Quick hits and notes from NC State's 83-70 win over Georgia Tech in front of 18,118 fans at the PNC Arena in Raleigh Wednesday evening.
Play of the game
For over 32 minutes NC State and Georgia Tech seemed to be trading baskets. There were 14 lead changes and 11 ties during that stretch. Momentum tilted towards NC State for good after that, and the basket that gave the Pack some breathing room was a three-pointer from the corner in front of the Wolfpack bench from freshman guard Rodney Purvis.
The play was started by a steal from junior guard Lorenzo Brown. Racing down the court, he passed it to a wide-open Purvis. Purvis took his time to measure up the shot and swished the three-pointer over a leaping Georgia Tech defender to give the Wolfpack a 61-56 lead with 5:43 left in the contest.
That gave NCSU its largest lead of the game at that point. It was just its third two-possession advantage of the evening and the first of the second half.
Highlight of the game
Junior forward C.J. Leslie flirted with a goaltend when he went up high to block Georgia Tech senior guard Mfon Udofia's drive. Brown took the loose ball and made the long pass to Purvis for a fast break lay-up, giving NC State a 34-30 lead with 2:20 left in the first half.
Player of the game
Brown seemed to be fired up playing against his hometown team. He finished with a double-double of 21 points and 10 assists. He made 7 of 11 shots from the field, including 2 of 4 three-pointers. He also had five rebounds, three blocks and a steal in 37 minutes.
That was Brown's best ever scoring output in an ACC game, surpassing the 20 he had at UNC when he was a freshman and then at Wake Forest last season. He also set a new career-high for blocked shots.
This was the second double-double of the year and fourth of Brown's career. His earlier double-double this season came when he had 11 points and 10 assists against Massachusetts in the Puerto Rico Classic Nov. 16.
This was also Brown's fourth double-digit assist game of the year and sixth of his career.
Wood also shines
The senior wing piled up 20 points on 5-of-11 shooting, making 4 of 9 three-pointers. That gives Wood 269 career three-pointers, moving him past former Duke forward Kyle Singler into 14th place all-time in ACC history for made threes.
Wood is now 53 three-pointers away from matching former Wolfpack guard Rodney Monroe's all-time school record for most career threes. With at least 17 games left, Wood would need to average 3.1 three-pointers a contest to reach that mark if the Pack were to lose in the first round of the ACC Tournament and not make any postseason play.
This was the 22nd game in Wood's career where he has made at least four three-pointers, and the Pack is 20-2 in those contests.
The only two negatives to Wood's night was missing a free throw on his final attempt of the evening, snapping a streak of 23 straight made attempts, and Brown beating Wood to his traditional spot in the post game media interview room, which clearly agitated the senior.
Most of the Pack keeps scoring
Leslie had a workmanlike 19 points of 9-of-16 shooting, and he added seven rebounds and three blocks on the evening. Leslie has now scored in double figures in 11 straight games. He raised his scoring average to 15.6 points a contest.
Purvis had his second straight double-digit scoring output. After scoring a career-high 19 in the win at Boston College Saturday, he added 13 points against Tech. That raised his scoring average to 10.1 points a game, which means NC State now has six players averaging double figures in scoring.
Two of the six had an off scoring night. Senior center Richard Howell though made an impact despite scoring only six points. He had a game-high 12 rebounds to go with a pair of blocks and assists. NC State improved to 20-5 in games under head coach Mark Gottfried when Howell had double-digit boards.
It was a forgettable night though for freshman forward T.J. Warren. He was held scoreless for the first time in his brief career, missing his one shot attempt.
Overall though NC State shot 50.9 percent from the field, making it 12 out of 15 games they have made at least half of their shot attempts. The 83 points scored were the most allowed by Tech this year, topping the 75 they gave up in a 13-point loss at then No. 22 Illinois Nov. 28.
Tech bigs caused some problems
One of the main reason Georgia Tech gave NC State some trouble was because of their deep, physical frontcourt. Redshirt junior center Daniel Miller had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and rejected two shots as well. That was a new career-high in scoring for Miller and his fourth ever double-double.
Talented freshman power forward Robert Carter added 12 points and seven rebounds before fouling out. Off the bench redshirt junior forward Kammeon Holsey added seven points and four boards.
Collectively they helped Georgia Tech accomplish something that has not happened very often to the Wolfpack this year. The Yellow Jackets outscored NC State in the paint, 42-38.
What the win means
NC State improves to 13-2 after winning its ninth straight game, the longest winning streak since the 2004-05 campaign, and 10th straight at home. The Pack is also 2-0 in ACC action. Georgia Tech fell to 10-4 and 0-2 in conference play.
The Pack improved to 9-4 in ACC home openers at the PNC Arena. They lead the overall series with Georgia Tech 53-37, and they are 3-2 in ACC home openers against the Yellow Jackets
This is the first time NC State has won its first two conference games since they did so in the 2003-04 season. That squad would finish 11-5 in league play. The last time NCSU started a season 13-2 was the 2005-06 campaign when they opened 14-2. They would hold a 21-5 record that year before losing five of its last six games.
Other stats of note
- NC State outrebounded Georgia Tech 43-37 overall, but Tech had a 14-9 edge on the offensive glass. That is partly explained by the Jackets shooting just 37.0 percent from the field. Tech still had a 17-11 advantage in second-chance points.
- The Wolfpack had the edge in transition, owning an 18-12 edge in fast break points.
- Georgia Tech had just seven turnovers compared to 13 for NC State, and the Jackets parlayed that into a 14-12 edge in points off turnovers.
- Tech's bench outscored NCSU's reserves 16-4. Freshman guard Tyler Lewis had all of State's bench scoring, nailing all four of his free throw attempts.