Tip-Off: 12:00 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports South
Radio: Airtime begins @ 11:30 AM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
San Diego Information
NC State Projected Starting Line-up
G Javier Gonzalez
G Lorenzo Brown
F Scott Wood
F C.J. Leslie
F Deshawn Painter
San Diego Projected Starting Line-up
G Darian Norris
G Devin Ginty
G Matt Dorr
F Chris Manresa
F Ken Rancifer
Players to Watch
Scott Wood -- Talented sophomore wing Scott Wood has been State's most consistent player this season.
Ken Rancifer - A terrific outside shooter, Rancifer has very good size. He leads the team with nine games in double-digit scoring with a season-best 19 points at New Mexico.
NC State Game Notes
NC State Hosts San Diego
NC State concludes its six-game homestand, as the Wolf- pack plays host to San Diego on Saturday at noon at the RBC Center. The Pack (8-4) is 6-1 at home this season, most recently defeating Alabama A&M on Tuesday, 82-51. The Toreros (3-10) went 1-2 at the Hawaiian Diamond Classic over Christmas, falling to Baylor and Mississippi State before beating Utah, 67-64.
This game will be televised on Fox Sports South with Mike Hogewood and Dan Bonner.
The Series Versus San Diego
This will be the first meeting between the two teams. NC State is 6-4 all-time against teams from the West Coast Conference.
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 89-12 (.881) record in such games. Under Lowe, the Wolfpack has a 33-6 (.846) mark against non-conference opponents at home, losing only to No. 10 Alabama in 2007, New Orleans in 2008, Marquette in 2009, Northwestern and Florida last year, and Arizona this season.
Last Time Out for NC State
After a short holiday break, NC State led from start to finish and easily defeated visiting Alabama A&M, 82-51, at the RBC Center Tuesday afternoon. The Wolf- pack started the game on a 20-8 run, and built its halftime lead to 42-20. In the second half, the lead was never less than 18 points, and was as high as 37 late in the game. NC State had its best shooting performance of the season, hitting 56.9 percent (29-51) of its shots, including 6-of-9 from three-point range.
The Bulldogs shot only 31.8 percent (21-66), and missed all 15 three-point attempts. Scott Wood went 4-of-6 from long range and had a game-high 18 points, C.J. Leslie finished with his third double-double of the season, 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Leslie Named ACC Rookie of the Week, Again
For the second time this season, C.J. Leslie was selected the ACC Rookie of the Week on December 27. Leslie also won the honor after the first week of the season. In the Pack's lone game, Leslie finished with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds in the Pack's 72-70 win over Delaware State. He also handed out a career-best four assists in his 34 minutes of action.
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. On Saturday against San Diego, NC State concludes 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 has gone 4-1 during this stretch. 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 then came away with a 72-70 win over Delaware State on December 22. After a short holiday break, the Pack downed Alabama A&M this past Tuesday, 82-51.
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 six games, freshman C.J. Leslie has shown why he was one of the top recruits nationally entering this season. Leslie has averaged 11.8 points and 11.3 rebounds, recording three double-doubles in that span. In the first six games of the season, he pulled down 4.5 boards a game, compared to 11.3 over the last six contests.
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 re- bounds tie for the second-most in a game by an NC State freshman. His third double-double of the season came against Alabama A&M, as he had 14 points and 11 boards.
Leslie has led the Pack in rebounding in each of the last seven games, and now ranks ninth in the ACC with 7.9 rebounds a game.
Harrow the Scorer
Despite not starting a game this season, freshman guard Ryan Harrow is currently second on the team in scoring with 10.7 points per game. Over his last five games, Harrow is averaging 12.4 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. He is also taking advantage from the free throw line. Harrow currently leads the ACC in free throw percentage, as he has hit 92.3 percent (36-39) of his attempts this season.
Racking Up Assists
Scoring has been an overall team effort for the Wolfpack this season. NC State is currently fifth in the ACC in assists per game (15.0). In fact, the Pack has recorded an assist on 59.8 percent of its made field goals this season (301 FG, 180 assists).
