TSX: Pack Needs a Win Badly

The frustrations may have eased a bit for North Carolina, but they continued for North Carolina State in the Wolfpack's 74-61 loss to the Tar Heels.

The Feb. 13 defeat dropped the 'Pack into last place in the ACC with a 2-9 conference record, extending its losing streak to four games.

The only win the 'Pack has had since beating Duke on Jan. 20 came against hapless North Carolina Central a week later. The 'Pack has lost its last six ACC outings.

N.C. State was down only two points at halftime but fell behind by double digits with under 10 minutes left.

"I thought we played pretty decent basketball in the first half," coach Sidney Lowe said.

"But it's that part of the ballgame that we talk about, the first five minutes of the second half, when a lot of good teams really come out with intensity and try to make a run -- that's the part of the ballgame when good teams try to get you.

"We didn't come out and do that. They got to the foul line early, and they were able to get a run on us."

The 'Pack cut its deficit to four points at 56-52 with just over six minutes left, but the Tar Heels scored the next eight points to get the difference back into double figures.

The 'Pack has only five games remaining in the regular season, but three of them are at home. Maryland and Wake Forest come to Raleigh next, then the 'Pack goes to Miami and Virginia Tech before finishing up against Boston College.

NOTES, QUOTES
--Junior F Tracy Smith has scored in double figures in his last nine games after going for 20 points against North Carolina on Feb. 13. It's the fourth time in that stretch he has hit the 20-point mark. Included in that span was a 23-point effort against Duke that matched a season high.

--The Wolfpack's losing streak against North Carolina reached eight after being swept this season. Sidney Lowe is 1-8 against the Heels as N.C. State's coach.

ON THE SPOT
The Wolfpack is struggling mightily from behind the 3-point line. The 'Pack was 5 of 18 on treys against North Carolina after going 0 of 11 against Virginia Tech in the previous game. Since going 5 of 12 against Duke, the 'Pack is 28 of 109 (25.7 percent) from behind the arc in the past seven games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every time we look at the film, we see certain areas where we just break down, and a lot of it is understanding really how to win and how important it is each and every play." -- Coach Sidney Lowe, after the loss at North Carolina.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP:
N.C. State fell to 14-12 overall and 2-9 in the ACC with the loss at North Carolina on Feb. 13. The Wolfpack has only one win since beating Duke by 14 points, and that one victory came against North Carolina Central. The 'Pack has lost its last six conference games entering this week.

IN FOCUS: Maryland is one of the hottest teams in the league. The Wolfpack's backcourt is going to have its hands full against the likes of Greivis Vasquez, the Terrapins' do-everything guard.

ROSTER REPORT:
--G Javier Gonzalez is committing turnovers in bunches. He had six against North Carolina after having only two in the previous game against Virginia Tech. But before that outing, he had seven against Georgia Tech after making just two against Virginia.

--Freshman G Scott Wood hit only one of his seven 3-point attempts against the Tar Heels. Since going 7-of-11 from behind the arc in a win at Florida State on Jan. 12, Wood is 14 of 47 (29.8 percent) in his past nine games.

--Senior F Dennis Horner has started the last two games after coming off the bench at Georgia Tech. He scored only two points and had one rebound in 24 minutes against North Carolina on Feb. 13 after scoring 13 points and snaring a career-high 16 rebounds against Virginia Tech.


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