Gameday: NC State vs. Arizona

NC State (6-3) hosts Arizona (9-2) today in a huge nonconference contest for both teams. Tip-off is set for 4:30 pm, and the game will be televised on FSN.

Location: RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tip-Off: 4:30 p.m.

Television: FSN

Radio: Airtime begins @ 4:00 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information


    Arizona Information


    NC State Projected Starting Line-up
    G Javier Gonzalez
    G Lorenzo Brown
    F Scott Wood
    F C.J. Leslie
    F Deshawn Painter

    Arizona Projected Starting Line-up
    G Kyle Fogg
    G Lamont Jones
    G Jamelle Horne
    F Solomon Hill
    F Derrick Williams

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    C.J. Leslie --
    Freshman forward has been coming on strong lately and will be relied on in the post with Tracy Smith likely to miss another game.

    Derrick Williams -
    One of the top forwards in the country, Williams is a physical presence capable of controlling the paint. By the way, he's also hit 10-of-14 3-pointers this season.

    NC State Game Notes

    NC State Hosts Arizona
    NC State returns to home action Sunday evening, when the Wolfpack will host Arizona at 4:45 p.m. at the RBC Center. The Wolfpack (6-3) has won the first two games in the current six-game homestand. The Wildcats (9-2) embark on their longest road trip of the season, and seek their second true road win of the year in as many attempts.

    This game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net with Tim Brando, Mike Gminiski and Jenn Hildreth.

    The Series Versus Arizona
    This will be only the second time the two teams have met. Last season, NC State traveled to Tucson and the Wildcats came away with a 76-74 win on a last second layup.

    The Pack Versus the Pac-10
    NC State will be facing a Pac-10 opponent for only the 22nd time in the Wolfpack's 101 years of basketball. The Pack is 13-8 against teams currently in the Pac-10 conference, topping both Arizona State and Oregon State a total of four times each to lead the way.

    Pack Connections at Arizona
    NC State fans will see a couple of familiar faces on Arizona's coaching staff, as a couple of Wolfpack coaches have close ties to the Wolfpack. Arizona's second-year head coach Sean Miller was an assistant coach with the Pack for five seasons (1997-01) on Herb Sendek's staff. Miller and current NC State assistant Larry Harris were on the staff together for each of Miller's five seasons in Raleigh.

    Wildcats assistant coach Archie Miller played and later coached at NC State. Miller played for the Pack from 1998-2002, earning a medical redshirt season in 1999. He then served as Director of Operations under Sendek in 2004 and 2005. He was an assistant coach in 2006. During his playing career, Miller connected on 42.8 percent (218-509) from three-point range, including a 57.5 (59-102) percent mark in 2001, the second-best season in Pack history.

    RBC Center Dominance Against Non-Conference Foes
    NC State's home court has not been welcoming to non-conference opponents since the RBC Center opened for the 1999-2000 season. The Pack has posted an 87-11 (.888) record in such games. Under Lowe, the Wolfpack has a 31-5 (.861) mark against non-conference opponents at home, losing only to No. 10 Alabama in 2007, New Orleans in 2008, Marquette in 2009, and Northwestern and Florida last season.

    Last Year Versus Arizona
    Arizona's Nic Wise drove the length of the court and hit a layup with less than one second remaining as Arizona overcame a late NC State rally, 76-74, on Dec. 23. NC State was down eight points (69-61) with 53 seconds left, but eventually tied the score at 74-74 with six seconds left before Wise hit the game- winner. The Pack played without Tracy Smith who was suspended. Javier Gonzalez scored a team-high 18 points, with 16 of his points coming in the second half and 10 points in the final 30.4 seconds of the game. Jordan Vandenberg got the start for Smith and pulled down a career-best 11 rebounds in 25 minutes.

    Last Time Out for NC State
    NC State overcame another slow start and downed visiting Youngstown State, 67-50, at the RBC Center on Thursday night. The Penguins opened the game with a 20-3 run, and led by as many as 18 points in the first half (31-13 with 3:38 left). The second half was a different story, however, as the Pack out- scored the Penguins 46-16 and held Youngstown State to 22.2 percent shooting (6- 27) from the field, including 0-of-7 on three-pointers. The comeback was the largest for NC State since the 2007 season (14 vs. Virginia). Freshman C.J. Leslie finished with his second career double-double, as he had 14 points and 19 rebounds.

