NOTES: NC State vs. Florida State

NC State looks to extended its winning streak to three games tonight against Florida State. Here are some pregame notes on the Wolfpack.

Mark Gottfried has brought a fast-paced, high energy offense to NC State as evidenced by the team's scoring numbers. The Wolfpack currently ranks second in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and is tied for ninth nationally in scoring with 78.4 points per game.

The Pack's offensive production has improved dramatically since Gottfried took over the program prior to last season. In 2010-11, the campaign prior to his arrival, State ranked 115th nationally and sixth in the ACC in scoring with 70.7 point per game. Last year, his first season with the Wolfpack, the average was up slightly to 72.9 points per game - the nation's 59th-best mark at season's end.

State has already scored at least 80 points in 14 contests this season - tying for the highest total for a Wolfpack squad since 2001-02 (14 in 34 games).

Mark Gottfried is bringing top-level talent to Raleigh, as both of his recruiting classes have been ranked in the top-10 nationally. Last year, having just seven months till the fall signing period, Gottfried brought in the No. 5 recruiting class in the nation, including three McDonald's All-Americans.

It marked the first time the Wolfpack had three McDonald's All-Americans in the same class since 1979. Gottfried followed up with three more recruits signed in November and that class currently ranks ninth nationally and once again boasts a McDonald's All-American.

Gottfried came to NC State with the reputation of being a first-class recruiter. In three of his final four seasons at Alabama, Gottfried's recruiting classes were nationally ranked: 10th in 2005, 27th in 2007, and 16th in 2008.

Tuesday's meeting will mark the 49th in the series between NC State and Florida State in a series that is relatively new - as the first meeting was in 1955.

The Wolfpack currently holds a 27-21 edge in the overall series, and is 23-19 in ACC competition. The Pack's edge is due to a 12-game winning streak from 1998-99 - 2003-04. Since that season, the Seminoles have won seven of the last 12 and have taken three in a row from the Wolfpack.

The members of the NC State squad will have to manage their time wisely leading up to Tuesday's clash with Florida State.

It will mark the Pack's second game in four days, as the 7 p.m. tip will be just 74 hours after State left the court after an overtime victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon.

All four of the Pack's upperclassmen recorded career-highs in minutes played in that contest: Scott Wood (43), Lorenzo Brown (42), Richard Howell (41), and C.J. Leslie (40). In ACC action, all four are averaging at least 33 minutes of play.

Those numbers, combined with State's short bench, could make the quick turnaround a factor versus the Seminoles.

NC State and Florida State only met once during the 2011-12 season with the Seminoles, then ranked 20th, prevailing 76-62, at PNC Arena.

Coming out of the break, Florida State increased its 37-26 half time lead to 16 points, taking a 47-31 advantage with 16:59 left in the game. The shots continued to fall for the Seminoles, as they grabbed their largest lead of the game, 57-37, with 10:08 left to play.

The Wolfpack went on a 12-2 run to bring the score to 61-49 with 5:34 remaining in the game, but Florida State stretched its lead back out to 70-51 by the 3:34 mark and sealed the win by hitting 6-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch.

NC State was led by C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown with Leslie scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Brown contributed 12 points and contributed three assists.

In the current RPI, NC State sits at No. 21. The Pack is 3-4 this season against teams currently in the RPI top-50.

The Pack also currently holds the 17th-toughest strength of schedule.

All four of the Pack's upperclassmen are climbing up the charts in the ACC and NC State record books in various categories:
• Scott Wood set a new NC State record for career starts with his 126th on Saturday vs. Virginia Tech. He broke the record set by Julius Hodge.
• Richard Howell now ranks fifth in school history in career rebounds with 951.
• Lorenzo Brown is only the third player in NC State history with 500+ career assists (Chris Corchiani & Sidney Lowe.)
• C.J. Leslie is two blocks from moving into fifth place for career blocks - Cozell McQueen with 121.
• Wood now ranks 10th in ACC history - 2nd in NC State history - in career three-point field goals made with 299.

Junior point guard Lorenzo Brown returned to action at Clemson on Feb. 10 after missing two starts with an ankle injury.

Although he wasn't at full speed, Brown came off the bench and sparked the Pack's comeback win with 15 points and four assists in 32 minutes of action.

It was Brown driving to the basket and then dishing to Scott Wood in the corner that led to Wood's game-winning three-pointer with just 1.0 left on the clock in the 58-57 win.

Brown played a career-high 42 minutes in the overtime win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, dishing out seven assists and chipping in 15 points.

Brown went down with an ankle injury midway through the first half at Virginia on Jan. 29, and missed the rest of that game and then each of the Pack's next two, against nationally ranked Miami and Duke.

The Miami on Feb. 2 contest marked the first game of Brown's career that he missed, breaking a string of 59 straight starts dating back to his freshman season.

