GAME NOTES: The NC State Wolfpack continue their three-game homestand at PNC Arena on Sunday afternoon when they face off with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in an Atlantic Coast Conference bout.
Despite Georgia Tech's solid 11-8 overall record this season, it has not fared well in the ACC, winning just two of its six league matchups. The Yellow Jackets are fresh off a strong victory however, downing Boston College on Tuesday night, 68-60, to improve to 3-3 on the road.
Much like Georgia Tech, NC State's struggles in the ACC (2-4) has dragged down its impressive overall record (12-7). After suffering a three-game losing streak, the Wolfpack snapped out of their funk last Monday with a 65-56 victory over Maryland to improve to 9-4 on their home floor.
The Wolfpack have beaten the Yellow Jackets on three straight occasions to improve their mark in the all-time series to 54-37.
The Yellow Jackets built a lead as large as 18 early in the second half of their most recent contest, and while they saw that advantage dip to just one late in the game, they held on for the strong road victory. They shot a lofty 52.1 percent from the field on the evening, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range, and held a firm 32-20 advantage in the rebounding battle. Trae Golden connected on 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and drained all eight of his free- throw tries en route to a game-high 24 points, while Kammeon Holsey and Chris Bolden poured in 13 and 11 points, respectively.
On the season, Georgia Tech outshoots its opponents from the field, 44 percent to 40.9 percent, for a +2.4 scoring margin, while also regularly outrebounding its adversaries (+4.1). Golden is the catalyst with 14.1 ppg and 3.3 apg, having drained a team-best 24 3-pointers and shooting 87-of-111 from the line (.784). Marcus Georges-Hunt nets 11.7 ppg, and Daniel Miller (10.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.2 bpg) is a mainstay in the frontcourt.
Trailing by 11 early in the second half, NC State switched momentum in a hurry after intermission by improving its field-goal percentage from .222 in the first half to .567 in the second stanza as it blew past Maryland for the nine- point victory. Tying a career high with 23 points was Ralston Turner, who was 8-of-19 from the field with five 3-pointers. Desmond Lee scored 14 points and swiped four steals, Anthony Barber put up 13 points and Kyle Washington collected 10 rebounds.
The Wolfpack have pieced together a stellar offensive season, shooting 46 percent from the field for 71.4 ppg, which is able to successfully outpace their opponents (.411, 69.2 ppg). They haven't been great from 3-point range, however, making just 4.1 long-range buckets per game at a 28.8 percent clip. T.J. Warren is the ACC's leading scorer, posting 22.2 ppg on 50.3 percent field goal shooting while also collecting a team-high 7.3 rpg, but he missed the latest game with an ankle sprain. Barber (11.4 ppg) and Lee (10.1 ppg) are the only other players in double figures but neither make field goals at greater than 41 percent efficiency.
These evenly-matched squads should be in for a hard-fought battle from start to finish, but expect the Wolfpack's strong homecourt advantage to lift them to victory down the stretch.
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