Gameday: NC State vs. Boston College

NC State (10-4, 0-1) faces Boston College (9-4, 1-0) in the ACC home opener for the Wolfpack. Gametime is set for 2:00 p.m. and will be televised on Raycom.

Location: RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Tip-Off: 2:00 p.m.

Television: Raycom

Radio: Airtime begins @ 1:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information


    Boston College Information


    NC State Projected Starting Line-up
    G- 04 Courtney Fells
    G- 11 Gavin Grant
    G- 14 Engin Atsur
    F- 33 Brandon Costner
    C- 34 Ben McCauley

    Boston College Projected Starting Line-up
    F- 3 Jared Dudley
    F- 32 John Oates
    C- 51 Sean Williams
    G- 4 Tyrese Rice
    G- 23 Sean Marshall

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    Engin Atsur --
    NC State is expected to have Atsur back in the lineup and he is certainly going to be valuable down the stretch. The Wolfpack is undefeated in games that Atsur has played in this year, and he is averaging 13.8 points and four assists while shooting 52% from the field and 43% from 3-point range.

    Boston College
    Sean Williams --
    The junior center has emerged into arguably the top defensive player in the country. Williams is averaging 12.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and an astounding 5.73 blocks per game, leading the nation in that category. He registered a career-high 13 blocked shots against Duquesne (Dec. 28).


  • Brandon Costner leads all ACC rookies in both scoring and rebounding.
  • Costner set a new NC State freshman record with 19 rebounds against UNCW - the highest tally in the ACC this season.
  • Engin Atsür has missed each of the last nine games, the first action he has missed since he became eligible four games into his freshman season - he'd played in 100 straight.
  • Small forward Gavin Grant has running the point in Atsür's absence.
  • Four Wolfpack players - Gavin Grant, Brandon Costner, Ben McCauley and Courtney Fells- rank in the top five in the ACC in minutes played.
  • Five Wolfpack players have played the entire 40 minutes in at least one game.
  • Every Wolfpack starter has posted a career-high in terms of scoring this season.

    NC State opened conference play earlier than it had in 40 years, then played eight straight non-conference games before Saturday's matchup with Boston College.

    The Wolfpack has faced Boston College just five times in school history, with two of those contests coming last season - Boston College's first in the ACC. The two squads met at the Boston Garden Invitational on Dec. 20, 1967, with BC winning 72-55 at that neutral site. The squads then traded home-and-home games in 2003 and 2004, with the Eagles winning 93-81 in Raleigh (1/16/03), and edging the Pack in overtime, 66-65, in Chestnut Hill (1/20/04).

    On January 10, 2006, NC State followed a loss to North Carolina by heading up to No. 15 Boston College and coming out with a victory. In fact, the Wolfpack's 18 point win (78-60) versus the Eagles marked State's largest margin of victory against a ranked team on the road in over 50 years. The last time an NC State squad had won by a bigger margin on a ranked opponents home court was on Dec. 7, 1954, when the Pack defeated No. 17 Wake Forest in Winston-Salem by 19.

    The rematch in Raleigh on Feb. 25 was an exciting one, with the Eagles winning 74-72 in double overtime.

    It took an overtime period to do it, but the Wolfpack garnered its 100th win in the RBC Center against UNC Greensboro on Tuesday night.

    This season marks NC State's eighth in the facility and the squad has won 78% of it's games there (100-28). The Wolfpack has won a whopping 90% (65-7) of its non-conference games played in the RBC Center.

    NC State is the only Atlantic Coast Conference school that currently has three players ranked in the top-15 in the league scoring stats.

    Sophomore Ben McCauley currently ranks sixth with 17.1 ppg, redshirt freshman Brandon Costner is seventh at 16.7 and junior Gavin Grant is 15th with a 14.6 ppg average.

    Three of the top six largest increases in scoring outputs in the ACC from last year to this year belong to Wolfpack players. Sophomore Ben McCauley boasts the league's largest increase, going from 2.1 ppg to 17.1 ppg - an increase of 15 points per contest. Brandon Costner is third with a 13.9 ppg increase (granted, Costner played in just five games last season), while Courtney Fells is sixth with a 9.9 ppg increase.

    First, the good news: NC State plays just two road games in the month of January. Beginning with Tuesday's win over UNC-Greensboro in the RBC Center, the Wolfpack will play five of its seven games this month in the friendly confines of it's home arena. Of the two road games, just one will take place outside the state of North Carolina - as the Pack will travel to Wake Forest on January 13 and then to Virginia Tech on January 31.

