NC State (17-11, 7-8) hosts Wake Forest (25-4, 12-3) in a game that could earn the Wolfpack a NCAA Tournament bid. <P><B><CENTER>
RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina
Tip-Off: 8:00 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports Net
Radio: Airtime begins @ 7:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
Wake Forest Information
NC State's Probable Starters
G Tony Bethel 8.5 ppg 4.0 rpg
G Engin Atsur 9.1 ppg 2.5 apg
G Julius Hodge 17.5 ppg 7.0 rpg
F Ilian Evtimov 8.8 ppg 3.6 rpg
C Jordan Collins 7.0 ppg 2.6 rpg
Wake Forest's Probable Starters
G Justin Gray 16.3 ppg 2.3 rpg
G Chris Paul 15.1 ppg 4.4 rpg
C Eric Williams 16.1 ppg 7.7 rpg
F Vytas Danielus 7.3 ppg 4.4 rpg
F Jamaal Levy 7.6 ppg 6.7 rpg
Players to Watch
Julius Hodge -- In what could be his last game at the RBC Center, Hodge faces the ACC team he's had the most success against. The Wolfpack guard is averaging 20.1 points per game on 56 percent shooting from the floor versus the Deacons in his career.
Chris Paul -- He's the engine for Wake Forest. The ACC Player of the Year candidate has been solid against the Wolfpack during his career, but for the most part he's been held in check.
NC State Notes
EARLIER THIS SEASON AGAINST
WAKE FOREST: Feb. 10, 2005 in Winston-Salem: Sixth-ranked
Wake Forest had five players
reach double figures and used a 16-point
halftime advantage to hold off a second
half NC State rally for a 86-75 win. The
Demon Deacons led by as many as 19 in
the second half, but NC State cut the lead
down to five with 7:31 left. Wake Forest
would then use a 6-0 run, and keep NC
State scoreless for almost three minutes
to secure the win.
Julius Hodge came off
the bench and matched his season-high
with 27 points, on 10-of-13 shooting and
7-of-8 on free throws. NC State committed
a season-high 20 turnovers, and Wa k e
Forest connect on 35-of-42 (.833) free
HODGE LOVES THE DEACS: Julius
Hodge has enjoyed greater success
against Wake Forest than any other team
in the ACC. In his eight career contests
against the Demon Deacons, Hodge has
averaged 20.1 points, shooting 56% from
the field, 45% on threes and 89% from
the free throw line. His only flaw statisticually
seems to be his turnovers, as he has
tallied 18 against 18 assists.
Hodge's 27 points against Wake earlier
this season was the best of his senior
campaign. He scored his career-high of
31 against the Deacs as a sophomore.
THREE SENIORS (PLUS AN ‘AND
ONE') TO PLAY FINAL HOME GAME: Three Wolfpack seniors will play their final
home game on Sunday, while a graduate
student will play his SECOND final home
game. Seniors Jordan Collins, Julius
Hodge and Levi Watkins make up the
senior class, while graduate student Will
Roach, who went through senior night activities
last season but decided to return
for his final year of eligibility will be in his
LAST last game at the RBC Center.
The Wolfpack seniors have led NC
State to three consecutive NCAA Tournament
bids. Hodge, Collins and Watkins
have played in 315 games, 6,761 minutes
and scored 2,760 points collectively over
FINISHING STRONG: If NC State were
to upset Wake Forest, the squad would
have finished the season winning five of
its last six games. That would be the
strongest regular season finish for the
Wolfpack since the 1987-88 season,
when Jim Valvano's squad won its last
five contests, five of its last six.
COLLINS SAVES BEST FOR LAST: Senior
center Jordan Collins has been playing
some of the best basketball of his
career of late. He has scored in double
figures in each of the last three contests,
the first time he has done so in his career.
In the last three games, two of which
have been Wolfpack wins, Collins has averaged
14.3 points on 52% shooting from
the field, 38% from behind the three-point
arc and 78% from the charity stripe. He
has also blocked six shots in the last three games, moving into a tie for the
team lead in that category with 30 for the
ROAD WARRIORS: The win at Virginia
on Wednesday night marked the fourth
ACC road win for NC State this season,
its ninth in the last two years. Heading
into the weekend's games, that mark
ranked second (Duke- 10) among all league teams
during that time frame.
Wake Forest Notes
DEACONS RALLY PAST JACKETS, 98-91: Vytas Danelius and Taron Downey kept No. 4 Wake Forest unbeaten at home by pulling the Demon Deacons out of an 11-point deficit and rallying them to a 98-91 victory over Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.
Danelius had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Downey scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and sparked two pivotal runs with 3-pointers.
Jamaal Levy, Wake Forest's only other scholarship senior, scored nine of his 10 points in the second half.
The trio turned it up after falling behind 45-37 at halftime and getting a lecture from coach Skip Prosser during the break.
Downey said the Deacons played horrible defense in the first half, then turned it around after Prosser's scolding. Wake Forest had just three turnovers in the second half, and outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 37-29.
* Deacon junior Trent Strickland and Wolfpack junior Cameron Bennerman both previously played at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.
* NC State's Ilian Evtimov attended high school in Winston-Salem at Reynolds before transferring to Bishop McGuiness.
* Deacon freshman Cameron Stanley hails from Raleigh, where he attended Millbrook High School.
* Wake (Josh Howard in 2003) and NC State (Julius Hodge in 2004) have produced the last two ACC Players of the Year.
* Bill Newton, who previously worked in the WFU media relations office, now works in a similar capacity at NC State.
DEACONS HOT FROM BEHIND ARC: Over the last three games, Wake Forest is 29-of-59 (49.2 percent) from three-point range. The Deacons are shooting 40.8 percent for the season, which ranks seventh nationally and second in the ACC.
GRAY IN ELITE COMPANY: Wake Forest junior Justin Gray is one of just eight players in Demon Deacon history to accumulate 1,200 career points, 200 assists and 100 steals. From the list below, only Randolph Childress, Tony Rutland and Gray have 200 career 3-pointers.
Chris Paul ... Jamaal Levy
Justin Gray ... Eric Williams
Taron Downey ... Vytas Danelius