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    How Sweet It Is, Pack Continues Onto St. Louis
     
    C.J. Leslie
    C.J. Leslie
     

    AP Recap: NC State 66, Georgetown 63 | Ticket Information

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    March 18, 2012

    Columbus, Ohio - For the first time since the 2004-05 season, the NC State Wolfpack has advanced to the Sweet 16. Next stop, St. Louis.

    The 11th-seeded Pack captured the lead late in the first half and never surrendered it, in ousting third-seed Georgetown, 66-63, Sunday afternoon in Columbus.

    "Well, I'm extremely proud of our team and these young guys," said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried. "I think that they have grown up a lot this year.

    "I think today, when you look at how we were down early. We came back, took the lead, and just how tough-minded they have become. It makes you feel very good as a coach, very proud of them. It's a great win for our program."

    NC State advances to the Round of 16 for the 13th time in school history, and will be looking to move onto the Elite Eight for the first time since 1985-86.

    “How sweet it is, that’s all we’ve been saying," said senior C.J. Williams. "How sweet it is. It feels great. We are sky high. We are confident in ourselves and our coaches.”

    Georgetown came out early and limited the Pack's scoring changes, as NC State had just four field goals in the first 15 minutes of the contest. The Pack opened the game going 4-of-19 from the field, and fell behind 25-15 at the 4:52 mark.

    “We came out kind of slow," said C.J. Leslie. "We weren’t up-tempo like we wanted to be. Once we started playing up-tempo we did well.”

    But the Pack recovered, finishing the half on a 15-2 run. During the momentum shift, NC State was 6-of-10 from the field over the final five minutes of the half and took a 30-27 lead into the break.

    The stretch started with a 12-0 run that spanned 1:10 with the Pack hitting 5-of-6 shots, including a pair of three-pointers by Lorenzo Brown and Williams.

    The William's three-pointer gave the Pack its first lead at 27-25, and after Georgetown tied the score, Scott Wood's free throw gave the Pack a lead it did not surrender the rest of the contest.

    Leslie ended the half for the Pack with a steal and fast-break dunk in the final seconds.

    “If we kept playing good defense we knew we could stay in the game, even if the shots weren’t falling," said Williams.

    The Pack picked up where it left off once the second half started, going on a 13-5 spurt (where Georgetown hit just 2-of-8 shots) and build a 43-34 lead at the 14:34 mark.

    Over the final 4:52 of the first half, and the first 5:26 of the second half, NC State put together a 28-7 run. In that span, the Pack was 12-of-17 from the field, and was up by 11 points at the 14:34 mark.

    The Hoyas responded with a 7-0 run to cut the game to 45-41 at the 11:35 mark.

    A pair of Wood three-pointers, at 9:40 and again at 4:41, kept the Pack ahead and pushed the score to 57-50.

    Brown's floater over the backboard gave NC State a 59-52 lead, and was NC State's last field goal of the game at 2:14.

    "My goal was to get to the rim," said Brown. "I felt I was pushed a little bit, so I just threw it up to see if they called the foul, but it went in, so I wasn't complaining."

    It was then a parade to the free throw line, as the Hoyas sent the Pack to the line for three one-and-one opportunities. The Pack went 7-of-11 from the line over the game's final 1:11.

    Brown made a pair with 10 seconds left, but Jason Clark came right down and made a layup to pull within two with five seconds left.

    Brown was fouled again, and made the first but his miss on the second gave the Hoyas a chance to tie and send the game into overtime. But Brown's defense forced Clark to air ball his game-tying attempt as the horn sounded.

    The Pack's scoring continued to be a total team effort, with Leslie (seven in each half), Williams (nine in the first half) and Wood (4-5 on three-pointers) all scoring a team-high 14 points. Brown finished with 12, while Richard Howell added nine points. The Pack's starting five scored 63 of the team's 66 points.

    Brown once again was the Pack's triple threat, to go with his 12 points, he also had 7 assists and 6 rebounds. In the Pack's two NCAA Tournament wins, Brown has averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 39.0 minutes.

    Howell finished in double digits in rebounds for the 16th game this season, pulling in a game-high 10.

    With the win, 11th-seeded NC State became the first team not seeded between 1-4 to make the Sweet 16. On Saturday, all eight teams that advanced were higher seeds. The Pack also improves to 10-9 all-time when coming into a NCAA Tournament game as a lower seed.

    Head coach Mark Gottfried also has won his first two NCAA Tournament games in his very first season at NC State, a feat unmatched by any other Wolfpack coach. In fact, Gottfried is only the second head coach in ACC history to accomplish that feat, Bill Guthridge did so taking UNC to the 1998 Final Four, of course Guthridge was a long-time assistant to Dean Smith.

    Thanks to wins in seven of its last eight games, the Pack improves to 24-12, the most wins for NC State since the 1987-88 season (24-8).

    NC State advances to St. Louis, and fill face the winner of Kansas/Purdue.

    "I'm sure (the fans are) excited, and should be," said Gottfried.  "We've talked about this a lot. This is such a tradition-rich basketball program. It's a proud program. Proud fans, love their team."


     

     

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