Tip-Off: 4:00 PM
Radio: Airtime begins @ 3:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
Georgia Tech Information
NC State Projected Starting Line-up
G Julius Mays
G Farnold Degand
F Scott Wood
F Dennis Horner
C Tracy Smith
Georgia Tech Projected Starting Line-up
G D'Andre Bell
F Gani Lawal
F Derrick Favors
G Mfon Udofia
G Iman Shumpert
Players to Watch
Tracy Smith -- The 6'8 center has been producing lately and State needs him to keep doing so. Georgia Tech's frontline will pose a stiff test for Smith, who recorded a double-double last year in Atlanta.
Gani Lawal -- Lawal continues to be a force in the paint for the Yellow Jackets and now has some help in super freshman Derrick Favors. The Wolfpack will have their hands full with Lawal, who has nine double-doubles this year.
• NC State has won two straight against Georgia Tech, and three of the last five in Atlanta.
• NC State has committed 12 turnovers or less in six straight games, its longest such stretch of games since the end of 2004-05. The Pack had just seven at Virginia, its lowest total in 51 games.
• NC State has hit 40.2 percent (90-224) of its three-pointers in the 14 wins, but just 27.4 percent (46-168) in its nine losses.
• Tracy Smith is sixth in the ACC in scoring (17.4), sixth in rebounding (8.3), and second in field goal percentage (.562).
• Over his last five games, Smith has averaged 19.2 points while shooting 65.0 percent (39-60).
• Freshman Richard Howell has averaged 9.0 points and 6.6 rebounds in 18.7 minutes over the last seven games.
• Farnold Degand has averaged 7.7 points in 29.0 minutes since moving into the starting lineup the past seven games.
• Scott Wood ranks second on the Pack in scoring versus ACC competition, 10.1 points, and has hit at least one three-pointer in 14 straight games.
• Julius Mays has averaged 6.6 points over the last nine games. He has gone 25-of-26 from the free throw line, and has made his last 20 attempts.
• NC State is 9-0 when Dennis Horner scores 15 or more points in a game, but the Pack is just 1-7 when he does not reach double figures.
• NC State has five scholarship freshmen this season. Of the Pack's 12 players on scholarship, only four are either seniors or juniors.
NC State Travels to Georgia Tech
NC State hits the road for the second time this week, as the Pack travels to Atlanta to face No. 21 Georgia Tech on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. NC State started its week with a 59-47 loss at Virginia on Wednesday, and will be looking for its third straight win over Georgia Tech this weekend.
The Yellow Jackets are the fourth ranked opponent the Pack will face this season. NC State previously won at No. 25 Florida State and won at home against No. 7 Duke, and fell at home to No. 24 Clemson.
The game will be broadcasted on Raycom with Tim Brandt and Eddie Fogler.
The Series Versus Georgia Tech:
Saturday's matchup will mark the 85th meeting between NC State and Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack leads the overall series 50-34. NC State has won the last two matchups, and the Pack has also won nine of the last 13 meetings dating back to the 2002-03 season.
Georgia Tech holds a 20-14 advantage in games in Atlanta. However, the Pack has won three of the last five games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, including last year, 86-65.
Pack and Jackets Play it Close
Although the Wolfpack has won nine of the last 12 games against Georgia Tech, the scores of those games have been relatively close. NC State's largest win in those seven games was last season's 21 point win in Atlanta, and only two of those last nine wins were in double figures.
Three of the last seven games between the teams have been decided by no more than three points. Georgia Tech won in 2008 and in 2006 by three points each time, and the Wolfpack came away with a two point win at Georgia Tech in 2005. Last season's game in Raleigh had the Pack winning 76-71 in overtime.
Last Season Versus Georgia Tech
NC State won both games during the regular season. NC State used a late surge to overcome a 10-point second half defecit, and downed Georgia Tech in overtime at the RBC Center, 76-71, on January 17. The Yellow Jackets held a 64-54 lead with 4:40 remaining, but the Pack would close the game on a 13-3 run to force overtime thanks to a three-point play by Farnold Degand with 30 seconds left. NC State would outscore Georgia Tech in the extra period 9-4, with Dennis Horner scoring five of the Pack's final six points. Brandon Costner paced the Pack withh 22 points, while Ben McCauley added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
NC State used its top shooting performance of the season, 61.4 percent (27-44) from the field, and picked up its largest ACC road win since 1989 in defeating Georgia Tech, 86-65, on February 14. Six Wolfpack players scored in double figures. Tracy Smith recorded his second straight double-double, finishing with game-highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Yellow Jackets took a 11-5 lead to start the game, but NC State used a 35-13 run to go into the half up 44-33. In the second half, NC State hit 12-of-18 shots, and was 16-of-19 from the free throw line.
