NOTEBOOK: Huge Game For State

NC State heads back out on the road for its second straight ACC contest away from Raleigh, when the Wolfpack travels to Florida State on Saturday at 4 p.m.

The Wolfpack (11-5, 1-1 ACC) has split the first two ACC games of the season, downing Wake Forest at home last weekend, 90-69, and then falling at Boston College on Tuesday, 75-66. The loss at Boston College snapped NC State's five-game winning streak.

The Seminoles (12-5, 2-1 ACC) are coming off of a 66-61 home win over No. 1 Duke on Wednesday. Florida State is 7-2 at home this season, including 2-0 in the ACC.

This game will be televised on the ACC Network with Mike Hogewood (play-by-play) and Cory Alexander (analyst).

The Series Versus Florida State
Saturday's matchup will mark the 46th meeting between NC State and Florida State. The Wolfpack leads the overall series, which dates back to the 1955-56 season, 27-18.

NC State has won 17 of the last 21 games against FSU, with the Seminole's only wins during that span coming in Raleigh in 2005, 2008, 2009 and at FSU in 2007.

The two teams are meeting in Tallahassee for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. Last season, the Pack won at No. 25 FSU, 88-81. NC State is 7-10 all-time at the Donald L. Tucker Center, but has won seven of the last eight meetings there.

Last Season Versus Florida State
NC State won both contests last season, winning at Florida State and then again at the ACC Tournament.

Playing its first ranked opponent, NC State downed No. 25 Florida State, 88-81, for its first ACC win on January 12. Freshman Scott Wood went 7-of-11 from three-point range in scoring 31 points, the third-most ever for a freshman at NC State. Florida State started the game on an 11-7 run, but the Pack responded with a 16-1 run and held FSU without a field goal for 6:33 in claiming a 23-11 lead. The Seminoles cut it to four with 6:43 left, but Wood hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the lead to 10 at 65-55, and the Pack would make 17-of-20 free throws down the stretch. Farnold Degand got his first start and had 13 points, while Julius Mays was 10-of-10 on free throws and had 12 points.

Scott Wood connected on 6-of-10 three pointers scoring a game-high 18 points, in the ACC Tournament as the Wolfpack advanced past Florida State, 58-52, and into the semifinals on March 12. Florida State went into the half with a 28-25 lead, but the Pack used 50.0 percent shooting both overall (11-22) and from three-point range (4-8) to outscore the Seminoles in the second half, 33-24. FSU held a 30-25 after the first basket of the second half, but NC State went on a 8-0 run and captured a lead it did not surrender the rest of the game. Tracy Smith added 13 points and six boards, while Javier Gonzalez finished with 13 points, six assists, and five steals.

Last Time Out for NC State
Boston College closed the game on an 18-6 run, as the Eagles came away with a 75-66 home win Tuesday night. A Tracy Smith layup put the Pack up 60-57 with 4:20 left, but the Eagles responded with three straight three-pointers, and a 12-0 run to capture a 69-60 lead with 1:18 left. For the first time in five contests, the Pack failed to shoot at least 50.0 percent from the field, as NC State shot 44.4 percent (28-63), including a 5-of-23 start to the game. Tracy Smith led the Pack with 18 points, while C.J. Leslie finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Wood Shines Against Florida State
Scott Wood's two highest scoring games last season both took place against Florida State. In those two contests, he averaged 24.5 points thanks in large part to hitting 16-of-25 three-pointers in the two Wolfpack wins last year.

In the lone regular season contest against the No. 25 Seminoles, Wood scored a career-high 31 points going 7-11 from deep to help lead the Pack to an 88-81 victory at FSU. He was named the ACC Rookie of the Week for his performance. Then in the ACC Tournament, Wood connected on six three-pointers and finished with 18 points in the quarterfinal win. Wood's 18 points was his second highest total of the season.

Leslie Named ACC Rookie of the Week for Third Time
For the second time in three weeks, and the third time this season, C.J. Leslie was selected as the ACC Rookie of the Week on January 10. Leslie averaged 19.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and shot 65 percent from the floor (13-of-20) as the Wolfpack downed Elon and Wake Forest.

Against Elon, he had a 19-point, nine-rebound performance in an 87-72 win. In the Pack's ACC opener against Wake Forest, Leslie posted 19 points and six boards.

Hot After the Break
Coming back from a short holiday break, NC State's shooting has been impressive in the five games. NC State has shot over 50.0 percent in four of those five contests.

Cleaning The Glass
Last season, NC State finished last in the ACC in rebounding margin at -0.6 per game. Things have changed this season, as the Pack is currently fourth in the conference, out-rebounding the opposition 4.4 boards a game.

Before being out-rebounded by one at Boston College, NC State had out-rebounded its opponents in nine straight games, its longest such streak of games since 11 straight to start the 1998-99 season.

NC State is one of only two ACC schools that currently has a pair of players ranked in the top-12 in the conference standings in rebounding (North Carolina).

C.J. Leslie is seventh in the ACC, pulling down 7.9 rebounds a game, while Richard Howell currently ranks 12th with 6.6 boards an outing.

Pack Defense Limiting Opportunities
The NC State defense has been limiting opponents looks at the basket. In the ACC standings, NC State currently ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage defense, as opponents have shot 39.5 percent against the Pack this season. Only one opponent, Wisconsin at 50.0 percent, has shot at least 50.0 percent this season, and six of the 15 opponents have been over 40.0 percent.

The Pack has also limited long range shots, as NC State ranks fourth in the ACC in three-point field goal percentage defense (.313).

Racking Up Assists
Scoring has been an overall team effort for the Wolfpack this season. NC State currently ranks fifth in the ACC in assists per game (14.9). In fact, the Pack has recorded an assist on 56.0 percent of its made field goals this season (425 FG, 238 assists).

Four different NC State players have at least 30 assists thus far. Freshman Lorenzo Brown leads the team with 3.6 assists per game, and has finished with five assists or more in five different contests. Fellow freshman Ryan Harrow averages 3.4 assists per game, and finished with an ACC season-best 10 against East Carolina.

Senior Javier Gonzalez has dished out 34 assists, while Scott Wood has posted 31.

In the ACC stats, Harrow ranks third in assist/turnover ratio (2.3).

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