NOTEBOOK: Pack, Deacs Battle In Winston-Salem

NC State (12-11, 2-7) wraps up a stretch of playing four of five ACC games on the road, when it visits Wake Forest tomorrow. Tip-off is set for 1:00 pm and the game will be televised on the ACC Network.

NOTING THE PACK
• NC State has won 11 of the last 18 games against Wake Forest. Sidney Lowe is 6-3 all- time against the Demon Deacons.

• NC State's first four ACC road opponents have a combined 70.1 percent (33-15) winning percentage in ACC games thus far, making the Pack's road schedule the toughest in the ACC to this point.

• In NC State's seven ACC losses, the Pack shot 33.5 percent (69-206) and averaged 25.4 points in the first half.

• NC State has been outrebounded in each of the last six games by an average of 9.7 a contest. In 10 of the previous 11 games, NC State had outrebounded its opponents.

• Lorenzo Brown has averaged 12.4 points and 4.2 assists over the last five games, including a career-best 20 points at North Carolina.

• C.J. Leslie has averaged 16.0 points and 6.5 rebounds over his last two games in which he has played. In the two games prior, he scored just three total points.

• NC State has used eight different starting lineups this season, with six of those combinations being used in two games or less.

• In ACC play, the Pack's five guards/wing players (Brown, Gonzalez, Harrow, C.J. Williams, Scott Wood) have combined to shoot 82.1 percent from the free throw line.

• Harrow currently leads the ACC in free throw percentage, hitting 93.7 percent (59-63). He has hit 35 of his last 36 attempts. Scott Wood is also over 90.0 percent, hitting 28-of- 31 this season (90.3 percent).

• C.J. Leslie is tied for the conference lead in being named ACC Rookie of the Week three times. Ryan Harrow was also named once.

• Since returning from knee surgery, Tracy Smith has averaged 15.1 points in 29.0 minutes.

NC State Travels to Wake Forest
NC State (12-11, 2-7 ACC) wraps up a stretch of playing four of five ACC games on the road, when it visits Wake Forest on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Demon Deacons (8-16, 1-8 ACC) are coming off a 74-73 home loss to Miami on Wednesday, and have lost eight of their last nine games, all in ACC play. This game will be televised on the ACC Network with Steve Martin and Dan Bonner.

The Series Versus Wake Forest
The NC State-Wake Forest rivalry is the oldest series in Wolfpack history, dating back to the 1910-11 season. The two squads have faced each other a total of 232 times, and NC State leading the overall series 133-99.

The Pack holds a 94-53 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 11 of the last 18 games against Wake, and the Pack is 1-3 at Wake under Sidney Lowe (winning in Lowe's first season in 2006-07).

Under Lowe, the Pack posts a 6-3 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 four seasons, including NC State's 90-69 win earlier this year at the RBC Center.

Earlier This Season Versus Wake Forest
NC State opened ACC play with a 90-69 win over Wake Forest at the RBC Center on January 8.

The Pack opened the game on a 6-0 run, and never lost the lead, with the lead reaching as high as 29 points late in the second half.

The 90 points are the most in an ACC game under Sidney Lowe and the Pack also started its ACC slate with a win for the first time under Lowe. Tracy Smith recorded his first double- double since last season, as he has 23 points and 11 rebounds. C.J. Leslie finished with 19 points, while C.J. Williams tied a career-best with 16 points.

Last Time Out for NC State
Five minutes into the game last Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke went on a 21-2 run and never lost its lead as the No. 5 Blue Devils downed NC State, 76-52. Duke went into the half with a commanding 53-24 lead, shooting 64.5 percent and forcing the Pack into 12 first-half turnovers. The Pack improved its play in the second half, outscoring Duke 28-23 and holding the Blue Devils to just 19.4 percent shooting, but never got the lead under 21 points. Richard Howell led the Pack with 18 points, on 9-of-11 shooting, while Lorenzo Brown pitched in with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Pack's Tough Schedule
Over the first nine games of ACC play, NC State has faced tough competition. NC State's first four road opponents (BC, FSU, Clemson, UNC) have combined to win 70.1 percent (33-15) of their ACC contests this season, giving NC State the toughest ACC road schedule this season in conference play.

When talking about teams the Pack has lost to, NC State's seven losses were to teams that have a combined 68.8 percent (47-20) winning percentage. Maryland is the only league school whose opponents post a better winning percentage.

Pack Struggles at Start, Improves in Second Half
In its seven ACC losses this season, NC State has gotten off to slow starts. In the seven games combined, the Pack has shot 33.5 percent in the first half of play, and averaged 25.4 points. The Pack has shot over 50.0 percent in the first half of just one game during that stretch, at Clemson, and in three games has shot under 30.0 percent in the first 20 minutes of play. NC State has been outscored by an average of 10.7 points in the first half of its ACC losses.

NC State improved in the second half of those games, shooting 44.9 percent and averaging 38.9 points, in those seven conference losses.

