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Must Win For NC State?

NC State (10-4, 0-1) faces Duke (11-0, 1-0) at the RBC Center and looks to break a three-game losing streak. <P><B><CENTER> <a href=>Premium Chat</a> | <a href="'','GameTrackermbaskbl','toolbar=no,resizeable=no,scrollbars=no,width=780,height=540'); void('');">GameTracker</a></b></center>

Location: RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.

Television: ESPN

Radio: Airtime begins @ 6:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information

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    Duke Information

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    Probable North Carolina State Starters

    # Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. GP-GS PPG RPG Ast
    14 Engin Atsür G 6-3 200 So. 14-14 8.0 2.7 31 40 Andrew Brackman F 6-10 205 Fr. 14-2 9.3 4.6 32 Jordan Collins C 6-10 242 Sr. 14-14 7.6 3.0 3 Ilian Evtimov F/C 6-7 232 *Jr. 14-2 8.1 3.1 35 24 Julius Hodge F/G 6-7 205 Sr. 13-12 18.8 7.2 61

    Probable Duke Starters

    Name Pos Ht Wt Cl-Exp PPG/RPG/APG
    4 J.J. Redick G 6-4 190 JR-2L  21.5/2.8/3.0
    5 Daniel Ewing G 6-3 185 SR-3L  16.8/2.8/4.3
    13 Lee Melchionni F 6-6 205 JR-2L  5.8/2.4/1.1
    15 Sean Dockery G 6-2 185 JR-2L  6.5/2.6/2.4
    23 Shelden Williams F 6-9 250 JR-2L  14.1/12.0/0.5

    Players to Watch

    NC State
    Julius Hodge -- NC State senior's time to step up and lead his team as the Wolfpack's clearly struggling.

    Shelden Williams -- The 'Landlord' will need to have a big game for Duke tonight with Reggie Love and Shavlik Randolph unavailable.

    NC State Notes

  • NC STATE DROPS CONFERENCE OPENER: The Wolfpack enters the game with fifth-ranked Duke down 0-1 in conference play, as NC State dropped a one-point game in its first league matchup with Miami. The squad has now gone 1- 3 when playing its first ACC contest on the road under Herb Sendek, with the only win coming at Georgia Tech in 1997- 98.

    NC State is 5-4 in ACC openers under Herb Sendek and posts a 30-22 overall record in its first ACC game of the season. The Pack is 4-4 in league home openers under Sendek, but has won its first ACC home game each of the past two years.

  • STATE LOOKING TO AVOID FOURTH STRAIGHT LOSS: The Wolfpack enters the Duke game coming off of three straight losses to unranked teams (St. John's, West Virginia and Miami). It marks the first time the NC State has dropped three straight games since the 2000-01 season, when State lost three in a row to fifth-ranked North Carolina, 12thranked Wake Forest and 12th-ranked Syracuse.

    The Wolfpack hasn't lost four straight games since the 1999-2000 season, when State opened 15-4 and then dropped seven straight.

  • TO THREE, OR NOT TO THREE: Half of the Wolfpack field goals made in the loss at Miami were three-pointers (12-24), the highest percentage of three's for the Pack in the past 26 games. NC State's dozen three pointers marked the second-highest mark of the season, highest in 11 games.

    The Wolfpack, traditionally known as a three-point shooting team, has been up and down on three-pointers this season. In five games, NC State has hit 10 or more three pointers and in four games, has hit five or less. Thirty-percent of the Wolfpack 's field goals (115-381) have been three pointers (the mark stood at 34% last season).

    Despite the high output, only three Wolfpack players hit three pointers in the contest with Miami: Ilian Evtimov (5), Andrew Brackman (4), Engin Atsür (3).

    The Wolfpack started off the season with a respectable three-point percentage of .379 (72-190) in its first eight games (which were all at home). In the last six games, four of which have been losses, that percentage is down to .294 (43-146).

  • SECOND-HALF LETDOWNS: N C State has lost four of its last six games after opening the season with a perfect 8-0 mark. One key factor behind the losses could be the Wolfpack's secondhalf letdowns.

    In the first eight games of the season, The Wolfpack averaged 44.4 points in the second half. In the last five outings, that tally is down to 36.2. Defensively, the swing is almost as dramatic. In the first eight games, the opposition averaged 31.6 points in the second half. In the last six, that mark is up to 38.7 points.

  • DEFENSIVE LAPSES HURT PACK: A hallmark of Wolfpack basketball under Herb Sendek has been solid defense. NC State started out the season playing solid defense, allowing just 58.7 points per game in its first 10 contests and ranking among ACC leaders in field goal percentage defense.

    In the last four games, however, (three of which have been losses), NC State has given up its three highest opponent field goal percentages of the season. Columbia shot .542 in a Wolfpack win on Dec. 28, while West Virginia connected on .588 of its shots and defeated the Pack on Jan. 2. Miami shot 47% from the field.

  • BETHEL BUG BAFFLING: Junior point guard Tony Bethel hopes that he is on the upswing from the bizarre string of illnesses that have hampered and sidelined him for almost a month. Bethel's bout began as the flu back in mid-December, when the Wolfpack travelled to the west coast to take on Washington and then played at BYU.