    Harrow Named ACC Rookie of the Week
    Freshman guard Ryan Harrow was selected as the ACC Rookie of the Week for his performance last weekend against USC Upstate.

    In NC State's only game of the week, Harrow came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points in the 79-60 win over visiting USC Upstate. The Marietta, Ga., freshman hit on 10-of-13 from the floor, handed out five assists without a turnover, and had three steals in his 25 minutes of playing time.

    Harrow is the second NC State player to win Rookie of the Week honors this sea- son. C.J. Leslie earned the same honor after the first week of the season.

    Alabama A&M Game Time Changed
    The Wolfpack has changed the game time for the Dec. 28 contest versus Alabama A&M. The game will now be held at 4 p.m. at the RBC Center, for fans wanting to watch the football team's bowl game at 6:30 p.m.

    Unpack the Bags
    After playing five of its first seven games away from Raleigh to start the season, the Wolfpack can unpack its bags until ACC play starts in January. NC State is currently in a six-game homestand, and will not leave the state of North Carolina until a Jan. 11 trip to Boston College, the first ACC road contest of the season. The Pack started the season at home against Tennessee Tech, then played three games in four days at the Charleston Classic. After returning home to play Fairleigh Dickinson, the Pack had back-to-back road games at Wisconsin and Syracuse.

    Leslie Stepping Up
    Over the last three games, freshman C.J. Leslie has shown why he was one of the top recruits nationally entering this season. Leslie has averaged 13.3 points and 12.3 rebounds over the last three outings, recording two double-doubles in that span.

    At Syracuse, Leslie came off the bench and finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Against Youngstown State, Leslie had team highs of 14 points and 19 rebounds. The 19 rebounds tie for the second-most rebounds in a game by an NC State freshman.

    Leslie has led the Pack in rebounding in each of the last three games, and now ranks 10th in the ACC with 7.1 boards a game.

    Harrow the Scorer
    Despite not starting a game this season, freshman guard Ryan Harrow is currently tied for the team lead in scoring at 11.1 points per game.

    Over his last two games, Harrow is averaging 17.0 points, including a season-best 20 against USC Upstate. Harrow did not break double figures in any of the four games prior to that and averaged 6.3 points a game.

    Racking Up Assists
    Scoring has been an overall team effort for the Wolfpack this season. NC State is currently fourth in the ACC in assists per game (15.0). In fact, the Pack has recorded an assist on 59.7 percent of its made field goals this season (226 FG, 135 assists).

    Three different NC State players have at least 20 assists thus far. Freshman Lorenzo Brown ranks ninth in the ACC in assists with 3.9 per game, and has finished with six assists in four different games. Fellow freshman Ryan Harrow has 30 assists this season, including an ACC-best 10 against East Carolina. Senior Javier Gonzalez has 24 assists.

    Gonzalez and Harrow, the Pack's two point guards, have also been taking care of the ball this season. Harrow leads the ACC in assist/turnover ratio (2.7), while Gonzalez is fourth (2.2).

    Filling in for Smith
    With Tracy Smith out of action, a pair of sophomores have played an increased role in the Pack's frontcourt.

    DeShawn Painter has gotten the starting nod at center for Smith. In the eight games since Smith was injured, Painter has averaged 7.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 23.6 minutes per contest.

    He recorded his first career double-double when he came off the bench and had 12 points and 10 rebounds against East Carolina, new career highs in each category. Against Fairleigh Dickinson, Painter also matched his career high with 12 points.

    Last season, Painter averaged 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds, seeing action in 26 of 36 games.

    Jordan Vandenberg has also seen an increase in playing time with Smith out of the lineup, averaging 14.8 minutes over the last eight games and 17.2 minutes over the last six contests.

    The Sharp Shooter
    Scott Wood made an immediate impact as a freshman last season. The only Wolfpack player to start all 36 games, Wood finished fourth on the team in scoring (7.8 ppg) and was the Pack's top long-range threat, connecting on 37.3 percent (63-169) of his three- point attempts.