Four different NC State players have at least 25 assists thus far. Freshman Lorenzo Brown ranks eighth in the ACC in assists with 3.8 per game, and has finished with five as- sists or more in five different games. Fellow freshman Ryan Harrow averages 3.3 assists per game, and finished with an ACC-best 10 against East Carolina. Senior Javier Gon- zalez has dished out 28 assists, while Scott Wood has posted 25.
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 (2.5), while Gonzalez is 10th (1.8).
Setting a Rotation
After using five different starting lineups in the first seven games of the season, NC State has started the same lineup the last five games. Senior point guard Javier Gonzalez and sophomore small forward Scott Wood are the only two NC State players to start every game this season. Freshmen Lorenzo Brown (shooting guard) and C.J. Leslie (power for- ward) have been joined in the starting lineup by sophomore center DeShawn Painter the last five games.
The Pack was forced to make adjustments early, as senior Tracy Smith has been out of action since the second game of the season with a knee injury.
Smith Out of Action
NC State has been without the services of last season's top scorer and rebounder, Tracy Smith, since the second game of the season. 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. Smith has missed the Pack's last 10 contests, and has played just 34 minutes this season.
San Diego Game Notes
The USD Toreros (3-10) head to Raleigh, North Carolina for a New Year's Day afternoon contest against the North Carolina State Wolfpack (8-4). The game will tipoff at 12 noon (9:00 am PT) at the RBC Center (19,722 capacity).
This is the first meeting between the USD Toreros and North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Saturday's contest will air regionally in North Carolina on Fox Sports South (Mike Hogewood, play-by-play; Dan Bonner, color analyst). The contest will also be broadcast on XTRA Sports 1360 AM with Andy Masur calling the action; his pre-game show will air 15 minutes prior to tip-off. In addition to the live broadcasts airing on XTRA's terrestrial signal, fans will also be able to hear the broadcast on their computers via live stream at XTRASports1360.com and on their smart phones via the free iheartradio application. A audio feed is also available free of charge at www.usdtoreros.com.
WEST COAST CONFERENCE STANDINGS (thru Dec. 28th)
Saint Mary's College Gaels (10-2), University of Portland Pilots (11-3), Gonzaga University Bulldogs (7-5), Santa Clara Broncos (7-6), Loyola Marymount Unviersity Lions (6-7), Pepperdine University Waves (5-10), University of San Francisco Dons (4-9), and the San Diego Toreros (3-10).
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES DIAMOND HEAD CLASSIC RECAP
The Toreros dropped their first two games of the tournament before earning a solid 67-64 win over Utah in the 7th place contest on Christmas Day for their first Division I win of the season. In their opener USD lost to then No. 15 Baylor (83-50), followed by a 69-52 loss to Mississippi State. Butler defeated Washington State in the championship game.
COACH GRIER (4TH YEAR)
Coach Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990), 47, is in his fourth season at the helm of the USD program... He enters the North Carolina State game with a four-year mark of 52-61... Last season (team record of 11-21) was highlighted by wins over Stanford, #25 Oklahoma, Houston and Boise State... His second campaign (16-16 mark in 2008-09) was highlighted by road wins over Oregon and Mississippi State... In his rookie year (2007-08) he guided the Toreros to an overall mark of 22-14 and 3rd place finish in the WCC race at 11-3... He guided the Toreros to three wins and the championship title at the WCC Tournament (hosted by USD) with wins over Pepperdine, Saint Mary's and No. 20 Gonzaga... The Toreros then upset No. 15 UCONN in the NCAA Tournament opener with a 70-69 overtime victory, before falling to Western Kentucky in the second round... His 11 WCC wins were the second most for league wins in a single season in program history... Hired on March 26, 2007, Grier is USD's 11th head coach overall and just the 4th head coach since the Torero program moved to the NCAA Division I ranks in 1979-80... His 22 wins in 2007-08 were also the most by a Torero coach in his first season at USD. In addition to knocking off Kentucky on the road, 81-72, the Toreros earned three wins over Top-25 teams: #21 Saint Mary's, #20 Gonzaga and #15 Connecticut... Prior to USD Grier spent 16 years at Gonzaga, including the last 8 seasons as Mark Few's top assistant. Bill and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Giselle & Ashley.
