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March 9, 2013

NC State making progress on defense

NC State coach Mark Gottfried said the key to winning six of the last seven games has been defense and rebounding.

The word "stance" has been uttered often over the last few games, representing that the players need to be ready on defense and not lose focus while in good defensive position.

The results have been four out of the last five games in holding opponents to 66 points or less. The streak started with the first of two games against Florida State on Feb. 19, a 84-66 victory. The Wolfpack have the rematch against the Seminoles at 2 p.m. today in Tallahassee, Fla.

"The first thing defensively that has to happen and is happening more now, we are more alert, our feet are quicker, and we are in a stance better," Gottfried said. "Our hands are more active. There have been stretches throughout this year where we haven't been nearly as active defensively. That is my job, our responsibility."

Duke was the last opponent to shoot over 47 percent from the field against NC State, winning 98-85 on Feb. 7 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Six of the seven opponents since have been held to 43.8 percent or lower, and three were held under 39 percent — Boston College (38.9 percent), Clemson (38.6) and Georgia Tech (34.4).

Gottfried said the move to having senior Scott Wood and freshman T.J. Warren on the wings has helped the defense and rebounding. He previously had freshman shooting guard Rodney Purvis starting and guarding key opposing offensive players. Wood is now guarding the top wing scorer.

"We've learned who we are playing somewhat at some positions better," Gottfried said. "We've settled on who we want to play and that has helped us become more solid defensively. We are also getting better."

Gottfried also pointed out that Warren, Purvis and freshman point guard Tyler Lewis are better defenders now than at the beginning of the season due to experience.

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Game facts

NC State Wolfpack (22-8, 11-6 ACC) at Florida State (16-14, 8-9 ACC)

Game time: Saturday, March 9, 2 p.m. — Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla.

Television: ESPN2

Probable starters

NC State
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 12.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 7.0 apg, 2.0 spg)
SG — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 11.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.1 apg)
SF — 24 T.J. Warren (6-8, 224, Fr., 12.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.7 apg, 1.0 spg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 15.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.2 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.0 bpg)

Florida State
PG — 1 Devon Bookert (6-3, 185, Fr., 5.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.5 apg)
SG — 25 Aaron Thomas (6-5, 195, Fr., 6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.2 apg)
SF — 21 Michael Snaer (6-5, 202, Sr., 14.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 spg)
PF — 10 Okaro White (6-8, 204, Jr., 12.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.1 bpg)
C — 50 Michael Ojo (7-1, 290, Fr., 0.7 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.3 bpg)

Scouting Florida State

Location: Tallahassee, Fla.

Nickname: Seminoles

2011-12 record: 25-10 overall, 12-4 ACC

2012 postseason: Lost 62-56 to Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA Tournament

Coach: Leonard Hamilton 418-351 overall (25th year) and 216-151 at Florida State (11th year)

Series: NC State leads 28-21

Last meeting: NC State 84-66 on Feb. 19, 2013, in Raleigh, N.C.


Florida State: Senior wing Michael Snaer, a former McDonald's All-American, has hit six game-winners for the Seminoles, including this past Thursday against Virginia. He has 14 points in the 53-51 win, including a 3-point play with 4.4 seconds left for the win. Snaer had 20 points in the first meeting against NC State, and had an ACC-high of 24 points against Wake Forest on Feb. 26. Snaer has scored at least 20 points in three of his last games, and has done it five times this season, including 30 at Charlotte on Dec. 22. He is shooting 38 percent on 3-pointers and 80.9 on free throws … Junior power forward Okaro White has complemented Snaer on the interior. He has scored at least 13 points in seven of the last eight games. He had his second double-double of the season, and first in the ACC, when he had 18 points and 10 boards at Virginia Tech on Feb. 24. He had a season-high 20 points, plus nine rebounds and six blocks at Maryland on Jan. 9. He has range out to the 3-point line (32.9 percent) and is shooting 80.5 at the line … The other three starting positions have been in flux throughout the season, but the Seminoles have turned to freshmen Devon Bookert, a point guard, shooting guard Aaron Thomas and center Michael Ojo the last seven games … Bookert, who is from Alaska, has tallied 10 points or more in seven games, including three of his last seven in ACC action. He also has rebounded the position well of late with 20 boards over his four games. He had a season-high eight assists against Boston College on Feb. 16 … Thomas played with NCSU freshman small forward T.J. Warren at Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy last year. He has struggled in ACC action and has gone scoreless on five field-goal attempts the last two games. He has scored at least 10 points in at least six games, with a season-high 17 at Charlotte … Ojo is a massive center from Lagos, Nigeria, who played prep basketball in Tennessee. He has only played more than seven minutes in one of his seven starts … Three North Carolina natives come off the bench, and two centers also rotate in. Junior point guard Ian Miller of Charlotte United Faith has battled injuries and is averaging 5.5 points and 2.0 assists per game. Sophomore shooting guard Terry Whisnant of Cherryville High is averaging 5.6 points and is shooting 36.4 percent from 3-point land, and started in 19 games this season. Freshman wing Montay Brandon, who has 22 starts, played at High Point Wesleyan his last two years. He is averging 3.6 points and 1.5 assists per game … Redshirt junior center Kiel Turpin plays the majority of the center minutes, and is averaging 5.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Freshman Boris Bojanovsky, a former NCSU recruiting target, is averaging 3.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest … Redshirt junior power forward Terrance Shannon returned to action after a scary injury Jan. 19 at Virginia. Shannon played three minutes off the bench against North Carolina on March 3. He is averaging 8.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 17 games this season.

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