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Huge Game For Pack, Terps

NC State (11-6, 1-3) faces Maryland (11-4, 2-2) at the Comcast Center and looks to secure its first ACC road win. <P><B><CENTER> <a href=>Premium Chat</a> | <a href="'','mbaskblGameTracker','toolbar=no,resizable=no,scrollbars=no,width=780,height=540'); void('');">GameTracker</a></b></center>

Location: Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland

Tip-Off: 6:00 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Net

Radio: Airtime begins @ 5:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information

  • Roster
  • Schedule

    Maryland Information

  • Roster
  • Schedule

    Probable North Carolina State Starters

    14 Engin Atsür G 6-3 200 So. 17-17 7.6 2.7 41
    40 Andrew Brackman F 6-10 205 Fr. 17-5 9.6 5.1 †27
    32 Jordan Collins C 6-10 242 Sr. 17-14 6.9 2.6 †21
    3 Ilian Evtimov F/C 6-7 232 *Jr. 17-5 8.1 3.1 42
    24 Julius Hodge F/G 6-7 205 Sr. 16-15 18.4 7.6 71

    Maryland's Probable Starters

    F 22 Nik Caner-Medley (15-14) 6-8 241 Jr. 17.0 5.3 
    F 4 Travis Garrison (15-15) 6-8 238 Jr.  10.0 6.5 
    F/C 25 Ekene Ibekwe (15-15) 6-9 210 So.  8.5 6.6 
    G 13 Chris McCray (14-14) 6-5 195 Jr.  12.4 4.1 
    G 11 John Gilchrist (15-14) 6-3 194 Jr.  14.5 5.8 

    Players to Watch

    NC State
    Julius Hodge --
    Last season, Hodge averaged 28.7 points in the three games against Maryland (State dropped two of those contests), including 31 points in the A C C Tournament to tie his career high.

    Nik Caner-Medley --
    Caner-Medley is averaging 27.3 points per game over his last three contests.

    NC State Notes

  • HODGE LIKES THE TERPS: Senior Julius Hodge has posted some of his best career numbers against Maryland, averaging 19 points in his eight games against the Terrapins. Hodge has shot 55% from the field and 40% from behind the threepoint arc, and has connected on an impressive 91% of his foul shots .

    Last season, Hodge averaged 28.7 points in the three games against Maryland (State dropped two of those contests), including 31 points in the ACC Tournament to tie his career high.

  • ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After playing two consecutive home games against Duke (1/13) and Georgia Tech (1/16), the Wolfpack packed its bags for two straight road games, as Herb Sendek's squad played at Virginia Tech on Wednesday and will play at Maryland on Sunday. In fact, NC State is playing four of its next five games on the opponent's home court, as the Wolfpack will make a brief visit back to the RBC Center to take on Florida State on Jan. 26, then heads to Clemson on the 29th and to UNC on Feb 3.

    After playing eight home games to open the season, the Wolfpack is now in the middle of playing 12 of its next 16 away from home. NC State and Clemson are the only A C C schools who are playing five of their first eight league games on the road this season. The good news is that State will close out the season with four of its last five at home.

  • PACK DOWN EARLY IN CONFERENCE ACTION: The Wolfpack has opened ACC play with a 1-3 slate, the worst conference start since 2000-01, when the Pack went 5-11 in league play. NC State opened ACC play with two straight losses, the first time the Pack had opened 0-2 in the league since the 2000-01 season.

    The squad bounced back with a win over eighth-ranked Georgia Tech on January 16, halting its losing streak at four and marking the Pack's first victory over a ranked team this season (in three tries).

    Two of the Pack's three league losses have been by one point, as the team dropped nail-biters at Miami (66-67) and at Virginia Tech (71-72). The average margin in the three league losses is 4.7 points.

  • BETHEL COULD BE BACK: Junior point guard Tony Bethel hopes to be able to play back in his home state this weekend after missing the last four games. He resumed practice on Monday, January 17 and although his stamina is not what it was before he fell ill, he thinks he will be ready to play against Maryland.

