RBC CENTER/RALEIGH N.C. State comes into tonight’s home game with Virginia Tech badly in need of a win if the Wolfpack has any hope of getting onto the NCAA Tournament track.
Seth Greenberg’s club already spoiled a Wolfpack party here last season, rolling to a 72-52 romp that was the Hokies’ first win in Raleigh since 1917 when Woodrow Wilson was President.
Sidney Lowe’s Wolfpack has lost five of its last six and isn’t favored in many more games this season. The Wolfpack will play its second straight game without freshman guard Ryan Harrow, who has been ill.
The visitors take control over the first 10 minutes and never again let the Wolfpack closer than six points back in a 77-69 victory.
State takes a 7-2 lead behind five quick points from Tracy Smith, but the Hokies score seven straight and basically spend the rest of the first half pulling away.
Tech leads 39-26 at the break behind 10 points apiece from Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney. The Hokies outshoot the Wolfpack 43.2 percent to 37.0 and utterly dominate the rebound battle 27-12 over the first 20 minutes. Each team turns the ball over just twice in the period.
State cuts it to nine at 46-37 on a 3-pointer from C.J. Williams, but the Hokies take the lead back to 15 twice.
The Wolfpack cuts the margin to 63-57 on a Lorenzo Brown three-point play at the 4:29 mark and to 65-59 on a pair of Scott Wood free throws at 3:35, but can’t get it to six again until Brown’s layup with 20 seconds to go makes it 75-69.
Delaney’s two free throws with 18 seconds remaining complete the scoring.
Delaney leads the Hokies with 22 points while Allen adds 15 with 11 rebounds. Erick Green and Terrell Bell chip in 13 each for the Hokies, while Victor Davila hauls in 13 rebounds.
C.J. Leslie leads the Wolfpack with 18 points, followed by Wood and Smith with 11 apiece
State shoots 40.0 percent from the floor to Tech’s 40.9, while the Hokies win the rebound battle 46-35. Each team commits only six turnovers.
They said it …
NCSU coach Sidney Lowe: “We just talked about the second-half effort in the locker room. In the second half, we played like we’ve practiced the last two days. I was disappointed to see we didn’t come out that way (from the start.) I think DeShawn Painter came out aggressive and did a great job for us. But as a team, we need to learn how to win. We have to come out hard in the beginning.”
Va. Tech coach Seth Greenberg: “The unsung hero of the game was Victor Davila with 13 rebounds. We’re just really competing with their frontcourt and keeping balls alive. I thought Terrell Bell also made some huge, huge plays. … This is a very good win for our basketball team. To have a chance to be 5-4 at the halfway point of the league is an accomplishment.”
Wood: “The (high) preseason expectations for us were the fans and the so-called experts. But at the same time we didn’t expect this. We expected to come out and be good. We just need to keep working and getting better, and that’s the main thing. There’s always time. I’m not going to say we can go out there and lose some more games, but there’s always time.”
Smith: “The rebounding in the first half was frustrating and embarrassing. But in the second half, we came out and fought harder. We got tired of them getting all the offensive rebounds so we decided to box out and go get some ourselves. I thought we did that in the second half. We’re running out of time, but we aren’t out of time yet. We can still do some big things, but we just can’t give up.”
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Allen’s jumper with 3:07 left to make it 65-57.
State leads 34-14.
NCSU: Lost 3.
VT: Won 2.
Va. Tech at Boston College, Saturday, 1 p.m.
N.C. State at Duke, Saturday, 6 p.m.