NC State Wolfpack hosts Virginia Tech in ACC basketball home opener

Raleigh, NC – The NC State men’s basketball team hosts Virginia Tech Wednesday evening at 9 p.m. ET inside PNC Arena in its ACC home opener.

wolfpack cheerleaders

NC State Wolfpack by Gene Galin

The game will be shown on the ACC Network with Evan Lepler and Jason Capel handling the call. In the Raleigh area, the game can be found on WRAL. Over the state of North Carolina, the game will be shown on WBTV (Charlotte), WMYV (Greensboro – Winston-Salem – High Point), WITN-D2 (Greenville – New Bern – Washington) and WILM (Wilmington).  A full listing of all ACC Network affiliates carrying the game can be found at this link.

Fans can also listen to the game on the Wolfpack Sports Network with Gary Hahn and Tony Haynes calling the action.

Pack Tracks

– NC State fell to Miami, 81-63, Saturday in the ACC opener for both teams. Freshman Dennis Smith, Jr., led the Pack in scoring for the fourth time in five games with 21 points. Smith also had a game-high five assists. Junior Abdul-Malik Abu was the only other NC State player in double figures, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds.
– Six of the nine players that played for NC State on Saturday were making their ACC debuts, including four of the five starters.
– Smith Jr., has been playing at a high level for the Pack over the past five games. The ACC’s Preseason Rookie of the Year is averaging 20.4 ppg., on 57.6% shooting (34-59), including 57.1% (16-28) from three-point range. He also has passed out 42 assists in the five games (8.4 apg.) and has 12 steals (2.4 spg.) He has led NC State in scoring in four of the last five games and has led the team in assists and steals in six straight games entering Wednesday night’s contest.

Wednesday marks the second-time this season NC State will face a ranked opponent. The Pack last played a ranked opponent at home on Feb. 24, 2016 when it lost to #7 North Carolina, 80-68. NC State last defeated a ranked opponent at home on Jan. 30, 2016 when it beat #15 Miami, 85-69. The Pack has 180 wins all-time over top-25 teams. Head Coach Mark Gottfried has nine wins over top-25 teams in his time coaching NC State.

Noting NC State                                                                                       

– NC State has held five of its last six opponents to less than 1.00 point per possession. The Pack held McNeese State to 0.77 points per possession, tying the low-mark of the season (Appalachian State – 0.77). The Pack has held an opponent to less than 1.00 points per possession seven times this season. In the first eight games, five teams shot 45% or better, including four teams that shot over 50% against the Pack defense. In the last six games, Miami is the only team that has shot over 40 percent against the Pack (47.7%).

– After being outrebounded in five of the first seven games of the season, the Pack has outrebounded its opponents in five of its last seven games. NC State out-rebounded its last two

non-conference opponents by 43. The Pack had a season-best +28 rebounding advantage over McNeese State (55-27) on Dec. 22. NC State has outscored its opponents in second chance

points in five of the last eight games. The Wolfpack limited Fairfield to a season-low two second chance points on Dec. 18.

– The Pack has had more assists than turnovers in 11 of its 14 games this season. The only games where the Pack had more turnovers than assists was at Illinois on Nov. 29,  vs. Tennessee State on Dec. 10 and at Miami on Dec. 31.

Full Squad = Major Bench Production                     

After playing the first nine games of the season with at least one scholarship player missing, and sometimes two or three players missing, the Pack has had its full complement of players for the last four games. Four of the last five games have produced NC State’s highest bench point production nights of the year as the Pack has scored at least 27 points off the bench four of the last five games. The Pack had three players score in double figures off-the-bench in the win over Appalachian State on 12/15 after having only three individual double-digit scoring performances off-the-bench in the first nine games. The Pack scored 46 bench points against Appalachian State, double its previous-best season performance to that point, which was 23 points. Against Fairfield on 12/18, Omer Yurtseven led the NC State bench with 12 points as the Pack scored 29 bench points. Maverick Rowan led NC State with 15 points off-the-bench as the Pack scored 35 bench points in the win over McNeese State on 12/22. In the first nine games of the season, NC State’s bench scored 95 points (10.6 per game) total. The team has scored 148 points (29.6) off-the-bench in the last five games. The Pack has had a player score in double-figures off-the-bench in five of the last six games.

For the season, the Pack has 243 points (17.3) off-the-bench, while its opponents have 336 points (24) off-the-bench.

Balanced Scoring Attack                                         

NC State has had five or more players reach double figures in scoring in five games this season. Last season in 33 games, NC State only had three games where five players reached double figures in scoring. The Pack had five players reach double-figures in wins over Georgia Southern (Nov. 11), St. Francis Brooklyn (Nov. 13) and Fairfield (Dec. 18) and had six players in double figures in the win over Appalachian State (Dec. 15) and Rider (Dec. 28). The Pack has had four different players lead the team in scoring this season: Terry Henderson vs. Georgia Southern, Creighton, Boston University, Tennessee State and Fairfield, Torin Dorn vs. St. Francis and Illinois, Abdul-Malik Abu vs. Montana and Dennis Smith, Jr., vs. Saint Joseph’s, Loyola (Chicago), Appalachian State, McNeese State, Rider and Miami. Through 14 games this season, the Pack has five players averaging in double figures.

