Wolfpack Returns to RBC Center Versus Clemson
NC State (13-11, 3-7 ACC) vs. Clemson (17-8, 6-5 ACC)
NC State Hosts Clemson: NC State begins a stretch of playing three of its next four games at home, as the Wolfpack (13-11, 3-7) returns to the RBC Center by playing host to Clemson on Thursday at 7 p.m. NC State is coming off an 80-55 win at Wake Forest on Sunday.
The Tigers (17-8, 6-5 ACC) have won four of their last six games, all in ACC play. Clemson is 1-4 on the road in conference play, winning at Georgia Tech, 65-56 on Feb. 5.
This game will be televised on ESPN2 with Mike Patrick and Len Elmore.
The Series Versus Clemson: Thursday’s matchup will be the 144th meeting between NC State and Clemson with the Wolfpack holding a 96-47 lead in the series. This includes a 45-13 edge in games played in Raleigh.
Clemson has won six of the last seven games in the series, but NC State had won eight of the previous nine before that Tiger streak. Earlier this season, Clemson won 60-50.
The Pack is 4-4 against Clemson at the RBC Center. The Tigers won the first game between the two teams in 2000, then NC State won the next four on its home court. Clemson has won the last three in Raleigh, including last season, 73-70.
Earlier This Season Versus Clemson: On January 25, Clemson overcame a 19-point first half deficit and defeated the visiting Wolfpack, 60-50, at Littlejohn Coliseum. NC State started the game on a 31-12 run over the first 14 minutes of play, but scored just 19 points over the final 26 minutes of the game. In the second half, NC State scored just 16 points and shot 25.0 percent (6-24) from the field. Clemson closed the first half on a 17-3 run to cut the NC State lead to 34-29 at the half. The Tigers then put together a 16-0 run in the second half to take the lead for good at the 5:43 mark. Tracy Smith was the only Wolfpack player in double figures, as he finished with 13 points.
Last Time Out for NC State: NC State's starting front court of C.J. Leslie and Tracy Smith combined for 39 points, as NC State easily won at Wake Forest, 80-55, on Sunday. The Wolfpack's 25-point margin of victory was the third highest in an ACC road game in school history, and the largest ACC road win since 1954-55. The Pack started the game on an 8-0 run and held the lead throughout the game. NC State was up 37-29 at the half, then Wake cut the lead to four points, but NC State responded with a 14-2 run that put the game away. NC State shot 55.9 percent (33-59) from the floor, and recorded 22 assists. Smith scored a game-high 20 points, while Leslie's 19 points matched his best in an ACC game.
In ACC Losses the Pack Struggles at the Start: In its seven ACC losses this season, NC State has gotten off to slow starts. In that seven games combined, the Pack has shot 33.5 percent in the first half of play and averaged 25.4 points. The Pack has shot over 50.0 percent in the first half of just one game during that stretch (at Clemson) and in three games has shot under 30.0 percent in the first 20 minutes of play. NC State has been outscored by an average of 10.7 points in the first half of its ACC losses.
NC State improved in the second half of those games, shooting 44.9 percent and averaging 38.9 points, in those seven conference losses.
In ACC Wins the Pack Opens Strong: In sharp contrast to the Pack's ACC losses, in NC State's three ACC wins the Pack has started strong and taken the lead into the half. NC State has shot 42.4 percent from the floor in those games in the opening half and averaged 38.0 points. NC State also held the lead at halftime in each of its three ACC wins by and average of 8.3 points.
What is even more impressive is the way NC State has played in the second half of each of its ACC wins. In the three games, NC State has combined to shoot 60.6 percent from the floor and averaged 42.7 points in the second half of play. NC State shot 56.7 percent or better in eavery second half of the three ACC wins, and last time out at Wake Forest, the Pack hit 67.9 percent (19-28).
Pack's Tough Schedule: NC State's seven conference losses this season have been to teams that have a combined 72.0 (59-21) winning percentage in conference play. The Pack is tied with Duke in whose opponents in losses post the highest winning percentage.
Leslie and Brown Recover From Slumps: Many players have their ups and downs during a season, and for a pair of NC State rookies that has been the case recently.
C.J. Leslie started the first four ACC games, averaging 14.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. Then he got sick and came off the bench in two straight games, averaging just 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in those contests.
But Leslie's recent play has been more like the beginning of the ACC season. Over the last three games that he has played, he has averaged 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. He scored 14 points at UNC, and then had a team-high 18 points against Virginia Tech. After returning from a one-game suspension, Leslie tied his ACC-best with 19 points at Wake Forest, while also tying for the team lead in rebounds with eight.
Lorenzo Brown struggled in the early part of January, averaging just 5.0 points over a five game stretch. But over his last six games, Brown has averaged 11.5 points, including a career-high 20 points at North Carolina and then 15 points at Duke. Brown has also dished out 5.8 assists over his last four games, tying his career mark with seven in a pair.
Smith Reaches Another Milestone: In the ACC season opener against Wake Forest on Jan. 8, senior Tracy Smith scored his 1,000th career point. Smith currently has 1,145 career points, which ranks 36th in school history. He is 36 points shy of passing Engin Atsür and moving into 35th place.
In the game at Wake Forest, Smith collected his 500th career rebound, and in the process became the 25th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.