NC State Wolfpack hosts Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon

Raleigh, NC – The NC State men’s basketball team (13-6, 2-4 ACC) closes its three-game homestand Saturday afternoon by hosting Wake Forest (11-7, 2-4). The game is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. ET.

ACC Network will broadcast the game with Evan Lepler and Cory Alexander on the call. ACC Network affiliates showing the game in North Carolina include: WBTV (Charlotte), WFMY (Greensboro – Winston-Salem – High Point), WITN-D2 (Greenville – New Bern – Washington) WSFX (Wilmington) and WRAL (Raleigh – Durham – Fayetteville). A full list of affiliates carrying the game can be found here:

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 battled back from a seven point second half deficit to defeat Pittsburgh, 79-74, on Tuesday night. The Pack ended the game on a 17-5 run. In the final eight minutes of the game, the Panthers only connected on one field goal attempt as the Pack defense limited Pitt to just 1-of-11 shooting.

– The Pack was led by Terry Henderson and Maverick Rowan who both scored 21 points. Henderson added a career-high eight rebounds in the win, while Rowan’s 21 points were a season-high and he was 6-of-9 from long distance. The six three-pointers tied a career-high for Rowan.

NC State’s Terry Henderson on defense.
photo by Gene Galin

– Freshman center Omer Yurtseven recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the win. Yurtseven grabbed eight of his 16 rebounds on the offensive end. The eight offensive rebounds are the most by a Pack player this season.

Tuesday night marked the 11th time in 19 games this season the Pack had at least four players in double figures scoring. NC State is 9-2 this year when it has four-plus players score in double figures.

– Maverick Rowan is 17-of-34 from three-point range in six ACC games. He ranks third in the ACC in three-point percentage (50%) in ACC games and fourth in three-point field goals per game (2.83).

Noting NC State

– NC State is ranked 52nd in the most recent RPI with a 3-5 record overall against teams listed in the top 100. The Wolfpack’s strength of schedule currently sits at 46th in the NCAA. Eleven ACC teams are ranked 52nd or better in the RPI. NC State’s opponent on Saturday, Wake Forest, is ranked 25th in the current RPI rankings.

– After being outrebounded in five of the first seven games of the season, the Pack has outrebounded its opponents in eight of its last 12 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 14 of its 19 games this season.  NC State is 12-2 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 9-1 this season when it outreboundsits 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 3-6 if its opponent shoots over 45 percent from the field.

– In the Pack’s 13 wins this season, opponents are shooting 38.6 percent from the field (325-842). In the Pack’s six losses, opponents are shooting 50.6 percent (196-387).
– Freshman guard Dennis Smith, Jr., has led NC State in scoring and assists in eight of the last 10 games and has led the team in steals in 10 consecutive games.

NC State basketball coach Mark Gottfried.
photo by Gene Galin

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 236 points (23.6) off-the-bench in the last 10 games. 

            The Pack has had a player score in double-figures off-the-bench in seven of the last 11 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 19 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.

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), 69.9% of the minutes (2675 of 3825 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 1525 minutes this season, 39.9% 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 46.5 points per game. Overall, Dorn, Henderson and Smith have combined to score 878 points this season, which is 56.9% of the points scored by NC State this year.

Top Scoring Trios in ACC

Pittsburgh – Jamel Artis (22.0), Michael Young (21.1), Cameron Johnson (11.8)  54.9

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

NC State – Dennis Smith, Jr. (19.1), Terry Henderson (15.4), Torin Dorn (12.0) 46.5

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 165 assists and 78 turnovers in 1022 minutes of action this season. The two combine to average just 1 turnover every 13.1 minutes. Johnson (47 assists/19 turnovers) has a 2.47 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Smith (118 assists/59 turnovers) has a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. The two players combine to have a 2.12 assist-to-turnover ratio. Through 19 games, NC State is averaging 81.3 points per game and shooting 47.8% 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 – 42) and 2nd (Johnson – 18) 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 (6.21) 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.

Abu Climbing NC State Career Offensive Rebounding Ledger

NC State forward Abdul-Malik Abu
photo by Gene Galin

Junior forward Abdul-Malik Abu has been a capable offensive rebounder throughout his career at NC State. This year, Abu has 45 offensive rebounds in 19 games (2.4 per game) and has 25 more offensive rebounds than the next closest player on the team. (Omer Yurtseven – 20). For his career, Abu has 231 offensive rebounds to rank ninth all-time in the NC State record book for career offensive rebounds.

Smith on Pace to Stand Alone in NC State Freshman Record Book

Freshman guard Dennis Smith, Jr., is on pace to finish his freshman campaign at NC State as the leader in numerous all-time freshman categories. Through 19 games, Smith is averaging 19.1 points per game, 6.2 assists per game and 2.21 steals per game.

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