Gameday: NC State vs. Wake Forest

NC State (10-4, 0-0) opens the ACC schedule today against rival Wake Forest (7-8, 0-0). Tip-off is set for 2:30 pm, and the game is televised on the ACC Network.

Location: RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tip-Off: 2:30 p.m.

Television: ACC Network

Radio: Airtime begins @ 2:00 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information


    Wake Forest Information


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

    Wake Forest Projected Starting Line-up
    G C.J. Harris
    G Gary Clark
    F Ari Stewart
    F Travis McKie
    C Ty Walker

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    Tracy Smith --
    Look for the Wolfpack to make an effort to get Smith involved early against the Deacs. Establishing him in the paint should open up the perimeter.

    Wake Forest
    Travis McKie -
    Freshman forward Travis McKie has come in and been arguably the most productive freshman in the ACC not named Kyrie Irving. He is second in scoring (13.6) and leads the Deacs in rebounding (7.9) while shooting 51% from the field.

    NC State Game Notes

    NC State Opens ACC Play with Wake Forest
    For the second straight season, NC State opens its ACC slate with a familiar in-state foe, as the Wolfpack will host Wake Forest on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the conference opener for both squads.

    The Pack (10-4) has been on a roll since coming back from the holiday break, winning its three games by an average of 22.7 points. NC State also currently stands at 7-1 at home, and will be opening up ACC play at home for the first time since 2005-06.

    The Demon Deacons (7-8) snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating High Point on Wednesday, 79-63. Wake is 1-3 away from Winston-Salem, defeating Elon at the Greensboro Coliseum in late November.

    This game will be televised on the ACC Network with Tim Brando and Mike Gminiski.

    The Series Versus Wake Forest
    The NC State-Wake Forest rivalry is the oldest series for the Wolfpack, dating back to the 1910-11 season. The two squads have faced each other a total of 231 times, and NC State leads the overall series 132-99.

    The Pack holds a 93-53 advantage in games played in Raleigh, and also holds a 14-8 edge when the two teams have faced off on a neutral court. Wake Forest has emerged victorious 38 times in the 63 games played in Winston-Salem (38-25).

    NC State has won 10 of the last 17 games against Wake, including the last five games played in Raleigh. NC State is 7-4 all-time against Wake Forest at the RBC Center.

    Under Sidney Lowe, the Pack posts a 5-3 record against Wake. NC State swept the season series in Lowe's first season, and each team has won on its home court each of the last three seasons. This season also marks the second straight year the two teams are opening up conference play against each other.

    Pack in ACC Openers
    NC State posts a 31-26 record all-time in ACC openers, including a mark of 17-8 when opening conference play at home. This season marks the first time under Sidney Lowe that NC State will open conference play at home, as the Pack has been on the road in the last four ACC openers.

    In Lowe's first season, the Pack fell at No. 25 Virginia, 67-62, then opened up at No. 1 North Carolina in 2008, losing 93-62, and lost at No. 12 Clemson, 63-51, in 2009. Last season in a December contest, the Pack fell at Wake Forest, 67-59.

    Last Season Versus Wake Forest
    For the third straight season, each school won on their home court in splitting the season series a year ago.

    NC State opened ACC play on the road for the fourth straight season, with the Wolfpack falling at Wake Forest, 67-59, on December 20. Wake Forest shot 51.7 percent in the first half to take a 35-26 lead into the half. The Pack would cut that lead to four points at 42-38 with 14:31 left, but Wake went on a 6-0 run and never had a lead under seven points the rest of the game. Javier Gonzalez had a team-high 18 points to go with eight rebounds, and Tracy Smith had his fifth double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds despite playing only 23 minutes because of foul trouble.

    Five Wolfpack players finished in double figures, as NC State defeated its third ranked opponent of the season, downing No. 23 Wake Forest 68-54 at the RBC Center on February 20. Up 28-18 at the half, NC State shot 52.2 percent in the second half, including 5-of-7 from three-point range. NC State held Wake to 34.8 percent overall shooting from the field and forced 23 turnovers. Wake went 0-of-12 from three-point range, the first time a Pack opponent has failed to hit at least one 3-pointer in 633 consecutive games, dating back to a Jan. 27, 1990 contest against Maryland. Tracy Smith led the Pack with 14 points, while Denis Horner had his second straight double-double, 10 points and 12 rebounds.

