NC State Wolfpack hosts Pittsburgh Tuesday evening

Raleigh, NC – The NC State men’s basketball team (12-6, 1-4 ACC) plays its second home in three days as it hosts Pittsburgh (12-6, 1-4 ACC) on Tuesday night at PNC Arena. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET.

ESPNU will broadcast the game with Rich Hollenberg and Dino Gaudio on the call.

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 basketball coach Mark Gottfried

NC State basketball coach Mark Gottfried.
photo by Gene Galin

– NC State dropped its first home game of the season Sunday evening, falling to Georgia Tech, 86-76. The Pack is now 10-1 at home this season, including a 9-1 mark at PNC Arena.

– The Pack was led by freshman Dennis Smith, Jr., in the game versus Georgia Tech. The ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year scored a season-best 31 points and led his team in rebounds (8), assists (6), steals (2) and blocks (2). Sophomore Maverick Rowan also reached double figures in the game, scoring 17 points to tie his season-high.
Sunday marked the second consecutive game, NC State only placed two players in double figures scoring. It’s only the third time in 18 games this season, NC State has only had two players score in double figures. The Pack is 0-3 in those three games. For the season, the Pack has five players averaging in double figures and has had at least four players reach double figures in nine of its 18 games this season.

– Freshman Dennis Smith, Jr., has led the Pack in scoring and assists in eight of the last nine games. He has led the team in steals in nine consecutive games. Through 18 games, Smith is on pace to break many NC State freshman records.

Noting NC State                                     

– NC State has held six of its last 10 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.

– After being outrebounded in five of the first seven games of the season, the Pack has outrebounded its opponents in seven of its last 11 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 13 of its 18 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 11-2 when it has more assists than turnovers this season.

– Inside the numbers: Two stats that are a good predictor of the result for NC State – rebounding and opponent field goal percentage. The Pack is 8-1 this season when it outrebounds its opponent, but just 4-5 when the opponent wins the battle on the boards. This season when NC State holds its opponent to 45 percent shooting or worse from the field, the Pack is 10-0. NC State is 2-6 if its opponent shoots over 45 percent from the field.
– Freshman guard Dennis Smith, Jr., has led NC State in scoring and assists in eight of the last nine games and has led the team in steals in nine consecutive games.

– Smith has taken over half of NC State’s free throws in ACC play. NC State has taken 86 free throws in 5 ACC games and Smith has accounted for 44 of those attempts. Terry Henderson with 13 free throw attempts has the second-most free throw attempts in ACC play on the team.

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 224 points (24.8) off-the-bench in the last ninegames.

The Pack has had a player score in double-figures off-the-bench in seven of the last 10 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 18 games this season, the Pack has five players averaging in double figures.

NC State Wolfpack guard Dennis Smith, Jr.

NC State freshman guard Dennis Smith, Jr.
photo 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.

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), 69.7% of the minutes (2527 of 3625 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 1424 minutes this season, 39.3% 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 842 points this season, which is 57.5% of the points scored by NC State this year.

Top Scoring Trios in ACC

Pittsburgh – Jamel Artis (22.4), Michael Young (20.9), Cameron Johnson (11.6)  54.9

Duke – Luke Kennard (20.2), Grayson Allen (15.7), Amile Jefferson (13.6) 49.5    \

NC State – Dennis Smith, Jr. (19.5), Terry Henderson (14.8), Torin Dorn (12.4)     46.7

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 152 assists and 74 turnovers in 950 minutes of action this season. The two combine to average just 1 turnover every 12.8 minutes. Johnson (40 assists/17 turnovers) has a 2.35 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Smith (112 assists/57 turnovers) has a 1.96 assist-to-turnover ratio. Through 18 games, NC State is averaging 81.4 points per game and shooting 48.1% from the field. The points per game rank and field goal percentage both rank fifth in the ACC. The two freshmen also rank 1st (Smith – 40) and 2nd (Johnson – 17) 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 (6.22) and first in steals (2.22). 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.

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