by Mike Potter
REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH The Hoops 4 Hope game promoting awareness of breast cancer is always a really big deal at N.C. State, and of course today’s is no exception.
The matchup with Georgia Tech is the de facto centerpiece of the Play 4Kay initiative and is being shown on ESPN2.
Kellie Harper’s Wolfpack (13-12, 5-8 ACC) has won five of its last six games, including a 78-66 decision over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta two weeks ago that was a bit of a steal. Tech (10-14, 3-10) has had a very disappointing season, being picked to finish third in the conference after coming off an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
The Wolfpack is wearing white uniforms with pink trim and inspirational words like “Hope” and “Faith” and “Courage” where players’ names would usually appear.
Starting today for Tech is Roddreka Rogers, whose father Rodney was an All-American at Durham Hillside and Wake Forest before his NBA career.
Georgia Tech ignores a long Wolfpack run that takes the halftime lead, winning the second half en route to a 79-70 revenge victory.
State leads 34-32 at the break after overcoming an early 24-6 deficit.
But the Jackets score the first eight points of the second half, going up 40-34 on a Tyaunna Marshall 3-pointer with 18:39 to go, and lead the rest of the way.
State’s closest approach is at 41-40 on a Lakeesa Daniel jumper, but it never gets closer. Tech’s biggest lead of the second half is 13, at 76-63 on a Sydney Wallace layup with 1:33 to go.
Wallace leads the Yellow Jackets with 26 points while Marshall chips in 22. Freshman Aaliyah Whiteside adds 11 while Rogers chips in a season-high 16 rebounds.
Myisha Goodwin-Coleman leads State with a career-high 30 points on 9-for-14 3-point shooting.
Tech shoots 42.6 percent from the floor to State’s 39.4. The Wolfpack wins the rebound battle 45-41 but commits 21 turnovers to the Jackets’ 16.
They said it …
Harper: “I’m disappointed obviously in the outcome of the game with a great atmosphere and a great crowd that was into the game. You hate to walk out of here with a loss. But Georgia Tech did what they needed to do and had some kids really step up. They played their game and we were just out of sync most of the game. We were getting stops and had strong defense late in the first half. When you get stops, they can’t press. But when they get steals and score, they get happy.”
Wallace: “We just came together as a team at halftime. We said to stay together, stay focused, don’t give up and just keep playing hard. We knew they were going to make runs, but we came back and kept fighting.”
Goodwin-Coleman: “I had a lot of confidence after the first one. I just felt like I had the hot hand. When I had some space I just let it go.”
What does it all mean?
That the ACC has an awful lot of balance, and that the Wolfpack needs to get going to have a winning season.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Wallace’s 3-pointer to make it 40-34 with 18:39 to go.
State: Lost 1.
Ga. Tech: Won 1.
State leads 41-23.
Georgia Tech at Wake Forest, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
N.C. State vs. Miami, Thursday, 7 p.m.