    After Christmas, when the Pack was playing in New York, he began having severe diarrhea, losing 15 pounds in a matter of days. That problem was diagnoses as colitis, which the medical staff has now discovered was caused by a bacteria that could have been come from eating chicken that was not thoroughly cooked. One of the strange manifestations of that particular bacteria is swelling in the joints, which Bethel began experiencing late last week. When the Pack left for Miami, he was on crutches and since then his wrist has become swollen and stiff. Unfortunately, the normal antiinflammatory medications that would be prescribed can't be because of the colitis. The doctors are confident that Bethel is on the road to recovery, as his stomach problems seemed to have cleared. He hopes to be back in action for the Georgia Tech game on the 16th.

    After averaging 29.6 minutes per game in the first 10 contests of 2004-05, Bethel has played just 18.3 minutes in the last three outings (before sitting out the Miami game). He has not connected on a field goal attempt in the last three games in which he has played (0-9). At 6-2, 178 pounds (before the illness) Bethel is the smallest player on the Wolfpack squad, but that doesn't stop him from getting his hands on a lot of loose balls or jumping over his taller teammates and opponents for rebounds. Bethel currently ranks third on the team with 4.1 rebounds per game.

    The redshirt junior was leading the team with 105 deflections (he now ranks second), has stolen the ball a team-high 21 times and has dished out 40 assists - the second-highest total on the team. His five steals against Louisiana Lafayette was a season high.

    Duke Notes

  • DUKE IN JANUARY: Duke is 166-50 during the month of January under Mike Krzyzewski, including a 3-0 record this season. The Blue Devils have a 14-game January winning streak entering the N.C. State game on Thursday. Duke's last loss in a January contest came on Jan. 22, 2003 at N.C. State (80- 71).

  • ACC DOMINANCE: Duke has dominated the ACC regular season like no other program during the past eightplus seasons. The Blue Devils have won 109 league games (22.5 games ahead of the next team), six regular season ACC championships and five ACC Tournament titles in succession (1999-2003). In 2003, Duke became the first team in league history to win five straight ACC Tournament championships.

  • COACH K MOVING UP VICTORY LADDER: Mike Krzyzewski is one of just 17 coaches in Division I history to reach 700 career wins (he now has 705). His 705 wins rank in 17th place among college basketball's victory leaders (sixth among active coaches). With 632 victories as the Duke head coach, Krzyzewski is also one of just 13 coaches to win at least 600 games at one school.

  • DUKE IN ELITE VICTORY CLUB: Duke is one of just four schools in NCAA history to have earned at least 1,700 all-time victories. Now with 1,748 wins, the Blue Devils join Kentucky (1,886), North Carolina (1,840) and Kansas (1,836) as members of the prestigious 1,700-win club.

  • THE SENIOR EWING: Senior Daniel Ewing is being asked to do a lot of different things for the Blue Devils this season and so far, the results have been encouraging. He is Duke's most experienced returning player with 3,056 career minutes as a collegian. The two-time team captain has helped Duke win 99 games in his career. The 2003 ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player has opened 2004-05 by leading the team in assists (4.3) and steals (2.9). He also ranks second on the team in scoring (16.8), three-point field goals (25) and three-point percentage (.373).

    Ewing has played in 116 games, starting 58 times. He has a team-best 69 double-figure scoring games and has reached 10 points or more in 22 of his last 23 contests dating back to last season.

    He now ranks 34th among Duke's all-time leading scorers with 1,275 points and has eight 20-point games in his career, including a season-best 29- point game vs. No. 11 Michigan State on Nov. 30.

  • REDICK STARTS SEASON WELL: Duke's leading returning scorer from a year ago (15.9 ppg), junior J.J. Redick has started the year well, averaging a team- and ACC-best 21.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He is climbing up Duke's all-time scoring chart with 1,321 points, 30th on the school's career leaders list. He has reached double digits in 66 of 81 career games, including a team-best 29 20-point outings. A constant long-range threat, Redick has made at least one three-point field goal in 78 games, including a current streak of 24 in succession.

    Not only has Redick produced offensively, but he has done a good job on the defensive end of the floor as well in 2004-05. He was a preseason All-America selection by Blue Ribbon and Dick Vitale and an All-ACC pick in 2004-05 by the league's media. Redick is a finalist for the Wooden, Naismith and Rupp National Player of the Year awards.

  • THE LANDLORD: By posting 14.1 points and an ACC-best 12.0 rebounds per game, junior Shelden Williams is averaging a double-double for the Blue Devils to start the 2004-05 season. Williams leads Duke in field goal percentage (.578), rebounding (12.0) and blocked shots (40).

    Nicknamed "The Landlord," Williams is one of the top players at both of ends of the court now in his third season as a Blue Devil. A preseason All- America selection by several outlets, Williams has 47 double-figure scoring games (eight 20-point contests) and 29 double-figure rebounding games as a collegian. He has grabbed at least seven rebounds in 42 of his last 58 games.

    Defensively, he is a leading candidate for National Defensive Player of the Year honors after becoming an intimidating shot-blocking presence for Duke as well. The team leader with 3.6 blocks per game in 2003-04, he has blocked at least one shot in 67 of his 81 career games and at least two in 45 of his last 55 contests. He swatted a seasonbest seven shots on Dec. 14, 2004, vs. Illinois- Chicago. He is fourth on Duke's all-time blocked shots list with 203 in his career (immediately ahead is Cherokee Parks with 231) and established the single-season record in 2003-04 with 111. He is one of only two Duke players in history to average more than two blocks per game in his career.

    Williams averages 2.5 per game. Mike Gminski averaged 2.8 rejections per game. Photo Gallery

    Redick ... Williams

    Daniel Ewing ... Mike Krzyzewski

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