    Last Time Out for NC State
    NC State opened the second half with an 11-3 run, and over- came a four point halftime deficit to down Elon, 87-72, at the Greensboro Coliseum in its final non-conference game Wednesday night. Elon hit five of its first seven three-pointers, and built two different 10-point leads in the first half. In the second half, NC State got nine points from Tracy Smith and 11 from Scott Wood, including three three-pointers in a three minute span. The Pack shot 62.5 percent (30-48) from the floor for the game, as five NC State players reached double figures: C.J. Leslie (19), Ryan Harrow (18), Smith (15), Wood (13), and Richard Howell (10).

    Smith Returns
    Senior Tracy Smith missed 10 games after undergoing knee surgery in mid-November, but finally made his return in the win over San Diego on January 1. In his two games back from injury, Smith has averaged 15.5 points, shooting 57.9 percent (11-19) in 26.0 minutes of action in wins over San Diego and Elon.

    In his first game back against San Diego, Smith started on the bench, and checked into the contest at the 15:10 mark. On his very first touch, Smith converted his first field goal attempt in nearly six weeks. He finished the contest with a game-high 16 points (7-of- 12 shooting) and played 25 minutes. Smith then returned to the starting lineup at Elon on January 5, and scored 15 points, with nine coming in the second half after the Pack was down at the break.

    After playing only six minutes against East Carolina in the Charleston Classic on Nov. 18, Smith returned to Raleigh to get an evaluation on his knee. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Nov. 19. The joint was debrided and no major damage was found. He played a total of just 34 minutes in the first two games of the season before missing nearly six weeks of action.

    Smith Closing in on Milestones
    With the return of senior Tracy Smith, the Pack's leading scorer and rebounder from last season is on the verge of a few career mile- stones. Smith is just 10 points away from be- coming the 44th player in NC State history to score 1,000 career points.

    He is also 60 rebounds from 500 for his career. He would become the 25th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.

    Hot After the Break
    Coming back from a short holiday break, NC State has been impressive in its three games thus far, winning by an average of 22.7 points. NC State started with an 82-51 win over Alabama A&M on December 28, then downed San Diego, 76-54, on New Year's Day, and won at Elon on January 5, 87-72.

    NC State has shot over 50.0 percent in all three games, the most consecutive games it has done so since late in the 2008-09 season.

    In those three games, the Pack shot 56.9 percent (91-160) from the floor, while holding its two opponents to just 33.5 percent (61-182).

    Harrow the Scorer
    Despite not starting a game this season, freshman guard Ryan Harrow is currently tied for the lead on the team in scoring with 11.3 points per game. Over his last seven games, Harrow is averaging 13.1 points, including a season- best 20 against USC Upstate. Harrow did not break double figures in any of the four games prior to this stretch, and averaged 6.3 points a game.

    He is also taking advantage from the free throw line. Harrow currently leads the ACC in free throw percentage, as he has hit 93.6 percent (44-47) of his attempts this season. He has hit his last 20 free throw attempts.

    On the season, NC State is a perfect 8-0 when Harrow scores in double figures.

    Almost Time to Re-Pack the Bags
    The Wake Forest game will be the Pack's last home contest before ACC road play starts. After playing five of its first seven games away from Raleigh to start the season, the Wolfpack returned home for a six- game homestand. NC State 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 went 5-1 during its homestand. First was a 79-60 win over USC Upstate in Reynolds Coliseum, followed by a come-from-behind 67-50 win over Youngstown State. The Pack then fell to Arizona, 72-62, and came away with a 72- 70 win over Delaware State on December 22. After a short holiday break, the Pack downed Alabama A&M last Tuesday, 82-51, and then San Diego on New Year's Day, 76- 54.

    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.

    Taking Care of the Rebounds
    NC State is one of only two ACC schools that currently has a pair of players ranked in the top-10 in the conference standings in rebounding (North Carolina).