Last Time Out for NC State
NC State had its lowest scoring total since 2006, and its lowest total in an ACC game since 2000, as the Pack fell at Virginia, 59-47, Wednesday night. NC State led by as many as seven points (26-18 with 3:20 left in 1st half), and was up 28-25 at the half.
Virginia would open the second half on a 15-4 run, in which the Pack would score just four points in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. NC State would finish with just 19 second-half points, hitting only 29.2 percent (7-24) from the field.
Freshman Richard Howell was the Pack's top scorer for the first time in his career as he had 14 off the bench, while Tracy Smith added 12.
Pack Taking Down Ranked Foes
No. 21 Georgia Tech will be the Pack's fourth ranked opponent this season, the second on the road. NC State is currently 2-1 in those games. The Pack took out a pair of ranked opponents and came close to winning a third such game, all in a span of eight days in mid-January. The Pack faced three straight ranked foes, its first games against a ranked opponent this season.
NC State started the stretch with a 88-81 win at No. 25 Florida State on January 12. The Pack returned home, and despite cutting a 18-point second half deficit down to one late in the game, fell 73-70 to No. 24 Clemson on January 16. The Pack then turned right around, and claimed a 88-74 win over No. 7 Duke on January 20, tying as the second-highest ranked foe Coach Lowe has defeated in his four seasons.
NC State's two wins over ranked opponents this season, in only three tries, already has been an improvement from last year's 1-6 mark against top-25 squads.
In Coach Lowe's first three seasons, the Pack complied a record of 6-17 against all ranked foes. NC State was 3-6 at home, 1-10 away, and 2-1 on a neutral court. Lowe's home wins were against No. 3 UNC in 2007, No. 21 Miami in 2008, and No. 7 Wake Forest last season.
NC State has taken care of the ball lately, as the Pack has committed 12 turnovers or less in eight of the last nine games (the only game above that mark was 18 turnovers in the win at No. 25 Florida State), and four games were under 10 turnovers. Over the last six games, NC State has committed just 61 total turnovers. The Pack has now gone six straight games with 12 or less turnovers, the longest such streak since the end of the 2004-05 season when NC State also went six straight games at 12 or less.
In the Pack's upset win over No. 7 Duke, the three primary ball handlers, Farnold Degand, Javier Gonzalez, Julius Mays, combined for just 3 turnovers in 74 combined minutes of play while dishing out 14 assists. At Maryland, NC State had 10 first half turnovers, but turned the ball over just once in the second half. In the loss to North Carolina, the Pack had just 10 turnovers. Even though the Pack was held to just 47 points at Virginia, NC State turned the ball over only seven times, its lowest total in 51 games.
Second Half Shooting Woes
NC State has dropped its last three ACC games, to Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia, and its shooting performance in the second half was a major factor in the losses.
NC State has hit just 28.6 percent (26- 91) of its second half shots in the last three ACC games, while Maryland, UNC, and UVA combined to shoot 57.3 percent (43- 75) in the second half of those games.
Against UNC, NC State captured a 43- 38 lead with 17:04 left, but the Pack would miss 17 of its next 18 shots and go over eight minutes without scoring a point. At Virginia, the Pack would score just four points in the first 10 minutes of that half.
Georgia Tech Game Notes
> Tech has shot 47.2 percent from the floor, 37.9 percent from three-point range and 68.5 percent from the foul line at home this year. Opponents have shot 35.1 percent from the floor, 26,7 percent from three-point land and 58.4 percent from the foul line at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
> Tech is 15-1 when leading at the half this year, 137-32 in such games under Paul Hewitt.
> Head coach Paul Hewitt coached the 400th game of his head coaching career against Duke Thursday. He earlier coached the 300th game of his Tech career against the Blue Devils on Jan. 9. He is third among active ACC coaches in games coached.
> Hewitt is fourth among active ACC coaches in career victories, and 18th overall.
> Tech is 3-2 against top-25 teams this year ... The only loss occurred to Dayton (No. 18/21) on Nov. 19 in the Puerto Rico Classic.
> Tech's halftime deficit against Duke (35-29) on Jan. 9 was the only one from which it has come back to win this season. The Jackets are 1-4 when trailing at the half, 0-1 when tied.
> Tech has shot 58 percent (90-or-155) from the floor in its last three games.
