Watch it at Woody's @ City Market in downtown Raleigh and get a 15% StateFans discount."> Watch it at Woody's @ City Market in downtown Raleigh and get a 15% StateFans discount.">

Wolfpack Looks to Rebound Against Wake Forest

NC State (18-8 * 10-5) travels to Wake Forest (19-7 * 9-6) this Saturday to tangle with the Demon Deacons. Tip is set for 1:30 and will be televised on CBS. <P> Premium Subscribers can chat Live in the <a href=> Premium Chat Room</a> via the "Join Live Chat" Link. <P> <b>Watch it at <a href="">Woody's @ City Market</a> in downtown Raleigh and get a 15% StateFans discount.</b>

Marcus Melvin (20 pts, 11 reb) against Wake

NC State (18-8 * 10-5) vs. Wake Forest (19-7 * 9-6)
1:30 pm CBS
Lawrence Joel Coliseum
Winston-Salem, NC
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Chris Paul was held to 4 points in Game 1 (AP)
The Match-Up: Second place is on the line Saturday for both Wake Forest and NC State. Both strong ACC programs have a great deal to play for this weekend. A NC State victory would give the Wolfpack sole possession of second place in the ACC and a No. 2 seed in the March 11-14 ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack hasn't finished second or higher in the ACC since finishing first in 1989. A Demon Deacon victory would tie them with NC State for second place, which would be just the second time since the Tim Duncan era closed in 1997 that Wake has finished second or higher (Wake finished first in the ACC standings last year). If Wake Forest wins Saturday and other games fall into place, the Deacons could get the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament.

The Last Time We Met: State 73, Wake 68… Marcus Melvin had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and North Carolina State rallied from an 18-point deficit to upset No. 16 Wake Forest 73-68 on Feb. 4. Julius Hodge scored 18 points for the Wolfpack, while Scooter Sherrill added 16. Justin Gray scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half to lead the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest overwhelmed the Wolfpack's defense in the first half, shooting 59 percent to take a 46-30 lead at the break. But the Wolfpack played better defense in the second half, tightening up on the perimeter and slowing the Deacons' up-tempo attack. After seeming to score from everywhere on the court in the first half, Wake struggled to 16 points in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Wake Forest shot just 24 percent after the break. The Deacons led 62-56 on a free throw from Williams, but the Wolfpack responded with an 11-1 run by taking the ball to the hole and getting to the free-throw line. Sherrill, a senior, came through with eight straight points that put N.C. State ahead to stay. After a three-point play from Melvin, Sherrill drained a 3 off a turnover to tie it at 62 with 4:41 to play. He followed with two free throws for N.C. State's first lead at 64-62 with 3:46 left. Then, after a free throw from Jamaal Levy, Sherrill scored on a put back and completed the three-point play for a 67-63 lead with 3:02 left.

Probable Starting 5: F – #31 Eric Williams (So 6-9 275), 14.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg... G – #1 Justin Gray (So 6-2 185), 14.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg 2.7 apg... G – #3 Chris Paul (Fr 6-0 168), 13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.6 apg, 3.4 spg... F – #10 Jamaal Levy (Jr 6-9 180), 10.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg... G – #4 Taron Downey (Jr 6-2 180), 10.3 ppg, 3.2 apg, 2.8 rpg.

Wake's Top Gun: Deacon sophomore Justin Gray was named ACC Player of the Week for the second straight week on Monday after leading Wake Forest to wins over Florida State and Maryland. Gray is the first Deacon to win ACC Player of the Week one season after earning an ACC Rookie of the Week honors since Darius Songaila in 1999 and 2000. Against Florida State, Gray scored a career-high 31 points, including five three-point field goals. In the win over Maryland, Gray scored 22 points and made five more three-pointers.

Fast Break Points
Wake Forest

NC State leads the all-time series, 124-92.
The Deacs are a game behind NCSU in the ACC standings.
Wake Forest is undefeated (13-0) when it scores at least 83 points. The Deacons are averaging 84.3 points per game this season.
Wake Forest has not been swept in a regular season series by any team since being swept by Maryland and Duke in 2001-02.
NC State is the only ACC team Wake Forest has not beaten this year.

The "Big Four":Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina and NC State -- have all enjoyed great seasons. All four teams are ranked in the top 20 of both major polls. If North Carolina (at Duke) and Georgia Tech (vs. Florida State) both have the same result on Saturday, the Big Four would rank 1-2-3-4 in the final ACC standings. That has happened three previous times in the 51-year history of the league -- 1991, 1961 and 1956.

Key Match-Up: NC State vs. The Starting Gun: It is simply a mind thing at this point in NC State's season and it all pretty much started with the last time Wake Forest and NC State met in early February. NC State needs to reverse the current trend of starting slow and falling behind. While the Wolfpack has come back to win some nice games such as the 73-68 come from behind victory against the Deacons, it has become a pattern with mixed results. Since the early February match-up with Wake, the Pack has fallen behind early in other games only to mount a fierce comeback that came up short. The Wolfpack lost close games they should have won such as UNC-CH, Clemson and Maryland. NC State needs to be more consistent if they plan on advancing in either the ACC tournament or the NCAAs. What started against Wake over a month ago can be stopped against Wake in March. NC State must be in the game early to have the energy to finish the game strong and actually pull away with the victory, something that happened quite frequently in January.

Hit up the Premium Chat: Not attending the game? Chat Live in the Premium Chat Room via the "Join Live Chat" Link. This service is available for premium subscribers and follow the game play-by-play with other Wolfpack fans!

Watch it at Woody's @ City Market in downtown Raleigh and get a 15% StateFans discount.

NC State hit 45.5 percent of its shots for the game and was just 4-of-20 from the arc. The nation's top free throw shooting team before the game (79.4 percent), the Wolfpack knocked down 19-of-23 from the stripe.

No Name Pos Ht Wt Yr City (High School)
0 Chris Ellis F 6-9 265   SO Marietta, GA (Marietta HS)
1 Justin Gray G 6-2 185   SO Charlotte, NC (Oak Hill Academy)
2 Jeremy Ingram G 6-3 185   FR Kinston, NC (Kinston HS)
3 Chris Paul G 6-0 168   FR Lewisville, NC (West Forsyth HS)
4 Taron Downey G 6-2 180   JR Oxford, NC (Fork Union Military Academy)
10 Jamaal Levy F 6-9 180   JR Panama City, Panama (Berkshire (FL) Academy)
13 Vytas Danelius F 6-9 228   JR Kaunas, Lithuania (Indianapolis Park Tudor)
20 Alan Williams G 6-3 177   SR Dallas, TX (Briarcrest Christian)
23 Richard Joyce G/F 6-5 200   SO Mount Airy, NC (Oak Hill Academy)
25 Scott Feather G 6-1 175   JR Maryville, TN (Maryville HS)
31 Eric Williams C 6-9 275 SO Wake Forest, NC (Wake Forest-Rolesville HS)
34 Trent Strickland G/F 6-5 200   SO East Flat Rock, NC (Hargrave Academy)
34 Todd Hendley F 6-9 213   FR Sanford, NC (Lee County HS)
35 Scott Benken F 6-6 215   JR Cincinnati, OH (Elder HS)
44 John Buck F 6-8 210   SO Westbury, NY (Long Island Luthern HS)
55 Kyle Visser C 6-11 224   FR Grand Rapids, MI (Forest Hills Central HS)

*Thanks to Wake Athletics for much of the information in this preview.

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