    C.J. Leslie is sixth in the ACC, pulling down 8.0 rebounds a game, while Richard Howell currently ranks 10th with 6.7 boards an outing.

    As a team, NC State currently ranks fifth in the ACC with a rebound margin of +3.4. Last season, NC State finished last in the ACC in that category, at -0.6 per game.

    Wake Forest Game Notes

    Last Time Out
    Wake Forest used a 20-5 run midway through the second half and connected on 22-of-26 attempts from the free throw line to defeat High Point, 79-63, on Wednesday evening at the Joel Coliseum.

    The win snapped the Deacons' four-game skid and wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule.

    Along with shooting 84.6 percent from the free throw line, Wake Forest was also efficient from the field by shooting 49.1 percent (26-for-53). Many of the good looks for the Deacons were a result of a season-high 17 assists on the night.

    J.T. Terrell had a nice all-around game for Wake Forest, scoring a team-high 18 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists. Terrell was 6-for-12 from the field and 4-for-5 from the charity stripe.

    Travis McKie scored 13 points, pulled down a team-high six rebounds and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

    Gary Clark and C.J. Harris also reached double figures with 11 points apiece. Both dished out four assists, while Harris added a season-high three steals.

    Carson Desrosiers had a productive night with a career-high five blocks to go along with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting.

    Nikita Mescheriakov put in 19 minutes off the bench to score six points and pull down a career-high five rebounds.

    After the Deacons took a 38-26 lead into halftime, High Point started off hot in the second period with a 10-2 run to cut the lead to four at 40-36.

    With Wake Forest holding a 53-47 advantage at the 12:17 mark, the Deacons then used a 20-5 run over the next seven minutes to push their lead to 21 at 73-52. McKie and Clark were the biggest contributors during the stretch with seven points apiece.

    Wake Forest in ACC Openers
    Wake Forest is 26-31 all-time in ACC openers. The Deacons have won three straight league openers, defeating Virginia Tech at home in 2007-08, No. 3-ranked North Carolina at home in 2008-09 and NC State at home in 2009-10.

    This marks the first time Wake has won three straight ACC openers since winning four straight from 1994-97.

    Wake Forest will open conference play on the road this season for the first time since falling at Virginia Tech to open conference play in 2006-07.

    The Deacons are 12-17 all-time in road ACC openers but have won two of their past three with wins in 2003-04 (at North Carolina) and in 2004-05 (at Virginia).

    The Deacons are 14-14 in home ACC openers. Wake has opened conference play at home for each of the three previous seasons and four of the previous five years.

    Wake Forest is 8-8 all-time against NC State in ACC openers. The last time the Deacons opened conference play at NC State came in 1996-97 when Wake earned a 53-45 win at Reynolds Coliseum.

    Terrell Excelling In Reserve Role
    J.T. Terrell started eight of the Deacons' first nine games of the season, but the freshman guard has excelled off the bench over the team's last six contests.

    Terrell has scored in double figures in all six games and is averaging 15.7 points during the stretch. He is shooting 42 percent (31-74) from the field, 44 percent (12-27) from 3-point range and 80 percent (20-25) from the free throw line during the six-game period.

    He has hit at least one 3-pointer in all six games and is averaging almost 26 minutes during the stretch. The Burlington, N.C. native has been Wake Forest's first player off the bench in five straight games.

    Terrell's bench performances include 27 points at Xavier and 18 against High Point. He leads a Deacon bench that is averaging 22.5 points per game as a unit.

    What's Up Next...
    Following the NC State game, Wake Forest will host Maryland on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 8 p.m. The Terrapins are 10-4 and have won seven of their past nine games entering Sunday's game at Duke.

    Wake Forest has won two of its past three meetings with Maryland, including an 85-83 overtime win in Winston-Salem last season. The Deacons will play in College Park on Feb. 5.

    Following the Maryland game, the Deacons will travel to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m. The Hokies are 9-4 and have won five straight since losing their ACC opener at home to Virginia on Dec. 5.

    The all-time series between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech is tied 26-26. The Hokies have won three straight in the series, including an 87-83 victory last season in Blacksburg.