Smith Sets PNC Arena Assists Record                    

Freshman Dennis Smith, Jr., set a PNC Arena record on Wednesday, Dec. 28 when he passed out 16 assists in the Pack’s 99-71 win over Rider. The 16 assists broke the previous record of 13 which was held by NC State’s Lorenzo Brown (vs. Duke on 1/12/13) and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kendall Marshall (vs. NC State on 2/21/12).  The 16 assists are the most in a single-game by an NCAA DI player this season.

Henderson Has Been Strong in Bounce-Back Performances                     

Saturday marked just the third time this season, senior guard Terry Henderson did not reach double figures, scoring eight points against Miami. The previous two times Henderson has been held to single digits, he has bounced back with great performances. After scoring 8 points against Montana, Henderson tied his career-high with 28 points against Creighton (9-14 FGs, 7-11 3-pt FGs). After scoring 7 points at Illinois, Henderson had 23 points against Boston University (8-14 FGs, 4-10 3-pt FGs).


Getting Their First Run with the Pack                                

Counting Terry Henderson (who only played the first six minutes of the season last year before being injured and lost for the year), 72.1% of the minutes (2038 of 2825 minutes) played for NC State this season have been by players that did not play for the Wolfpack last season. Not counting Henderson, the Pack has had seven players make their NC State debut this season, including five freshmen. The five freshmen have played 1129 minutes this season, 40% of the total minutes played on the year. The freshmen class accounts for the highest percentage of minutes played this season for NC State. 

Shooting Star 

Sophomore guard Torin Dorn shot 50.5% from the field as a freshman at UNC-Charlotte in 2014-15 en route to being named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year.

Through 14 games this season, Dorn is 74-of-135 (54.8%) from the field to rank 5th in the ACC in field goal percentage. Dorn is the highest ranked guard on the field goal percentage list in the ACC. He is 56-of-97 (57.7%) on two-pointers and 18-of-38 (47.4%) on three-pointers. Dorn did not miss a two-point field goal attempt in the Nov. 13 game against St. Francis. He was 8-of-8 in the game on two-pointers. He also hit his first four field goals against Montana before missing a layup late in the first half to snap his streak of 13 consecutive 2-point field goals made.

One of Top-Scoring Trios in ACC                               

Freshman Dennis Smith, Jr., sophomore Torin Dorn and senior Terry Henderson combine to form one of the top-scoring trios in the ACC. The three players all rank in the top-16 in the ACC in scoring as NC State is the only team in the ACC to have three players in the top-16. The trio combines to average 50.2 points per game. Overall, Dorn, Henderson and Smith have combined to score 653 points this season, which is 58.8% of the points scored by NC State this year.

Top Scoring Trios in ACC

Pittsburgh – Michael Young (22.9), Jamel Artis (21.2), Cameron Johnson (12.5)     56.6

Duke – Luke Kennard (20.4), Grayson Allen (16.0), Amile Jefferson (13.8)   51.2

NC State – Dennis Smith, Jr. (19.1), Terry Henderson (15.8), Torin Dorn (14.4)       49.3 

Freshmen Running the Show                                    

Freshman point guards Dennis Smith, Jr., and Markell Johnson run the show for the Wolfpack this season. The two players combined have 121 assists and 55 turnovers in 750 minutes of action this season. The two combine to average just 1 turnover every 13.6 minutes. Johnson (34 assists/13 turnovers) has a 2.62 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Smith (87 assists/42 turnovers) has a 2.07 assist-to-turnover ratio. Through 14 games, NC State is averaging 83.1 points per game and shooting 48.7% from the field. The points per game rank fifth in the ACC, while the field goal percentage ranks fourth. The two freshmen also rank 1st (Smith – 27) and 2nd (Johnson – 13) on the team in steals.

ACC Freshman of the Week                                      

Dennis Smith, Jr., was named the ACC Freshman of the Week on Dec. 19, after averaged 19.5 points, 7.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in two Wolfpack wins the previous week.

He scored a game-high 22 points on 5-for-8 field goal shooting and 11-for-12 shooting from the foul line to lead NC State to a 97-64 win over Appalachian State. He added a game-high six assists and had all three of the Wolfpack’s steals.

Smith scored 17 points, passed out a season-high nine assists, grabbed five rebounds and added two steals and a blocked shot in a 99-78 win over Fairfield. The Fayetteville, N.C., native was 6-for-10 from the field in the game, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range. The five 3-pointers made were a season-high. For the week, Smith was 11-for-18 (.611) from the field, including 6-for-9 (.667) from 3-point range.

Game on ACC Network | ACC Network AffiliatesACC Network Extra | Live Stats | Twitter