    His 63 three-pointers made are the second-most for any Wolfpack freshman. He set a new school record for the most three-pointers made in an ACC Tournament game when he hit six against Florida State, and earlier in the season his seven three-pointers at Florida State were the fifth-most in a single game.

    This season, Wood has picked up right where he left off. He has started all nine games and is tied for the team lead in scoring with 11.1 points a game. Wood also leads the ACC in three-pointers per game (3.0) and is eighth in three-point percentage (.429). Wood has averaged 11.0 points over his last five games, hitting a total of 19 three-pointers in those contests. He has at least one three-pointer in every game this season.

    In the win over Fairleigh Dickinson, Wood hit all four of his three-point attempts, including three in a span of just over two minutes, to help the Pack pull away in a close game.

    Freshmen Trio
    In the Pack's first nine games of the season it has been the nationally ranked freshman class that has led the offensive charge. Freshmen Ryan Harrow, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie have combined to score 44.9 percent of the team's total points, as the three rookies all average double figures and rank among the Pack's top four scorers on the season.

    Harrow is tied for the team lead in scoring at 11.1 points a game, while Brown is third at 10.7. Leslie is fourth with 10.2 NC State's freshman class was ranked No. 5 nationally by both Rivals. com and, while ESPN had the Pack at No. 7.

    Balanced Attack
    One glance at the ACC stats and you will notice there are no NC State players in the top-20 in scoring. The Wolfpack offense has been a balanced attack this season, with four players averaging in double figures, but none averaging more than 11.1. NC State has had five different players lead the team in scoring in a game this season.

    In the season stats, it's the Pack's youth that is leading the way. Six of the top seven scorers on the season are either freshmen or sophomores. The freshman and sophomore classes are producing 83.2 percent of NC State's scoring.

    Arizona Game Notes

    Game Data:  Arizona (9-2, 0-0 Pac-10) embarks on its longest road trip of the season when it travels to Raleigh, N.C., to take on North Carolina State (6-3, 0-0 ACC) Sunday in the RBC Center ... The Wildcats seek its second true road win of the year in as many attempts ... In four games away from home this season (counting neutral-site games), UA shoots 45.5 percent from the field (101-of-222) and averages 77.5 points per game, down slightly from its season-long statistics (48.6/79.4 ppg), though four players average 9.0 points or better away from home ... This is Arizona’s second appearance in the RBC Center, as the Cats dropped an 80-76 decision to Seton Hall on March 18, 2004, in an NCAA Tournament Atlanta Region first-round game.


    The Rankings:  Arizona remains unranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls.  The Cats started the season unranked for just the fourth time in the last 24 seasons.


    Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller . . . is in his second season at the University of Arizona and his seventh overall as a college head coach with a record of 145-64 (.694) and 25-17 (.595) at Arizona ... Appointed April 7, 2009, Miller came to Tucson after five successful years at Xavier University, where he amassed four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances ... His clubs won the last three Atlantic 10 regular season championships (2007-09) and the 2006 Atlantic 10 postseason tournament title ... During his time at XU, the Musketeers won better than 71 percent of their conference games, including an .813 winning percentage (39-9) in his last three seasons ... Miller has made 14 trips to the postseason in his 17 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (8 NCAA/6NIT) and has a 6-4 (.600) NCAA Tournament record as a head coach ... He took two Xavier teams to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 (2008, 2009) with his 2008 club advancing to the West Regional final ... His 2007-08 team set a Xavier record for wins in a season with 30, helping him claim Atlantic 10 and NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Since becoming a head coach, all 17 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... A standout guard for the University of Pittsburgh (1987-92), Miller was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988, won a gold medal on the 1991 U.S. World University Games team and was a member of his alma mater’s all-centennial team in 2005 ... Miller, 42, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 1-0 vs. N.C. State as a head coach.


    Last Time Out:  Kevin Parrom’s bucket and free throw with 51 seconds remaining broke a 58-58 tie and Brendon Lavender’s steal and dunk 34 seconds later sealed Arizona’s come-from-behind 63-58 win Thursday in the Fiesta Bowl Basketball Classic.  UA trailed by a 20-8 count 10 minutes into the contest and slowly worked its way back by taking care of the ball (season-low eight turnovers) and with solid shooting from behind the arc (10-of-22/.455).  Parrom earned Most-Valuable-Player honors with a career-high 14 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and two steals.