    Bethel is recovering from a bizarre string of illnesses that have hampered and sidelined him for 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. One of the strange manifestations of that particular bacteria is swelling in the joints, which Bethel began experiencing late before the Miami game - even having to walk with crutches for a couple of days.

    After averaging 29.6 minutes per game in the first 10 contests of 2004-05, Bethel played just 18.3 minutes in his next three outings (before sitting out the last four contests). He did not connect 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 still 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 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.

  • VANISHING LEADS: The Wolfpack has had difficulty holding on to leads this season in several of its wins and losses. In all three of the team's conference losses this season, NC State has led by double-digits at some point in the game.

    In the Pack's one-point loss at Miami on January 9, the squad held a 12-point lead with 6:26 remaining in the first half, but the Hurricanes came back to tie it up before the break. Against Duke on Jan. 13, the Wolfpack led by 10 with 7:07 on the clock in the first half, but Duke had cut it to three by halftime and came back to win, 74-86.

    On Wednesday at Virginia Tech, the Wolfpack led by 13 early in the second half and held an 11-point advantage with just 7:30 remaining in the game. Against Georgia Tech, the Pack's sole conference victory, NC State led by 16 points late in the first half (4:53), but the Yellow Jackets cut it to three with 2:43 left in the game before the Pack won 76-68.

    NC State also lost large leads in two of its last three games of last season. In the A C C Tournament semifinals against Maryland, the Pack led by 21 points with under a minute left in the first half and ended up losing, 82-85. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, State led Vanderbilt by 11 points with just 3:45 left in the game, but lost 73-75.

    Maryland Notes -- Gary Williams Pregame Quotes

  • On preparing for NC State: "They have had to play some tough teams and have been on the road, and they also beat Georgia Tech at home. They've had guys out, [Tony] Bethel and [Levi] Watkins, so it's not like they've been 100 percent. It's tough to get ready to play from that standpoint, not knowing who is going to play a lot of minutes in some cases, because they've played some young guys that have played well. Now, if everybody is healthy, do you bring back those guys or play the young guys that have been playing well?"

  • On the play of Nik Caner-Medley: "I have always felt that Nik is a much better player when he goes to the offensive glass, because he is a good offensive rebounder. For the last three games, he's been pretty consistent going to the rim, and that changes how teams can defend you. It makes it easier to get your outside shot off if you are attacking the basket. Offensive rebounding is not a natural thing in basketball - if it was, more guys would be good at it."

  • On Caner-Medley's attitude:"I think it's been an all-year thing for Nik, but he's been more aggressive and tougher out there on the court. That's what we need as a team. I think any team that competes in a good league has to be that way."

  • On the play of Will Bowers: "I think Will is starting to believe that he could be a good basketball player. That's part of being a good player - to believe in yourself. I think in practice about a month or so ago he started to get the idea that he is as good as anybody else, and he wanted some playing time, so he has worked hard. He has no fear when he gets into the game. He's still working on some things, but he has moved into a pretty good position for being halfway through his sophomore year."

  • On the courageous effort by Chris McCray vs. Virginia: "We made the [defensive] switch [on UVa's Devin Smith] at halftime, and Chris did a great job. I think he was loose by then, and feeling a little better than he did at the start of the game. At least he knew he could play - he was going to try to play and see how that would go - but by then he knew he could. He kind of forgot about his injury and just played, which was important."

  • On the team's reaction to D.J. Strawberry's injury: "We had a good practice [after the news]. Sometimes that does force people to evaluate their own situation, and they realize, all of a sudden, how important they are to the team. If you are a good team you make up for the injury. In other words, you miss Strawberry's ability, what he gave you 22 minutes per game with his defense and his effort and things like that, but at the same time, if you have a couple of guys on the team you can make that up with two or three guys. We can have it come from different lineups, with Mike Jones playing more minutes, and with Sterling Ledbetter getting in there also. There are ways to do it. So far we have done a good job accepting the responsibility of stepping up."

    Photo Gallery

    Gilchrist ... McCray

    Caner-Medley ... Ibekwe

    Garrison ... Williams

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