    Walker 10th on School's Season Blocks List
    Junior center Ty Walker has moved into 10th place on Wake Forest's single-season blocked shots list. Walker has 53 blocks on the year, which puts him eight blocks behind Larry Harrison (1977) for ninth place.

    Walker's 53 blocks are already the most by a Deacon since Tim Duncan had 102 blocks in 1997. Duncan holds the school's single-season record with 135 blocks as a sophomore in 1995.

    The highest block total in Wake Forest history by a player not named Duncan is Harrison's 80 blocks in 1978.

    Walker already broke Duncan's single-game blocks record with 11 blocks against Marist on Nov. 23.

    Deacons Shuffle Starting Five
    Head coach Jeff Bzdelik has used seven different starting lineup combinations this season. He has used the seventh lineup in each of the past two games: C.J. Harris and Gary Clark at guards, Ari Stewart and Travis McKie at forwards and Carson Desrosiers at center.

    Bzdelik went small at Richmond, beginning the game with no player standing taller than 6-8. Harris and Clark started at the guard positions, while McKie, Nikita Mescheriakov and Stewart started at the three forward spots. Mescheriakov was the Deacons' tallest player on the court at 6-8.

    Harris and McKie are the only Deacons to have started all 15 games this season. Stewart has started 11 games, while Gary Clark and Ty Walker have started nine apiece. Clark has started six straight games after getting three starts in the Deacons' first nine contests of the year.

    McKie Earns 2nd ACC Rookie of the Week Award
    Wake Forest's Travis McKie was named the ACC Rookie of the Week after averaging 17.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in Wake Forest's two games last week.

    In Wake Forest's loss at Richmond last Wednesday, McKie led the Deacons with 19 points and seven rebounds. A Richmond native, McKie went 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-4 at the free throw line in the return to his hometown.

    In Wake Forest's loss to Gonzaga on Sunday, McKie scored a team-high 16 points and also had three rebounds and a block. McKie did most of his damage at the free throw line, going 9-for-11. He scored the Deacons' final 13 points of the first half to pull Wake to within one, 36-35, at the break.

    This marks McKie's second ACC Rookie of the Week award this season. The 6-7 forward also earned the honor on Nov. 22 following his performances against Hampton, VCU and Elon.

    On the season, McKie leads the Deacons with 8.0 rebounds per game and is second on the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game. He leads all ACC freshmen in rebounding and double-doubles and is just one point behind teammate J.T. Terrell for the rookie lead in scoring.

    Wake Forest Owns ACC Rookie of the Week Award
    Wake Forest has dominated the ACC Rookie of the Week award over the past four seasons. Since 2007-08, the Deacons have earned the honor a league-high 17 times.

    That total easily out-distances Duke, who is second during that time frame with eight rookie awards. Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia have earned the honor seven times apiece.

    Wake Forest is the only team in the ACC with multiple ACC Rookie of the Week awards in each of the past four seasons. The Deacons earned the honor five times in each 2008, 2009 and 2010.

    Six Deacons have combined to earn the 17 awards: James Johnson (1) and Jeff Teague (4) in 2008, Al-Farouq Aminu (5) in 2009, C.J. Harris (4) and Ari Stewart (1) in 2010 and McKie (2) in 2011.

    Deacons Getting Big Bench Contributions
    Despite limited depth, Wake Forest has been getting significant contributions out of its bench so far this season. The Deacons are averaging 22.5 points off the bench on the year.

    The Deacon bench has scored 20+ points in six of its past seven games and 10 times overall this season. At least one reserve has scored in double figures in seven straight games.

    Wake's reserves scored a season-high 45 points on Dec. 18 at Xavier. The total was buoyed by J.T. Terrell's 27 points, which stands as the most points scored off the bench by an ACC player in 2010-11 and the ninth-most in ACC history.

    Gary Clark has three of the top 10 bench-scoring performances in the ACC this season, including 23 vs. Winthrop, 20 vs. UNC Wilmington and 17 vs. Elon.

    Terrell leads Wake with 14.3 points per in seven games off the bench, while Clark has averaged 13.3 points in six games.

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