    Scouting North Carolina State:  The Wolfpack enter today’s game with a 6-3 record (0-0 ACC) following Thursday’s 67-50 win over Youngstown State.  On the season, NCSU averages 71.3 points, shoots 43.9 percent from the floor (226-of-515), 33.1 percent (46-of-139) from three-point range and 67.9 percent (144-of-212) from the line.  Opponents average 67.8 points, outrebound the ‘Pack by 0.1 boards per game and shoot 39.9 percent from the floor (222-of-556).  Individually, four N.C. State players average in double-figures, led by Scott Wood and Ryan Harrow, who each average 11.1 points per game.  C.J. Leslie leads NCSU with a 7.1 rebounds per game average.


    The Series:  Today’s game is the second meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 1-0 series advantage. UA won the only previous meeting, 76-74, in Tucson on Dec. 23, 2009.  All-time, Arizona is 1-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Raleigh, and 0-0 in neutral-site games.  For more series information, please see page 43 in the UA media guide.


    Last Meeting:  Arizona 76, North Carolina State 74, Dec. 23, 2009:  For the second time in 48 hours Nic Wise saved the day for the Cats, as his driving layup with one second remaining enabled UA to hold off North Carolina State.  Wise, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, gave just enough to stave off a Wolfpack rally that saw NCSU erase an eight-point deficit with 53 ticks to play.  Derrick Williams scored 24 points, while Jamelle Horne added 12 points, eight boards and four steals.


    Against the Atlantic Coast Conference:  All-time, Arizona is 19-16 (.543) vs. Atlantic Coast Conference members. The Wildcats have faced at least one ACC opponent in five of the last six seasons. Prior to this home-and-home series with the Wolfpack, Arizona lost to Virginia, 75-72, on Nov. 17, 2007, in its last game against an ACC foe.  For a conference breakdown, see page 46 in the UA media guide.


    Ties To Raleigh:  Two members of the Arizona coaching staff have very direct ties to North Carolina State University.  UA head coach Sean Miller served as an assistant coach for the Wolfpack for five seasons (1996-97 through 2000-01), while UA associate head coach Archie Miller was an NCSU letterman (‘98, 2000-02) and a member of the coaching staff (2002-03, 2004-06).  In that span, the Millers helped NCSU amass a 170-122 (.582) record, three 20-win seasons, eight postseason trips (4 NIT/4 NCAA), including a run to the 2005 NCAA Sweet 16.


    A rarity:  With 1,858 miles separating Tucson and the capital city of Raleigh, it’s not too surprising that Arizona has played just six games within the state of North Carolina.  Entering play today, Arizona has a 1-5 record in the state that is “First in Flight:”  L, 79-92 vs. North Carolina, Dec. 2, 1988, Tournament of Champions in Charlotte; W, 68-50 vs. Temple, Dec. 3, 1988, Tournament of Champions in Charlotte; L, 78-76 at Duke, Feb. 25, 1990; L, 91-81 vs. Arkansas, April 2, 1994, NCAA Final Four in Charlotte; L, 80-76, vs. Seton Hall, March 18, 2004, NCAA Tournament first round in Raleigh; and L, 86-69 at North Carolina, Jan. 28, 2006.


    A Valuable Effort:  In what Coach Miller said was “the best game that his has played at Arizona,” sophomore swingman Kevin Parrom earned Fiesta Bowl Basketball Classic Most-Valuable-Player honors after posting a career-high 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals Thursday vs. Northern Arizona.  The 6-foot-6 native of the Bronx, N.Y., connected on 5-of-10 field goal, including 3-of-6 from three-point range, and tallied the go-ahead bucket with 51 seconds remaining.  His 26 minutes played Thursday equaled a season high.


    Digging Out:  Arizona managed to dig itself out of quite a hole Thursday, as the Cats made just 3-of-its-first-17 field goal attempts and found itself in a 20-8 hole with 10 minutes to go in the first half.  UA did manage to connect on 17-of-it-last-31 attempts (.548), including 8-of-16 (.500) from three-point range.  All told, Arizona outscored Northern Arizona, 55-38, over the last 30 minutes to earn the five-point win.  It marked Arizona’s first win this season when trailing at the half.