    The flip side, however, is that the Wolfpack will be racking up the frequent flier miles in February. Four of it's games that month and the only regular season game during March will all be road games, with back-to-back games at Georgia Tech and Miami and then later at North Carolina and Florida State.

    NC State enters its full-fledged ACC schedule with a 10-4 record. However, in four of those 10 wins, the Wolfpack was trailing at the half and in another, Sidney Lowe's team trailed by as much as a dozen in the first half (Michigan).

    Redshirt freshman Brandon Costner etched his name into the Wolfpack record books on Saturday, December 30 - posting his third career double-double ... BEFORE HALFTIME!!!

    Costner went on to finish with career-highs of 27 points and 19 rebounds in the win. Those 19 caroms set an NC State freshman record and was the most for a Wolfpack player regardless of class since Todd Fuller had 21 on Nov. 25, 1995. That was also the highest rebounding total for an ACC player this season.

    Costner's point total tied as the fourth-most ever for a Pack rookie. He has scored in double figures in all 14 games this season - giving him the fourth-longest double-figure scoring streak in the ACC.

    For the most part this season, the Wolfpack has been prudent in terms of the types of shots the players are taking. NC State heads into the Boston College game shooting .501 from the field, the third-best mark in the ACC. Two players are currently shooting over 60% from the field (Ben McCauley at .616 and Engin Atsür at .628 - even though he has missed the last nine games) and five of the eight players who have made a shot this season are shooting better than 50%.

    Gavin Grant's junior season hasn't gone exactly like he had it scripted. For the past nine games, the forward has been running the point for NC State's team while regular point guard Engin Atsür sits out with an injury. A normally explosive player, Grant has had to pull back on offense and playing the point has certainly limited his ability to crash the boards - normally one of his strong suits.

    Despite the change in position, Grant has done remarkably well at the point - averaging 6.3 assists since moving to the one-spot. However, he was struggling in Tuesday night's contest versus UNC Greensboro.

    Grant had just two points on 1-6 shooting at the half and had just four total points heading into the last four minutes of regulation. He hit a jumper with 51 seconds left and then a huge three with nine seconds on the clock to send the game into overtime.

    The Bronx, N.Y., native owned the overtime period, hitting all eight of his free-throw attempts and scoring eight of the Pack's 18 points.

    Grant ended up posting his second double-double of the season (third of his career) while pulling down a career-high 13 rebounds. He played all 45 minutes of the contest.

    Anyone who has seen sophomore Ben McCauley in action would probably describe him as a tough player. Often outsized down low, McCauley will battle to the bitter end and has become a reliable inside scoring force for the Pack. Over the last five games, he is averaging 22.2 points and 8.6 rebounds, topping the 20-point plateau four times.

    McCauley has also been a warrior on the boards this season. He ranks 11th in rebounding in the ACC with 6.8 a contest.

    Two of his last three games have been double-doubles (20 points and 10 rebounds against ECU on Dec. 28 and 26 points and 10 rebounds against UNCG on Jan. 2).

    McCauley has five 20+ point games this season, tied as the fourth-highest number in the ACC.

    In addition to being the Wolfpack's banger down low, Ben McCauley has also been the team's most accomplished ball handler this season. The center ranks second on the team with 51 assists and leads the team in assist-to-turnover ratio (51-26 for a 1.96 mark). In the win over UNCG (when he also tied career scoring and rebounding records), McCauley dished out eight assists and did not have a turnover.

    In the last five games, McCauley has hit 65.7 percent (44-67) of his shots, and has shot under 50 percent in a game only once this season (45.5% at Virginia).

    NC State enters the Boston College game averaging just 14.3 turnovers per game - the fifth-lowest total in the ACC. However, the Wolfpack is forcing the lowest number of turnovers in the ACC as well - with the opposition committing just 13.1 miscues per game. Because of that, NC State ranks last in the league in turnover margin with a -1.14 mark.

    Boston College has a 4-1 all-time record against North Carolina State, including a 2-0 mark in the RBC Center. Last year, the two teams split their two conference meetings. NC State earned a 78-60 win in BC's Conte Forum on Jan. 10, 2006. BC gained a 74-72 double-overtime victory in the RBC Center on Feb. 25, 2006.