> Tech has shot 44.2 percent (27-for-61) from three-point range in its last three games.
> No Tech opponent has shot better than 45 percent from the floor this season. Only seven opponents, including Tech's six losses, have shot as high as 40 percent from the floor against the Jackets this year.
> Tech ranks fourth in the nation (as of Monday's NCAA rankings) in field goal percentage defense (36.6 pct.), 18th in defense against the three-point shot (29.3 pct.), and 17th in rebound margin (plus- 6.6).
> Tech is shooting 69.4 percent and scoring 14.8 points per game (on 85 attempts) from the foul line in its ACC wins, 51.5 percent and 8.8 points per game (on 68 attempts) in its losses.
> Tech is 11-1 this year when attempting more free throws than its opponents, 105-22 in such games under Paul Hewitt.
> Top 23-game records for Georgia Tech under head coach Paul Hewitt before this season: 18-5 in 2003-04, 15-8 in 2004-05, 15-8 in 2006-07, 14-9 in 2000-01. All four of those teams made the NCAA Tournament.
> This is the third Yellow Jacket team to win 10 games before Jan. 1. The 2003-04 Final four team earned their 10th win on Dec. 21 on the way to a 12-0 start, while the 2006-07 team got its 10th win on Dec. 30.
> Tech's seven-game winning streak before its loss to Florida State was its longest since opening the 2006-07 season with seven wins in a row. The 2003-04 team that reached the National Championship game won its first 12. Those are the Yellow Jackets' longest winning streaks under head coach Paul Hewitt.
> Tech has been outrebounded only seven times this season, only once by more than five rebounds.
> Tech has shot better than 50 percent in nine games this season, two more than last season.
> Tech's opponents have attempted 121 three-point field goals more than the Yellow Jackets this season, but have made just 20 more.
> If they all had enough field goals to qualify, three of Georgia Tech's players would rank among the ACC's top five in field goal percentage. Gani Lawal is the only Tech player who meets the minimum and ranks third in the conference at 55.2 percent. Derrick Favors stands at 58.7 percent, Gani Lawal has made 55.6 percent and Zachery Peacock 52.9 percent of his tries.
> Tech's four freshmen combined to average 31.3 points per game. Derrick Favors (11.3 ppg) and Mfon Udofia (8.6) rank 1-3 among ACC freshmen in scoring average.
> Two Tech freshmen have had their high school jerseys in the two weeks - Derrick Favors at South Atlanta (Jan. 26) and Kammeon Holsey at Hancock Central (Jan. 30).
> Tech is getting 25.6 points per game from its bench, and its opponents are providing 17.4. In ACC games only, Tech's bench has outscored that of its opponents, 24.3 to 16.1.
> Zachery Peacock has led the Yellow Jackets in scoring five times off the bench this season, and Brian Oliver has done it twice. Tech has had 19 double-figure scorers off the bench this season, and seven players lead the team in scoring from the bench.
> Tech's field goal percentage (.712) against was the highest in the Paul Hewitt era and one of just six times in school history the Yellow Jackets have shot better than 70 percent ... It was the fourth-highest single-game field goal percentage in Tech history and the highest since Dec. 17, 1985 when it shot 72.0 percent against Texas.
PLAYING THE MARGINS
Georgia Tech's first five ACC games were decided by a total of 24 points, including three straight two-point decisions. But the last two have been decided by an average of 20, including a 79-58 win over Wake Forest at home on Jan. 28, its largest victory margin in the history of the series, and an 86-67 loss at Duke Thursday night.
The 21-point margin was the largest in an ACC game since the Yellow Jackets defeated Clemson on the road, 74-50, on Feb. 6, 2003, and Tech's third-largest winning margin in an ACC game under Paul Hewitt. Tech's top winning margin in an ACC game under Hewitt is 31 points, a 77-46 win over Florida State on Jan. 30, 2003.
TECH'S POSTMEN ALWAYS KNOCK
There's no question where the focus of Georgia Tech's game plans rest, not to mention its opponents' schemes - starting post players Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors. They have been called the best front line in the ACC and one of the best in the nation.
Lawal, a 6-9 junior, and Favors, a 6-10 freshman, are Tech's top two scorers and rebounders, and both rank among the ACC's top five in rebound average and field goal percentage. Lawal has nine double-doubles this year, has hit 55.6 percent of his field goals and ranks third in the ACC in rebound average (8.9), while Favors has double-doubles in eight games, has shot 58.7 percent from the floor and is the ACC's second-leading rebounder (9.4 pg) in ACC games.
