Quick Turnaround For Pack

The Wolfpack will have to shake off the offensive struggles it endured against North Carolina when it takes on Virginia.

A low-scoring game with Virginia might be understandable and the Wolfpack will want to push the pace even if that didn't turn out to be beneficial in Thursday night's 74-55 loss at North Carolina.

"We have battled from Day 1 and I believe we will keep battling," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said.

It will be a quick turnaround for Saturday night's game against visiting Virginia, and it could shape up as the worst kind of set-up given the hype preceding the game against North Carolina. The Wolfpack must shake off that disappointment in a hurry.

But Virginia is also coming off a game Thursday night. The Wolfpack should be anxious to move on to the next task after the misery endured against its chief rivals.

"We did not have the poise offensively," Gottfried said. "They took away one option and we didn't have the wherewithal to stay with our offense and really grind out good shots. ? It's a game we have to learn from, but at the same time we have to get ready to play real quick."

N.C. State has been so efficient on offense that the shortcomings were puzzling. Virginia will be the type of opponent that makes slick offense difficult so avoiding frustration from carrying into this matchup will be one of the priorities for the Wolfpack.

BY THE NUMBERS: 58 -- Number of consecutive free throws for junior G Scott Wood, setting the ACC record after he was fouled on a three-shot opportunity Jan. 22 against Miami. Wood, whose mark spans two seasons, passed former Duke player J.J. Redick's ACC record of 54 in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're going to try to run and score a lot of points." -- Coach Mark Gottfried, whose team had at least 71 in six consecutive games before Thursday's 74-55 loss at North Carolina.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. Virginia, Jan. 28
KEY MATCHUPS:
The Wolfpack has shown the preference for a faster pace and Virginia will make every attempt to reduce the tempo. This will be the Wolfpack's only home game during a four-game stretch and keeping track of Virginia F Mike Scott will be one of the key assignments.

ON THE SPOT: The Wolfpack has had the answers after disappointments this season, but first-year coach Mark Gottfried hasn't had his team in this position. After a 19-point loss (with a deficit that once stood at 31 points) to rival North Carolina, Gottfried will be tested to repair the damage in a turnaround of less than 48 hours. Similar turnarounds on the schedule have taken place, but not after the Wolfpack were the victims of such a lopsided loss.

An instant response would be good for Gottfried's status as well because the heightened expectations against North Carolina came crashing down. Unlike his predecessor Sidney Lowe, Gottfried didn't win in his first coaching outing against North Carolina.

FUTURES MARKET: The Wolfpack has uncovered another offensive weapon in junior C DeShawn Painter. He could emerge as another option because of a nice mid-range shooting touch. His ability to fill in for foul-plagued F Richard Howell in Sunday's victory at Miami was significant because he came within one point of matching a career high by scoring 18 points. And he logged 33 minutes, so his durability was another plus. He's the only true post player coming off the bench for any prolonged stretches and he has set a foundation that could bode well.

PLAYER NOTES
--Junior F Richard Howell had fallen into foul trouble in back-to-back games and that's a problem for the Wolfpack, which doesn't have a lot of depth to begin with. Against Miami, junior F DeShawn Painter came through with a solid performance, but Painter was rather ordinary against North Carolina. Howell lasted only 16 minutes before fouling out against the Tar Heels, managing only one rebound. He started the day third in the ACC in rebounding with an average of 9.4 per game.

--Sophomore G Lorenzo Brown at least took a memorable moment from the loss at North Carolina. His heave from about three-quarters court banked in to end the first half, pulling the Wolfpack to within 37-23. A year ago, Brown produced one of his best outings in a road loss to the Tar Heels. This time, he was stuck with five turnovers compared to six assists.


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