NC State Wolfpack returns home to host Georgia Tech

Raleigh, NC – The NC State Wolfpack men’s basketball team (12-5, 1-3 ACC) returns home to PNC Arena Sunday night to host Georgia Tech (10-6, 2-2 ACC). The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET.

ESPNU will broadcast the game with Anish Schroff and Cory Alexander on the call.

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

Sunday evening’s game is Superhero Night at PNC Arena. Kids are encouraged to come to the game dressed as their favorite superhero. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Batman, Wonder Woman and Captain America will be on the concourse greeting fans and taking pictures.

Pack Tracks

– NC State fell to Boston College on Wednesday, 74-66, to drop its second straight game. Freshman Dennis Smith, Jr., led the Pack in scoring for the seventh time in eight games, finishing with 15 points. Terry Henderson was the only other NC State player to reach double figures with 14 points. Abdul-Malik Abu was two points short of a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds.

Home Sweet Home: Sunday marks NC State’s 10th game inside PNC Arena this season. The Pack has shot 50 percent or better in six of its nine home games this season, including a season-best 64.1 percent (41-64) in its ACC home-opening win over Virginia Tech.

– NC State’s defense has also performed better at home. In nine games, six Pack opponents have shot 37.3 percent or worse from the field. Only one team, Loyola (Chicago) has shot better than 50 percent from the field against NC State in PNC Arena. Overall in nine games at PNC Arena, NC State opponents have more turnovers (112) than assists (108).

– NC State was one of three teams in the ACC to start the league season with three of its first four games on the road. ACC road teams are 8-22 in league play entering this weekend and nine teams do not have a win on the road.


Noting NC State                                                                                       

– NC State has held six of its last nine 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 eight 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 eight games, only three teams have shot over 40% against the Pack.

– After being outrebounded in five of the first seven games of the season, the Pack has outrebounded its opponents in seven of its last 10 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.

– The Pack has had more assists than turnovers in 12 of its 17 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, at Miami on Dec. 31, at UNC-Chapel Hill on Jan. 8 and at Boston College on Jan. 11. NC State is 11-1  when it has more assists than turnovers this season.

– Junior forward Abdul-Malik Abu has led NC State in rebounding in five consecutive games. During the current five-game span, Abu is averaging 10.4 rebounds per game.
– Freshman guard Dennis Smith, Jr., has led NC State in scoring in seven of the last eight games, led the team in assists in seven of the last eight games and has led the team in steals in eight consecutive games.


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 eight 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. In the first nine games of the season, NC State’s bench scored 95 points (10.6 per game) total. The team has scored 211 points (26.4) off-the-bench in the last eight games.

The Pack has had a player score in double-figures off-the-bench in seven of the last eight games.


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). In the Jan. 4 win over Virginia Tech, NC State had three players (Dennis Smith, Jr., Terry Henderson & Abdul-Malik Abu score 20+ points). The Pack has had five different players lead the team in scoring this season: Abdul-Malik Abu, Torin Dorn, Terry Henderson, Maverick Rowan and Dennis Smith, Jr. Through 17 games this season, the Pack has five players averaging in double figures.


Dennis Smith, Jr.

Dennis Smith, Jr.<brphoto by gene Galin

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.


More on Smith’s Triple-Double

– Dennis Smith Jr.’s triple-double was the second in school history. (Julius Hodge – 11pts/12reb/10ast – vs. North Carolina A&T on 12/14/02).

– His triple-double is the 17th in NCAA DI this season and the 3rd by an ACC player. He is the only ACC player this year to record his triple-double against an ACC foe.

– Smith is the 7th freshmen in ACC history to record a triple-double. He is the only one of the seven freshmen to register his triple-double against an ACC opponent.

– In addition to the triple-double, Smith also had a career-high five steals in the win over the Hokies.

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), 70.3% of the minutes (2407 of 3425 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 1352 minutes this season, 39.5% of the total minutes played on the year. The freshmen class accounts for the highest percentage of minutes played this season for NC State.


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 trio combines to average 47.1 points per game. Overall, Dorn, Henderson and Smith have combined to score 800 points this season, which is 57.6% of the points scored by NC State this year.


Top Scoring Trios in ACC

Pittsburgh – Jamel Artis (22.8), Michael Young (22.0), Cameron Johnson (11.8)     56.6

Duke – Luke Kennard (20.4), Grayson Allen (15.2), Amile Jefferson (13.6)   49.2

NC State – Dennis Smith, Jr. (18.8), Terry Henderson (15.4), Torin Dorn (12.9)       47.1


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 145 assists and 71 turnovers in 897 minutes of action this season. The two combine to average just 1 turnover every 12.6 minutes. Johnson (39 assists/16 turnovers) has a 2.44 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Smith (106 assists/55 turnovers) has a 1.93 assist-to-turnover ratio. Through 17 games, NC State is averaging 81.7 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 – 38) and 2nd (Johnson – 16) on the team in steals.


Smith Aiming to be Second Freshman in ACC History                     

Two months into the season, freshman guard Dennis Smith, Jr., is on pace to become just the second freshman in ACC history to lead the league in both assists and steals. Smith currently ranks first in the ACC in assists (6.24) and is tied for first in steals with Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell (2.24). In the 2013-14 season, Tyler Ennis of Syracuse became the first freshman in ACC history to lead the league in both categories. Ennis averaged 5.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game in his rookie year for Syracuse. Since the 1972-73 season, seven freshmen have led the ACC in assists and since 1977-78 three freshmen have led the league in steals.


ACC Freshman of the Week Two Times       

Dennis Smith, Jr., has been named ACC Freshman of the Week two times this season (Dec. 19 and Jan. 9).

He was named 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. For the week, Smith was 11-for-18 (.611) from the field, including 6-for-9 (.667) from 3-point range.

He was named Freshman of the Week on Jan. 9 after recording the first triple-double in ACC history by a freshman against an ACC opponent. Smith had 27 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and 11 assists in NC State’s 104-78 win over 21st-ranked Virginia Tech. It was the second triple-double in NC State history.

ESPNU |  ACC Network Extra | Live Stats | Twitter