    Making Them Count:  The Wildcats tallied a season-low 63 points in Thursday’s win and needed almost every one of them in what turned out to be a five-point win.  Interestingly, it was the fewest points scored for Arizona in a victory in the 42-game Sean Miller era.


    Rimming, no:  Arizona’s shooting eye has been a bit off target recently, as the club has connected on just 40.4 percent (67-of-166) of its field goal attempts in the last three games, while averaging just 67.0 points per game in that span.  Certainly, it’s an interesting development for the team that shot a cumulative 51.7 percent (222-of-429) from the field through its first eight games.  Incidentally, UA hasn’t lost its shooting eye from the free throw line of late, as it’s sunk 43-of-53 (.811) charity tosses in the last three games.


    Gotta Clamp Down:  In addition to the offensive struggles mentioned above, Arizona has had difficulties recently in making things tough for the opposition.  In the last three games, UA opponents have a cumulative .510 field goal percentage (78-of-153), including a .429 clip (15-of-35) from three-point range, to go with a +0.3 rebound margin and a 69.0 ppg scoring average.  Each of those figures is a significant boost over the UA opponent marks for the season.


    A Long-Distance Connection:  With four different Wildcats sinking multiple treys Thursday, Arizona managed to post double figures in terms of three-point field goals  for the fifth time this season.  Kevin Parrom knocked down 3-of-6 long-range attempts, while Derrick Williams, Jordin Mayes and Brendon Lavender each sank two, helping the Cats to an efficient 10-of-22 (.455) from behind the arc.  On the season, Arizona is shooting 39.0 percent (97-of-249) and averaging 8.8 treys per game.


    Taking care of the Ball:  One of the keys to victory Thursday was Arizona’s ability to take care of the ball.  The Cats committed a season-low eight turnovers, marking the first time the team had been in single digits in 2010-11.  UA also converted 16 NAU miscues into a 20-11 advantage in turnover points.  Additionally, the +8 turnover margin was Arizona’s best of the season.


    Making a Move:  The Cats were able to move past Northern Arizona Thursday by outscoring the Lumberjacks 39-27 in the second half.  A quick glance at the statistics shows that UA is outscoring opponents by a solid margin in the second period, posting a +9.8 scoring margin.  In addition to averaging 43.4 points in the second half, Arizona has outscored six of 11 foes this season by 10 or more points in that particular period.


    He’s Gaining on them:  Derrick Williams continues to impress with his offensive game, as he leads the team in scoring (19.3), field goal percentage (.631), free throws (70) and offensive rebounds (32), but what continues to open eyes is his ability to hit the trey.  The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward has connected on an impressive 75.0 percent (12-of-16) of his three-point tosses and continues to gain ground on the team lead.  After connecting both attempts Thursday, Williams now has 12 treys on the year, and is just five behind team-leader Jamelle Horne.


    We’ll Take it:  Brendon Lavender tallied eight points, two assists and a steal in 15 minutes Thursday, but each of those individual statistics was meaningful.  The 6-foot-5 junior guard from Mesa, Ariz., hit treys on back-to-back possessions to give the Cats its first lead of the second half, he had assists on two field goals late that enabled UA to retake the lead late, and his steal and dunk with 17 seconds to go sealed the win.  On the season, Lavender averages 5.4 points and 1.2 rebounds per game, while shooting .444 (20-of-45) from the field.


    A Point Forward:  Forward Kevin Parrom has proven himself to be one of Arizona’s most versatile performers.  Thursday against Northern Arizona, Parrom collected four assists against zero turnovers in 26 minutes played.  It was the fourth time this season that the sophomore has played 15 or more minutes in a game and collected an assist without a turnover.  He currently leads Arizona with a 2.9:1 assist:turnover ratio and has 14 assists and just two turnovers in 77 minutes of action in his last four outings.


    For What it’s Worth:  On this date last year, UA had a 4-5 record and would get buzzer-beaters in consecutive games by Nic Wise to up that mark to 6-5 by Christmas.


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