Winners of only two of their eight away games coming into tonight, the Wolfpack finally stepped up and closed out a game on the road. After letting the Yellow Jackets get within two points midway through the second half, NC State reeled off a 10-2 run, winning by the score of 70-57.
While NC State’s backcourt duo struggled throughout the game, its big men led the way. Richard Howell led the team in scoring with 18 points, adding six boards and three steals. Together, Howell, CJ Leslie and TJ Warren combined for 45 of NC State’s 70 points.
The major reason for the Wolpack’s slow start was their inability to create offense from the perimeter, which has been a trend over the last week. Starting guards Lorenzo Brown and Scott Wood combined for just 11 points on two of 14 shooting from the floor. As a team, NC State connected on only one of their 11 attempts from beyond the arc. Shooting 41 percent on threes since the start of ACC play, the Wolfpack have gone ice cold in their last two games, connecting on only six of 27 attempts from three-point range.
Tonight’s result was a big win for NC State. After losing five of their previous seven games, the Wolfpack have won five of six and climbed up to fourth place in the ACC standings after tonight’s win. Mark Gottried‘s squad needs to finish strong to improve its NCAA tournament standing. Accoring to Joe Lunardi of ESPN, NC State has dropped from a No. 5 seed to a No. 8 seed over the past month. If the Wolfpack are able to win out and make an impact in the ACC tournament, they will be able to solidify their resume and improve their seeding in the Big Dance.
For Georgia Tech, tonight’s loss was another dent in a poor season. While the Yellow Jackets are a respectable 15-13 on the season, they have gone 6-13 against teams in Big-6 conferences, including just 5-11 in ACC play. However, here is a silver lining. Leading scorers Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter are only freshmen, and provide a solid foundation for Brian Gregory’s program.
Up next for GT is No. 5 Miami, which they lost to at home by 23 points on Jan. 5. The Yellow Jackets are 0-3 against top 25 teams this season, and have dropped each game by an average of 14 points. Tech will be looking to reverse the trend, and get a statement win to close out the regular season.
On Wednesday, NC State will attempt to avenge one of its worst losses of the season when it hosts Wake Forest. The Wolpack lost a heartbreaker to the Demon Deacons on Jan. 22, and were forced to watch the Wake student section storm the court. Leslie and Howell have not forgotten and will be seeking revenge in NC State’s home finale.