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January 13, 2010

Quick hits from NC State's win over FSU

Quick hits and notes from NC State's 88-81 upset win at No. 25 Florida State in front of 9,709 fans at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday night.

Play of the game

The Scott Wood show reached a climax in the crucial moments of the game. Florida State had sliced NC State's lead to 59-55 on a pair of free throws from sophomore center Solomon Alabi with 6:43 to go. That's when Wood made a three-pointer from the left wing on State's next possession. Then Wood delivered a dagger when he made a three over the outstretched hands of freshman Michael Snaer, giving the Pack a 65-55 lead with 5:28 to go.

Player of the game

Let's think about this for a second, yeah we'll go with Wood. He finished with a career-high 31 points, making 10 of 15 shots and 7 of 11 three-pointers. He was 4 of 6 from the line and also added seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a sensational block with just one turnover in 37 minutes.

Wood is the first NC State player this year to go over 30 points in a game. The last time it happened was when now-junior forward Tracy Smith poured in 31 against Towson last season. Wood's 31 points tied former Pack center J.J. Hickson for the third most ever by a Wolfpack freshman in a single game. Ernie Myers holds the record when he scored 35 against Duke in 1983. Wood's seven three-pointers tied for fifth most in a game by a Wolfpack shooter.

Wood has now made 26 of his last 54 three-point attempts for 48.1 percent.

Winning without Smith

Smith entered the game as NC State's leading scorer at 17.6 points per game and had scored double figures in 14 of the 15 games he had played this year. Tuesday was a game to forget for Smith. Perhaps bothered by 7-foot-1 Alabi's length, Smith was just 1 of 8 from the field. He did make 5 of 6 free throws and finished with a season-low seven points to go with eight rebounds.

Degand gets a start

For the first time this season, Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe altered his starting lineup for a performance based reason. Fifth-year senior guard Farnold Degand started over sophomore C.J. Williams. It was the first time this season Williams did not start. For Degand, it was his first start since North Carolina Central Feb. 3 last year.

Degand finished the game with a season-high 13 points, just one off his career high, in 26 minutes. He made 3 of 5 shots, including 1 of 3 three-pointers, and a refreshing 6 of 8 free throws given his recent struggles from the line.

Degand was just one of three Wolfpack players to get in double figures despite the Pack coming within one point of setting a season-high in points. Sophomore guard Julius Mays finished 12 points mainly based on 10-of-10 shooting from the line. All of his free throws came in the last 1:54 of the game.

Mays' solid performance was needed as junior point guard Javier Gonzalez had a night to forget. He had just five points and three assists before fouling out in 15 minutes and made a game-high six turnovers.

Hot shooting

NC State made 45.3 percent of their shot, making 24 of 53 shots. They were especially hot from long range, making 11 of 23 three-pointers for 47.8 percent. The three-pointers made were the most in a game this season for State. NC State also made 29 of 35 free throws for 82.9 percent, three more free throws than they had made in a single game this year. The accuracy percentage at the line was the second best this year and only the second time State has shot better than 80 percent in a game this season.

FSU had led the country this season in field goal percentage defense. The Wolfpack nearly became the first team this year to shoot better than 47 percent from the field against the Noles.

The only negative aspect of the offensive performance were the 18 turnovers. Only twice this season has NC State committed more turnovers in a game. FSU's defense can be attributed to some of that. The Noles had 10 blocks and eight steals in the game. That is the most shots NC State has had rejected in a game this year.

Balanced Noles scoring

Perhaps lost in the win is the fact the Noles scored 81 points, the most allowed by the Pack this year and first time a team had reached 80 points on State. Five Seminoles reached double figures led by sophomore small forward Chris Singleton's 22 points. The last time a Wolfpack opponent had five scorers in double figures was North Carolina last season on Jan. 31.

Both teams scored 50 points in the second half. The last time a Wolfpack opponent scored at least 50 points in a half was Miami in last season's regular season finale. NC State scored 54 points in the second half against Holy Cross last week.

What the win means

NC State is now 26-18 all-time against the Noles and has now won 16 of the last 20 games against FSU. NC State improved to 7-10 all-time at the Donald L. Tucker Center, formerly known as the Leon County Civic Center. State though has won seven of its last eight games there. NC State's win also snaps FSU's 14-game home winning streak. FSU had been particularly tough at home against ACC teams in recent history. They went 6-2 on their home court last year in conference action and had won 9 of their 11 home ACC contests.

NC State improved to 12-5 overall while FSU dropped to 13-4. Both teams are 1-2 in the ACC.


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