Hodge, Wolfpack Emotional After Tough BC Loss

<B>Chestnut Hill, MA --</b>Julius Hodge is his harshest critic and last night there was plenty of criticism to go around. <P>

Julius Hodge is his harshest critic and last night there was plenty of criticism to go around.

Hodge's final statistics didn't look all that bad: 25 points, 11 boards (5 offensive) and three assists.

However, Hodge was unable to lead his team to victory over future ACC-opponent Boston College and this one hurt.

"Tonight was just another case of Mr. Julius Hodge trying to do it all," a teary-eyed Hodge said. "I keep letting my teammates down."

"I just couldn't make the plays at the end and it led to our loss tonight," he added.

Hodge started the game slow, but came on early in the second half and kept the Wolfpack close despite the fact that he scored 12 of the team's 14 points in a near-12 minute stretch that lasted until late in the second half.

Down two points late in overtime, Hodge failed to convert on three consecutive possessions before knocking down an inconsequential 3-pointer at the buzzer that made it, 66-65, in favor of BC. He had a pair of shots blocked and also stepped on the end line in the final minute of the extra period.

"That's obviously an exaggeration," Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said when told of Hodge's comments. "We win and lose together as a team."

Instead of putting their nonconference road woes to an end, N.C. State (10-4) extended its streak of futility. The last time the Wolfpack beat a non-conference club away from the RBC Center was back on Dec. 2001 at Houston.

"It's tough," said Marcus Melvin, who finished with eight points and a team-high 12 boards. "It's real tough for this happen to us over and over again."

While the Wolfpack were able to get an NCAA bid over BC last season despite losing to the Eagles at home, this one could hurt their chances when the selection committee meets in March. This season, Sendek & Co. have won just one non-conference game in four tries – at home against BYU.

"It's just one of a minimum of 28 games," Sendek said. "We have too many to go. I don't remember them giving out any bids in January. We still have two months to go and there's still a lot of basketball to be played."

Smith and BC came into this one with something to prove.

"It was on my mind. We owed them one," Smith said. "We let them know that last year wasn't a fluke. Beat them once, beat them again."


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