Over those two-plus games in Brown's absence (all losses), NC State went from averaging 79.7 points to 72.7 points, while assists were also down from 15.3 in the first 20 games to 11.0.

The injury to Lorenzo Brown definitely had a silver lining - and his name is Tyler Lewis. With starting point guard Lorenzo Brown missing time recently with an ankle injury, freshman Tyler Lewis' role has expanded.

The Statesville native averaged just 9.7 minutes per game over the first 20 games of the season, but with Brown out versus league-leading Miami, Lewis played 36 minutes, then 39 in a start the next time out at Duke. Over the last four games, he has averaged 30.8 minutes per game.

His production has risen in direct comparison - as his 2.1 points per game average his first 20 times out has increased to 12 ppg in his last four outings.

Now Lewis is seeing action alongside Brown, as the Pack's regular starter has returned to the fray. Lewis played 21 minutes in the overtime win versus Virginia Tech while Brown played 42.

NC State's ACC contests have all been tightly contested this season, with an average difference of just 5.3 points in the final scores. The Pack's five ACC losses have been by a combined 20 points, with the loss at Duke (98-85) being the only one decided by more than three points.

NC State's first four ACC losses at Maryland (1), at Wake Forest (2), at Virginia (3) and vs. Miami (1) were decided by a combined seven points, and all were decided in the final 10 seconds. In the last two contests, the Pack has been on the positive side of those close games. At Clemson, State trailed for most of the game, but Scott Wood's three-pointer with just 1.0 left gave the Pack the 58-57 win.

Gottfried and company dispatched Virginia Tech in an overtime contest on Saturday, winning 90-86.

On the season, NC State's average margin of victory in the six ACC wins is 6.1, while the margin of defeat in the five losses is 4.2.

NC State currently ranks second in the ACC in scoring at 78.4 points per game. That average is tied for ninth nationally. The Pack is one of six teams with five double-figure scorers, so it's probably safe to say that the offense is the driving force behind State's success.

In the Pack's 18 wins, Mark Gottfried's squad is averaging 82.3 points per game while shooting 51.8 percent from the field. In those 18 wins, NC State has been held under 70 points only twice.

However, when the Pack's offense has stalled, the results have not been positive. In its seven losses, NC State averaged just 68.6 points per game, shooting 45.2 percent from the floor (190-420). In three of those seven games, NC State was held under 60 points.

It has been almost four decades since an NC State basketball player had more double-doubles than senior Richard Howell has posted in 2012- 13. Howell leads the ACC with 15 double-doubles on the season, posting eight in conference play. Howell's season mark ranks sixth nationally

. Not since Tommy Burleson had 26 in 1973-74 has a Pack player posted a higher total. Howell had posted double-digit point and rebound totals in 14 of the last 21 outings.

NC State leads the ACC with 27 individual double-doubles this season - the next closest team is Duke with 16.

The most for any Wolfpack player over the last four decades is 7-foot-2 center Tommy Burleson's 26 during the Wolfpack's 1974 NCAA championship season. Burleson also had 21 as a sophomore and 19 as a junior for a total of 66 in his three-year career.

NC State's C.J. Leslie is definitely counted on by his team for his scoring. Leslie leads the Wolfpack with 15.6 points per game, the sixth-best mark in the ACC heading. He has posted the Pack's high point total in eight contests this season.

Leslie is also counted on for rebounding. Although his rebounding numbers sometime go unnoticed because of Richard Howell's prowess in that category, he ranks ninth in the league with 7.6 boards per game.

The junior has also been counted on for accuracy. His .548 field goal percentage ranks third in the current league rankings.

Leslie, BC's Ryan Anderson, Duke's Mason Plumlee and UNC's James Michael McAdoo are the only players in the ACC to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.

Over the last six games, Leslie has averaged 16.5 points and 10.2 rebounds. He has recorded four double-doubles in that span, and has seven on the season.

Early in the Wolfpack's win over top-ranked Duke on Jan. 12, Mark Gottfried asked his team during a time out if anyone was going to rebound.

Senior Richard Howell spoke up quickly and told his head coach not to worry - that if nobody else got any, he would get them all.

Howell lived up to his word in that game and in the games since, as he has been active on the glass more than ever before. He currently leads the ACC in rebounds per game with 11.0.

In games against ACC competition, his average is an even more impressive 12.6, which also leads all league players. Howell also leads the conference in offensive boards, pulling down 3.9 a contest, 4.8 vs. league opponents.

‘Big Rich' is currently sixth nationally in rebounding and 10th in offensive boards.

In 11 of the last 13 games, Howell has rebounded in double digits. He had a nine-game streak of double-digit rebound games broken vs. Miami on Feb. 2 - the longest double-digit rebound streak for a Pack player since All-American Tommy Burleson did it in 10 straight games in 1972-73.

Howell also continues his climb in the NC State record book. He now ranks sixth in school history in that career category with 951. He ranks second in school history in offensive rebounds with 359, just nine from tying the school record.

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