Pack Downs Yellow Jackets, 83-70

RALEIGH, N.C. - For the second game in a row, NC State's No. 20 ranked men's basketball team came through in the clutch, surging past Georgia Tech in the final eight minutes of what had been a close game for an 83-70 victory Wednesday at PNC Arena.

Junior Lorenzo Brown led the Wolfpack with 21 points, as well as 10 assists, his fourth double-digit assist total of the season.

"Outside a couple of careless passes here and there, Lorenzo has been very good for us," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. "He's making key shots at key times offensively and defensively, he's doing a good job for our team."

Senior Scott Wood had his second consecutive late-game performance, hitting four 3-pointers and four of five free throws for his 20 points. Wood now has 20 3-pointers in the Pack's last six games.

It was the ninth consecutive victory for the Wolfpack (13-2 overall, 2-0 ACC) and the 10th straight home win.

Junior C.J. Leslie also had 19 points for the Wolfpack, along with seven rebounds, for his 11th straight double-figure scoring game and 14 in the Pack's 15 games this season. Freshman Rodney Purvis added 13.

Senior Richard Howell didn't hit double figures or have a double-double, but he did have a game-high 12 rebounds. The Pack is now 20-5 over the last two seasons when Howell grabs double-figure boards.

"We did a nice job getting the ball where we wanted it late," Gottfried said. "We made some really big shots. Scott Wood obviously had a couple and Lorenzo made some too. I thought defensively in the second half, we were a lot better.

"We guarded them pretty well in the second half and they were largely only scoring on second shots. We have to clean that up. Our defense in the second half was the difference in the game."

After a hard-fought first half, in which Georgia Tech owned a 38-37 lead at intermission, the Wolfpack came out strong after halftime, shooting 56 percent in the first half. The Pack, the nation's top shooting team coming into the contest, finished at 50.9 percent from the field, the first of Georgia Tech's opponents to hit more than half of its shots.

The Pack pulled out the double-digit victory, even with freshman T.J. Warren going scoreless for the first time in his career and Howell scoring just six points.

"I don't think there are going to be very many nights when T.J. doesn't score and Richard only gets six," Gottfried said. "I think the sign of having a really good team is when you can have different guys step up and score for your team.

"A lot of teams don't have those multiple scorers like we do. We have 83 points against a good defensive team."

Wood's late-game scoring was important for the second straight game. The Pack is now 20-2 over the last two seasons when the senior from Marion, Ind., hits four or more shots from beyond the arc. He also made his first four free throws, extending his streak since Norfolk State to 23 in a row until he missed one with less than a minute to play.

Georgia Tech led 51-47 midway through the second half, but the Pack scored six in a row on fast break points by Leslie, Purvis and Brown. With 8:47 to play, State led 53-51.

It quickly pushed that lead to double-digits as Leslie led the team in fastbreak points and Wood continued to sizzle from the outside.

Gottfried gave great for his team's mental edge in the last two contests to Bob Alejo, NC State's director of strength and conditioning.

"Our team is in great shape," the second-year coach said. "There's also a mental toughness. What happens with a team like this is that we have played good teams throughout the preseason and now it really is paying off."

In the opening half, the Wolfpack outshot the Yellow Jackets 46.7 to 42.3 percent and outrebounded them 23-16, but trailed by one point, 38-37, at the break. The Pack is now 2-2 this season when trailing at the half.

State returns to action at home on Saturday at noon, when it hosts top-ranked Duke at PNC Arena. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN.

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