Pound The Glass

For N.C. State, success begins on the glass. The Wolfpack (11-5, 1-1 in the ACC) outrebounded nine consecutive opponents before being out-rebounded in a 75-66 loss at Boston College on Jan. 11.

For N.C. State, success begins on the glass.

The Wolfpack (11-5, 1-1 in the ACC) outrebounded nine consecutive opponents before being out-rebounded in a 75-66 loss at Boston College on Jan. 11.

The defeat snapped a five-game winning streak and put the Wolfpack, picked to finish fourth in the ACC, in danger of starting 1-3 in conference play.

N.C. State will be the underdog in its next two games, at Florida State on Jan. 15 and at home against top-ranked Duke on Jan. 19.

The Eagles out-rebounded N.C. State, 38-34.

Forward/center Tracy Smith scored 18 points but had only four rebounds in the loss. The powerful 6-8 senior missed 10 games earlier this season while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

N.C. State is trying to figure out how to mesh three talented freshmen, including starters C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, with the veterans.

The freshmen have been outstanding, but players such as senior guard Javier Gonzalez are struggling with their adjusted roles. Gonzalez went 0-for-4 against the Eagles and is shooting under 39 percent for the season.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: Freshman forward C.J. Leslie, the reigning ACC Rookie of the Week, continues to be a force inside and out. In the Jan. 11 loss at Boston College, the 6-8 Leslie had 15 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots and an assist while nailing hitting both of his 3-point shots. He's averaging a team-best 7.9 rebounds.

-- The Wolfpack shot 53 percent over a four-game stretch from Christmas until the Jan. 11 loss at Boston College, when they made only 44.4 percent. The return of senior forward/center Tracy Smith from knee surgery has made a big difference. Smith routinely draws double-teams and is a willing passer.

-- With the Jan. 11 loss at Boston College, N.C. State failed in its bid to start 2-0 in ACC play for the first time since 2003-04.

-- N.C. State is 8-1 when freshman guard Ryan Harrow scores in double figures. He scored 11 in the Jan. 11 loss at Boston College.

-- Senior F Tracy Smith had his biggest game since coming back from knee surgery with 23 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Wake Forest. Smith missed 10 games after being injured in early November and rejoined the action on New Year's Day in the win over San Diego. He is averaging 18 points and 7.0 rebounds a game in three outings since his return.

-- N.C. State is 8-1 at home following the win over Wake.

-- There are somewhat mitigating circumstances for coach Sidney Lowe's losing streak in conference openers. Wake was the first time in his stint that the Wolfpack began ACC play at home after opening on the road the previous four seasons.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1,013 -- Senior F Tracy Smith's career point total through Jan. 8, becoming the 44th N.C. State player to top the 1,000-point mark.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Having Tracy back in there makes a great difference for us. He's our main guy inside. Not only is he going to get a shot for himself, but he can settle us down. If things are getting rattled in there, we can always call a set and get the ball in his hands." -- Coach Sidney Lowe, on the impact F Tracy Smith has had on the Wolfpack since his return.

--at Florida State, Jan. 15
The Seminoles are known for their defense and have one of the ACC's top all-around players in senior F Chris Singleton. This is where senior PG Javier Gonzalez needs to step up to take the pressure off Wolfpack freshman G Lorenzo Brown, a starter, and freshman G Ryan Harrow, a key contributor off the bench.

After some struggles at the free throw line, N.C. State has put together solid efforts back-to-back from the stripe, going 17 of 19 against Wake Forest and 23 of 24 against Elon the game before that. In the two previous games, they were a combined 18 of 32 (56.3 percent). They are shooting 70.9 percent on the season in games through Jan. 8.

-- In four games since returning from knee surgery, senior Tracy Smith has averaged 18 points and nearly six rebounds. He's shooting nearly 60 percent and playing more than 28 minutes per game.

-- Freshman G Ryan Harrow has a streak of 20 consecutive made free throws as the Wolfpack heads to Boston College. He didn't go to the line in the win over Wake Forest. He is shooting 93.6 percent from the stripe in his first 15 collegiate games.

-- Sophomore G Scott Wood is shooting 46.3 percent (44 of 95) from 3-point range after going 6 of 8 from behind the arc against Elon and Wake Forest.

-- Freshman F C.J. Leslie averaged 12.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in eight games since returning to the starting lineup against USC Upstate on Dec. 11, capped by the 19-point, six-rebound effort against Wake Forest.

-- Freshman G Lorenzo Brown's eight assists against Wake were a season high. He had seven in the two games before that.

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