USD is just 0-1 all-time against schools from the ACC... USD's only contest against an ACC opponent came during the 2008-09 season, an 80-45 loss to Miami in the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands... As a team, USD ranks in the top-4 in three WCC team categories - 3rd in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.336), 4th in turnover margin (-1.2), and 4th in blocked shots (2.9 per game)... USD individuals listed among the WCC's top-10 include Darian Norris (4th in steals, 1.6; 8th in assist-turnover ratio, 1.1; and 9th in assists, 3.0), Ken Rancifer (7th in 3-point%, .440; and 10th in 3-pointers made per game, 1.7) and Chris Manresa (8th in blocked shots, 1.2 bpg)... Rancifer leads the team with nine games in double-digit scoring with a season-best 19 points at New Mexico... He is followed by Norris (8 games; season-high 18 points vs. Boise State)... Redshirt feshman guard Jordan Mackie is coming off a personal-best 14 points in the team's 67-64 win over Utah... Against the Runnin Utes he made 6-of-7 shots from the field, but struggled at the free throw line (just 2-of-7).... Over the past four games Mackie is averaging 9.5 ppg... Senior captain Devin Ginty posted his fourth double-digit scoring contest with his 13 point effort against Utah... His career-best came during his freshman season, an 18-point effort in road win over Kentucky... Head Coach Bill Grier owns 4 wins against ranked teams with his best coming against #15 UCONN in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament in Tampa, Florida (70-69 overtime victory).
TOREROS DEFEAT UTAH 67-64
The USD Toreros delivered themselves their first Division I win this season on Christmas morning... Playing in the 7th place game at 9:00 a.m. Honolulu time in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, the Toreros held on for a solid 67-64 victory over the University of Utah... Devin Ginty made 5-of-6 free throws in the final 26 seconds and the USD men's basketball team held on for a three-point victory over Utah on Saturday... Jordan Mackie led the Toreros (3-10) with a season-high 14 points in their first win over a Division I opponent this season... Ginty added 13 points and Darian Norris 12... Will Clyburn scored 19 points, Jason Washburn 16 and Jay Watkins 13 for the Utes (7-6)... The Toreros led by as many as nine points in the first half and 12 early in the second, only to see Utah storm back for a 49-48 lead with 9:23 remaining... The game stayed close from there with Utah's Jason Washburn converting two free throws to tie it at 60-all with 1:31 left... USD's Chris Manresa was fouled on the Toreros next possession and he clutched up and converted both free throws to put his team up for good... Watkins drew the Utes within a point twice in the final 12 seconds... But Ginty, who was 7-of-8 from the line in the game, preserved the victory... Josh Watkins' 3-pointer at the buzzer was no good... For the game USD converted 46.9% from the field (23-49), 44.4% from beyond the line (4-9) and just 58.6% from the charity stripe (17-29)... Freshman forward Dennis Kramer chipped in with 4 points and 7 rebounds in just 9 minutes of action.
QUARTET OF SENIORS MOVE ON
USD's four leading scorers from a year ago have moved on due to graduation - guard Brandon Johnson (14.0 ppg), guard De'Jon Jackson (12.0 ppg), center Roberto Mafra (8.5 ppg) and forward Chris Lewis (7.6 ppg)... They accounted for 67% of USD's team scoring... Johnson left USD as the program's all-time leader in points (1,790) and assists (525)... Jackson made the biggest shot in program history with his step-back 18 footer with 1.2 seconds left in overtime that shocked the UCONN Huskies in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament in Tampa, Florida.