sr., 17.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.5 spg)
SG — 15 Rakim Sanders (6-5, Soph., 12.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.5 spg)
SF — 11 Corey Raji (6-6, Soph., 10.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.7 apg)
PF — 12 Joe Trapani (6-8, Soph., 14.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.0 bpg)
C — 52 Josh Southern (6-10, Soph., 5.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.8 apg)
Scouting Boston College
Location: Chestnut Hill, Mass.
2007-08 record: 14-17 overall, 4-12 ACC
2008 postseason: None
Coach: Al Skinner, 21st season overall (368-272) and 12th season at Boston College (230-146)
The all-time series with NC State: Boston College leads 7-1
Last meeting: Boston College won 79-68 on Jan. 24, 2009, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Boston College: Raji is the younger brother of BC defensive tackle B.J. Raji, who checked in at 6-2 and 337 pounds at the NFL Combine. Corey is 6-6 and 214 … Trapani has six double doubles for points and rebounds this season … Rice became the seventh BC player in school history to cross 2,000 points when the Eagles defeated Duke on Feb. 15. Rice has scored 20 or more points in 13 games this season … Freshman guard Reggie Jackson is BC's top player off the bench with 7.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game … BC dominated the offensive boards (22 total) and held a 46-25 rebounding advantage in the first matchup.
NC State: The big lineup originated during the second half of the first Boston College matchup this season, and has been averaging 78.3 points a game the last nine games … Smith scored 15 of his team-leading 17 points in the second half … NC State players and coaches found out that women's coach Kay Yow passed away prior to playing Boston College on Jan. 24 … Fells has averaged 7.7 points per game against the Eagles in three games, while McCauley has averaged 8.0 and Costner 12.7.