Pack Struggles at Start, Improves in Second Half
In its seven ACC losses this season, NC State has gotten off to slow starts. In the seven games combined, the Pack has shot 33.5 percent in the first half of play, and averaged 25.4 points. The Pack has shot over 50.0 percent in the first half of just one game during that stretch, at Clemson, and in three games has shot under 30.0 percent in the first 20 minutes of play. NC State has been outscored by an average of 10.7 points in the first half of its ACC losses.

NC State improved in the second half of those games, shooting 44.9 percent and averaging 38.9 points, in those seven conference losses.

In the last six games, NC State has lost the rebouding edge. The Pack has a -9.7 rebounding margin over the last six games, pulling down 33.5 boards to the opponent's 43.2.

Prior to these last six games, the rebounding trend was quite different. In 10 of the previous 11 games prior to the current stretch, NC State won the rebounding battle, and the one game it lost was by only one rebound. In those 11 games, NC State was averaging 40.5 rebounds compared to 30.9 for the opponent, and was outrebouding its foes by an average of 8.8 per game.

The Changing Lineup
NC State has been constantly changing its starting lineup this season, boasting eight different starting lineups, with six different combinations being for just two games or less.

Sophomore Scott Wood has been the only player to start all 23 games this season, and has also started all 59 games of his career. When healthy this season, senior Tracy Smith has been the starter at center in 12 games. When Smith was out with a knee injury at the beginning of the season, sophomore DeShawn Painter started 11 contests.

At power forward, sophomore Richard Howell and freshman C.J. Leslie have been splitting the duties all season. Howell has started the last five games, while Leslie has been in the starting lineup 15 times this season.

Senior Javier Gonzalez (point guard - 20 starts) and freshman Lorenzo Brown (shoot- ing guard - 19 starts) have started 39 of the possible 46 games at the guard positions this year. Freshman Ryan Harrow has three starts at point guard, while junior C.J. Williams has started four games at shooting guard. In the season opener, the Pack started Gonzalez, Brown, Wood, Howell and Smith. It wasn't until the Pack's game against Virginia Tech that that lineup started once again. Those five have now started the last three games.

One Returns, One Sits
While one Wolfpack freshman returned to action at Duke, another freshman sat out the game.

After missing two games with viral-like symptoms, point guard Ryan Harrow returned to action at Duke and played 15 minutes off the bench. Before he was sidelined, Harrow took over the Pack's point guard duties. He averaged 31.0 minutes in the three games before he got sick.

While Harrow returned, classmate C.J. Leslie was suspended for the Duke game for a violation of team rules. Sidney Lowe has stated that Leslie will be back in action at Wake Forest after missing one game.

Leslie and Brown Recover From Slumps
A lot of players have their ups and downs during a season, and for a pair of NC State rookies that has been the case recently. Lorenzo Brown struggled in the early part of January, averaging just 5.0 points over a five game stretch. But over his last five games, Brown has averaged 12.4 points and 4.2 assists, including a career-high 20 points at North Carolina.

C.J. Leslie started the first four ACC games, averaging 14.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. Then Leslie got sick and came off the bench in two straight games, averaging just 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in those contests. But Leslie's recent play has been more like the beginning of the ACC season. Over the last two games that he has played, he has averaged 16.0 points and 6.5 rebounds. He scored 14 points at UNC, and then had a team-high 18 points against Virginia Tech.

Cashing in at the Line
A large part of freshman point guard Ryan Harrow's game is getting into the lane, and he has taken advantage of getting fouled by converting at the free throw line.

Harrow currently leads the ACC in free throw percentage, as he has hit 93.7 percent (59-63) of his attempts this season. He has hit 14 straight, and 35 of his last 36 attempts. Harrow is not the only Wolfpack player that is shooting over 90.0 percent from the line this season. Scott Wood has hit 90.3 percent (28-31) on the season, but does not have enough attempts to rank in the ACC statistics. During ACC play, Harrow and Wood have combined to hit 93.8 percent (30-32). Also during ACC play, the Pack's five guards/wing players (Harrow, Wood, Lorenzo Brown, Javier Gonzalez C.J. Williams) have combined to shoot 82.1 percent (55-67) from the free throw line.

Smith Set to Reach Another Milestone
In the ACC season opener against Wake Forest, senior Tracy Smith scored his 1,000th career point. Smith currently has 1,125 career points, which ranks 37th in school history.

He is 13 points shy of passing Ben McCauley and moving into 36th place.

He is also six rebounds shy of 500 for his career. He would become the 25th play- er in school history to reach 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.

Turnover Trouble
NC State has not won the turnover battle in 13 of the last 15 games, committing more turnovers than 11 of its last 15 opponents (tying the other two).

The Pack had gone nine straight games without winning the turnover battle, until the home game against Duke on Jan. 19. Last time out, the Pack had 16 turnovers at Duke compared to nine for the Blue Devils.


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