They have combined to produce 33.8 percent of the Yellow Jackets' scoring and 42.4 percent of their rebounds. They have accounted for 44.8 percent of Tech's free throws made and 34.4 percent of its field goals.
In Tech's four ACC wins this season, collectively, they have averaged 26.3 points and 18.8 rebounds per game while hitting 58.1 percent of their field goals. In Tech's ACC losses, their numbers are 17.0 points and 15.5 rebounds per game, and 49.1 percent from the floor.
PEACOCK A FORCE OFF THE BENCH
Called the best sixth man in the nation by one writer, 6-8 senior Zachery Peacock has given the Jackets a big lift off the bench in the post, scoring in double digits seven times in Tech's last 13 games.
He has been Tech's fourth-leading scorer both in ACC games (10.3 ppg) and in all games (9.7 ppg). With Peacock included, Tech's three-man rotation of big men account for 46.0 percent of Tech's scoring and 52.0 percent of the rebounds this season. Peacock has scored in double figures eight times altogether this season, and has actually led Tech in scoring in five of those games.
The Miami, Fla., native also has been a clutch scorer at times. He hit the game-winning basket at North Carolina, getting a runner in the lane to fall in with 25.7 seconds to play. In the first meeting against Clemson, he took the ball on Tech's last possession, drove the lane and drew a foul, and sank both free throws to break a 64-all tie with three seconds left.
Peacock hit a layup that put the Jackets ahead to stay with 1:53 left against Duke on Jan. 9. He also scored on a runner in the lane in the first meeting against Florida State to tie the score with 29 seconds left to send that game into overtime, then scored all five Tech points in the OT period.
Even in Tech's loss at Virginia, Peacock kept the Yellow Jackets within striking distance down the stretch, scoring nine of his game-high 19 points in the final 1:20, and 15 in the final 11 minutes.
SHUMPERT SHAKES OFF INJURY
For all the talk about Georgia Tech's big men, there may be no more important player to the Yellow Jackets' success than sophomore guard Iman Shumpert.
Tech needed every one of Shumpert's 30 points in its 73-71 win at North Carolina. The 6-5 guard also dished six assists and had three steals in a season-high 36 minutes in leading the Jackets to the big road win.
Shumpert missed six games after undergoing surgery for a damaged meniscus in his right knee in December. Since his return, he has averaged 30.9 minutes, 10.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in nine games (Tech is 6-4).
He scored only nine points his first game back at Charlotte, but made important plays in setting others up for baskets as Tech held off Charlotte for a road win on Jan. 2. He hit 7-of-14 shots from the floor for 15 points and had six assists at Virginia, foreshadowing his breakout performance in Chapel Hill.
At UNC, he set career highs for points and field goals made and attempted (10-for-17). He also made 3-of-5 threes and 7-of-9 free throws. With Clemson's defensive focus on him, he scored only five points but had six assists, eight rebounds and two steals.
TECH'S FOUR FRESHMEN MAKING MUSIC ON THE HARDWOOD
The Four Freshmen - a multiple Grammy-nominated American male vocal band quartet that blends open-harmony jazz arrangements with the big band vocal group sounds founded in the barbershop tradition.
The Four Freshmen is considered a vocal band because, in addition to singing, it accompanies itself on guitar, trumpet, bass, and drums, among other instrumental configurations. Georgia Tech's four freshmen, two of whom have started every game, have been impressive in many ways for the Yellow Jackets on the hardwood this season.
Derrick Favors, a 6-10 forward, and Mfon Udofia, a 6-2 point guard, have been in the starting lineup from the opening game against Florida A&M. Brian Oliver, a 6-6 forward, started five games for the injured Iman Shumpert, and Glen Rice, Jr., a 6-5 guard, has made solid contributions off the bench. Favors has scored in double figures in 15 games, leads ACC freshmen in scoring (11.3 ppg), rebounding (8.5 rpg) and field goal percentage (.587).
Udofia has scored in double figures in nine games and ranks third among ACC freshmen in scoring at 8.6 points per game. Oliver has given the Jackets another three-point shooting threat, hitting 40 percent for the season to rank among the top 10 in the ACC. Rice, Jr., has been active on both ends of the floor, contributing in every column of the stat sheet.
Neither of Tech's other two freshmen will play this season. Kammeon Holsey, a 6-8 forward from Sparta, Ga., is out this season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Aug, 1. He underwent successful surgery on Aug. 11 and is undergoing rehabiliation on the knee. Daniel Miller, a 6-11 center from Loganville, Ga., is red-shirting this season.