WOLFPACK AIMS TO EXTEND STREAK OVER GEORGIA TECH
NC State welcomes Georgia Tech to PNC Arena Wednesday night at 8 p.m. The Wolfpack has won five straight meetings against the Yellow Jackets, including an 81-80 overtime thriller in Atlanta last season. NC State is 8-3 against Georgia Tech since 2009. Both teams are aiming for their second ACC win of the season.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. EXTRA TIME AGAINST GEORGIA TECH
If the last two seasons are any indication, fans are in for a competitive game Wednesday night. Each of the last two NC State-Georgia Tech contests have gone into over time. Twice, the Wolfpack has captured victory. In 2014, a late tip-in by Desmond Lee set up overtime and a runner by T.J. Warren with 0:05 on the clock clinched an 80-78 win at PNC Arena. Last season in Atlanta, two late missed foul shots gave NC State one final shot. Trevor Lacey went the length of the court and buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wolfpack an 81-80 win.
2. ONLY THE BEST HAVE BEATEN THE PACK
All nine of NC State’s losses this season have come against teams ranked in the top 100 of the ESPN.com Daily RPI. Seven losses have come against teams with an RPI of 53 or better. The lowest-rated team to defeat NC State is Virginia Tech, which edged the Pack 73-68 in overtime in Blacksburg. Additionally, NC State has had a second half lead or a chance to tie in the final minute in six of those nine contests against quality competition.
3. 5-1 AGAINST GEORGIA TECH
Mark Gottfried has coached the Wolfpack to five straight wins over Georgia Tech. After losing his first meeting against the Yellow Jackets (82-71 in Raleigh) in 2012, the fifth-year coach has not lost to Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack has won the last two meetings in PNC Arena and the last three games against Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Dating back to 2009, NC State has won eight of its last 11 against Georgia Tech.
4. SHOWDOWN OF DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINES
Wednesday’s game will showcase two of the ACC’s leaders in double-doubles. Abdul-Malik Abu owns nine double-doubles on the year, including eight in the last 10 games. Georgia Tech’s Charles Mitchell (11.7 points, 10.9 rebounds per game) is the ACC’s leading rebounder and also leads the league with 11 double-doubles. Mitchell is one of just four ACC players currently averaging a double-double for the year.
5. PACK, YELLOW JACKETS ARE BOTH DANGEROUS
The winner of Wednesday night’s contest will have its second ACC win of the season. While the two teams are battling to climb the league standings, both NC State and Georgia Tech have proven to be dangerous squads against ranked opponents. NC State owns victories over LSU (on a neutral court) and at Pittsburgh, with both teams having been ranked at the time of the game. Georgia Tech’s lone ACC win this season came against No. 11 Virginia back on Jan. 9.
TERRY SLOWLY GETTING BACK
Terry Henderson, a transfer from West Virginia who was projected to play a signficant role for the Pack this season, has slowly been improving his status after a major ankle injury. Henderson, who scored 11.7 ppg in 2013-14 at WVU, has been able to practice some shooting and agility drills. His timetable for a return is still unknown.
WOLFPUPS GAINING EXPERIENCE
The experience gained this season by the young Wolfpack squad could pay dividends for the program’s future. According to the popular basketball metrics website KenPom. com, the Wolfpack stands as the 305th most-experienced team (or 46th least-experienced) in the country. The team, when minutes played are weighted by each player’s eligibility class, averages just 1.27 years of experience. The national average is 1.70 and the average experience of the 15-team ACC is 1.48.
Cat Barber surpassed the 1,000-point mark in December, reaching the plateau in his 83rd game as a Wolfpacker. Barber now has 1,173 career points, ranking 40th in NC State history. He needs 41 points to tie Ilian Evtimov and Richard Howell for 37th place. Barber is eighth among active players (and tops among non-seniors) in the ACC in career scoring.
CAT AT THE FOUL LINE
Cat Barber leads the ACC and ranks fourth in the nation with 139 made free throws. Barber has eight games with 8+ made foul shots and ranks fourth in the conference with an .858 free throw percentage.
8 DAYS APART
Mark Gottfried and Brian Gregory are both in their fifth year. The two coaches took their current positions just eight days apart. Gregory was announced as the Georgia Tech coach on March 28, 2011. Gottfried was introduced as the Wolfpack coach on April 5, 2011.
NC State lead the series with Georgia Tech 56-37. The Wolfpack has played Georgia Tech each season since 1980. NC State is 18-10 against Georgia Tech since 2000. The series dates back to a 35-12 NC State win in 1924.
In the middle of his sophomore season, Abdul-Malik Abu is blossoming into a force. Abu, a 6-8 forward out of Boston, has eight double-doubles in his last 11 games. He scored a career-high 21 points against Florida State and then tied a career best in rebounds (14) at UNC. In ACC play, Abu is grabbing 9.1 boards per game, ranking ninth in the league.
NC State might be ranked No. 1 if PNC Arena moved to Pittsburgh. Mark Gottfried has coached the Pack to a 4-0 mark in the western Pennsylvania city. The Pack has won at Pitt twice and won both of its NCAA Tournament games in Pittsburgh last March.
IT’S ‘91, SON
One of the great performances in Pack history came against Georgia Tech in 1991. Rodney Monroe, NC State’s all-time leading scorer, dropped 48 points on 17-for-37 shooting against Georgia Tech on Jan. 13, 1991. NC State beat the Kenny Anderson-led Jackets three times that year.
CODY IN FOR CALEB
Cody Martin has started the last three games, with his twin brother coming off the bench. Cody totaled 10 points and seven rebounds and was the main defender on UNC’s Marcus Paige, who finished the day 1-for- 9 shooting. Cody Martin scored 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting vs. Duke.