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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: PNC Arena (19,557) -- Raleigh, North Carolina. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: VT 8-6, NCST 12-1. Away Record: VT 2-5, NCST 2-5. Neutral Record: VT 1-2, NCST 3-1. Conference Record: VT 2-9, NCST 6-5. Series Record: NC State leads, 35-14.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Tech Hokies take aim at their first victory in nearly a month when they visit PNC Arena for an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup with the NC State Wolfpack.
Virginia Tech has sunk to the bottom of the ACC standings thanks to its current seven-game losing streak. The latest of those losses came Tuesday night at Virginia in a 73-55 final. The Hokies have won on the road only once since November.
On the other hand, NC State has gone 12-1 at PNC Arena and is back on its home floor for the first time in two weeks. The Wolfpack are coming off Sunday's dramatic 58-57 win at Clemson on Scott Wood's last-second 3-pointer. After reeling off 10 straight wins through the month of December and into the middle of January, the 'Pack have gone just 3-5 since, although Wood's dagger could certainly spark some confidence.
NC State leads the head-to-head series, 35-14, and that includes a 19-5 record at home. This is the only scheduled meeting between these two teams this season.
If the Hokies hope to win this one on the road, they'll need to avoid a repeat of Tuesday's performance against UVA when they were bottled up to 34.6-percent shooting from the floor. Most notably, Erick Green, the nation's leading scorer (25.2 ppg), was held without a field goal until nearly four minutes into the second half. He shot just 4-of-17 from the floor after scoring 35 in the first meeting with the Cavs. And although Green did finish with 22 points, the Hokies were unable to overcome his first-half scoring drought. After all, the team relies heavily on its top weapon, as the senior guard has scored 20 or more points in all but two games this season. Jarell Eddie is the only other player averaging double figures for Tech. He is tallying 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per tilt.
NC State is the second-highest scoring team in the ACC, averaging a robust 78.0 ppg. The Wolfpack boast five double-figure scorers on the season, led by C.J. Leslie with 15.6 ppg to go along with 7.5 rebounds. Richard Howell is averaging a double-double (13.4 ppg, 10.8 rpg), while Wood (11.5 ppg) is a 43- percent shooter from beyond the arc (63-of-147). However, the team needed Wood's last-second prayer to overcome a 37.7-percent shooting effort and pull out the win against Clemson. Point guard Lorenzo Brown (12.8 ppg) returned to the floor for the first time since suffering an ankle injury against Virginia on Jan. 29. Brown came off the bench to score 15 points, and it was his drive and dish that set up Wood's game-winner. Still, coach Mark Gottfried cautioned that Brown is still not 100 percent, but getting closer. Freshman Tyler Lewis has stepped up in his absence, averaging 11.7 ppg over the last three games, including two starts at the point.
The proverbial wheels have fallen off for the Hokies, and the team's issues become magnified when Green has an off night, as he did in the first half on Tuesday. Even with a dialed in Green, the Hokies will be hard-pressed to keep up with the high-scoring Wolfpack.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 79, Virginia Tech 58
02/16 10:40:02 ET
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