    BC won its first three meetings with the Wolfpack, before NC State earned its first series triumph last season. The two teams played a home-and-home series in 2002-03 and 2003-04. BC captured a 93-81 victory over the Wolfpack in the RBC Center on Jan. 16, 2003.

    One year later -- on Jan. 20, 2004 -- BC earned a 66-65 overtime win over the Wolfpack in Conte Forum.

    Al Skinner is in his 19th season as a head coach, his 10th season at Boston College. Already Boston College's all-time winningest coach, he has led the Eagles to postseason tournament berths each of the last six years. BC particpated in the 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 NCAA Tournaments and the 2003 National Invitation Tournament.

    Skinner enters the NC State game with a 322-238 career record, including a 184-112 record at Boston College.

    Skinner is a 1974 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, where he enjoyed a stellar basketball career (1971-74).

    Skinner has been inducted into the Athletic Halls of Fame at both the University of Massachusetts and the University of Rhode Island (where he served as head coach for nine years).

    Jared Dudley is averaging 14.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in three career games against the Wolfpack ... Sean Marshall is averaging 13.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in three career games ... Sean Williams is averaging 5.0 points, 5.0 blocked shots and 4.5 rebounds per game in two games.

    Senior forward Jared Dudley is expected to return to action after missing the last three games because of a left foot injury. Prior to missing these three games, Dudley had played in and started 110 consecutive games.

    Junior forward Akida McLain will miss his fourth straight game because of a right ankle injury -- suffered early in the Eagles' game at Kansas (Dec. 23). The game had marked McLain's 2006-07 debut.

    Boston College has won 152 games since the start of the 2000-01 season -- 27 in 2000-01, 20 in 2001-02, 19 in 2002-03, 24 in 2003-04, 25 in 2004-05, a schoolrecord 28 in 2005-06 and nine this season. The 143 wins (2000-06) mark the highest six-year win total in program history.

    Junior forward Sean Williams has made huge strides at the offensive end of the floor. After averaging 3.1 points per game in 2005-06, Williams is now averaging 12.8 points per game. He had scored in double figures three times in 54 games through his first two years at BC. He has already scored in double digits nine times this season.

    Free-throw shooting has been a big area of improvement. A 51.7 percent shooter through two years, Williams is shooting 68.3 percent this season.

    Williams recorded 19 points, 13 blocked shots and 10 rebounds against Duquesne (Dec. 28). This triple-double was the first by a Boston College player since Duane Woodward tallied 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds at Rutgers on Jan. 14, 1998.

    Boston College has two 1,000-point scorers in its line-up. Senior Jared Dudley enters the game with 1,688 career points. Classmate Sean Marshall enters tonight's contest with 1,196 points.

    Senior forward Jared Dudley captured preseason All-ACC first-team recognition, according to the media vote. Dudley earned All-ACC second-team honors last winter. Dudley is also on the list of candidates for both the 2006-07 Wooden Award All-American Team (LA Athletic Club) and for the Naismith Trophy (Atlanta Tipoff Club).

    Jared Dudley is posting impressive numbers in several statistical categories this season. Through 10 games (played), the senior forward is averaging 18.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He ranks eighth among all ACC players with a 2.13 assist-turnover ratio. Dudley has led BC in scoring five times, in rebounding six times, in assists twice, and in steals four times. Dudley has registered five point-rebound double-doubles.

    On Nov. 29, he notched a season-best 30 points on 10-for-13 shooting against Michigan State. One game later, he recorded a season-best seven assists at Massachusetts.

    Dudley is ranked among ACC leaders in eight of the 13 statistical categories. He ranks first in rebounding, offensive rebounding (3.70) and minutes played (37.90); third in scoring and defensive rebounding (5.30); fourth in field-goal percentage (.580); ninth in free-throw percentage (.778); and 10th in assist-turnover ratio (1.76).

    Junior Sean Williams enters the game as the nation's top shot-blocker, averaging 5.73 blocks per game. He has blocked three or more shots in nine of the 11 games he's played this season. Williams already holds the school record for career blocked shots. He registered a career-high 13 blocked shots against Duquesne (Dec. 28). Williams enters the game with 181 blocked shots (in 65 career games). Prior to the Duquesne game, Burnett Adams ‘83 sat atop the school's career list. Adams blocked 168 shots in 123 career games. Williams averages one blocked shot per 7.11 minutes of game action (in his 65-game collegiate career).

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