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Wood, Leslie lead Pack to 56-51 win at BC

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Updated 11:15 p.m.

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Boston College started the week at No. 229 in the Rating Percentage Index, one spot ahead of Savannah State and one behind Lafayette.

That's not the kind of company N.C. State can afford to keep if it wants to end its season in the four-letter postseason tournament instead of the three-letter one. Scott Wood and C.J. Leslie saved the Wolfpack from an RPI-crushing loss on Wednesday — and string of other four-letter words from a portion of its fan base.

Wood (16 points) and Leslie (13) lifted State to an aesthetically-challenged 56-51 ACC win, in name only, over the Eagles.

"We didn't play particularly great," Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. "But what I liked, even on a night when we struggled to score, we still found a way to win."

In front of a sparsely populated Conte Forum — in a city with Super Bowl fever or Stanley Cup fever or anything-but-college-basketball fever — Eagles coach Steve Donahue squeezed every ounce of effort out of his willing team which fell to 7-15 and 2-6 in the conference.

Matt Humphrey hustled for 15 points and the Eagles generally discombobulated a Wolfpack offense, which struggled from the floor (9 of 27) in the first half and struggled to string together two passes early in the second half.

It wasn't until Leslie scored four straight points, after BC tied the game at 44, that State took control of the game. Leslie hit a foul-line jumper and then on the next trip converted both of his free throws at 3:57 for a 48-44 advantage.

After going 2 of 9 in the first half, Leslie made all three of his field goals in the second half.

"I missed some easy ones and I had to pick it up," Leslie said.

He did, as did Wood, who scored 10 points in the second half and helped State shoot 55.6 percent in the second half (10 of 18).

Wood sunk all five of his free throws, pushing his ACC-record streak to 63 in a row. Four of Wood's free throws came in the final 98 seconds.

"I'm bound to miss one eventually, that's the way I'm looking at it," said Wood, who improved to 53 of 53 from the line this season.

He hasn't yet. Humphrey made a 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left to cut State's lead to 54-51 left but Lorenzo Brown (game-high seven assists) made both free throws to ice the game.

State led 25-23 at the half, despite its shooting problems. The game didn't look anything like State's relatively easy 76-62 win over the Eagles in Raleigh on Jan. 19.

"We knew that they didn't play very well in Raleigh," Wood said. "We knew they would bring their 'A' game and they did."

The Pack is in the middle of a stretch of games against the bottom of the conference with Wake Forest next (on Saturday) and a trip to Georgia Tech (on Feb. 9). These games, against teams behind them in the RPI, can't help their NCAA chances but they can hurt them.

State avoided the worst-case scenario on Wednesday and heads back to Raleigh with a 5-3 conference record.

"In this league, you can knocked off by anybody," Wood said. "We just have to keep going and get better."

Photo: N.C. State's C.J. Leslie drives to the basket against Boston College during the first half. ETHAN HYMAN -


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doesn't begin to describe this game. They didn't just play sloppy; at times they played like their mind was on the Super bowl. Even worse, they played timidly, especially on offense. I was so angry at the 15 minute mark, I almost turned the TV off. This has to be Brown's worst game. I have never seen Wood make so many  mental errors/stupid fouls. Has anyone (besides UNC) made us look worse on the defensive boards? Covering up for Leslie's poor defense left big men open for easy offensive rebounds and layups. CJ Williams hits a game-saving three then misses the front end of a one-and-one with the game on the line.

 Maybe it was just too creepy playing in a nearly empty arena. Maybe BC's bigs just out hustled us. Maybe I am being too harsh. After all, we had more points than they did when the clock showed 0:00.  We got a W on the road and for that, I am grateful. steve'73

Speaking of Super Bowl

Approx ten years ago UNC and ncsu used to play on SB Sunday after church for a handful of years. Used to be a wonderful prelude to the SB. I wish it would go back to that.

Before that - in the DT era

Before that - in the DT era - the pre-SB game was NCSU vs MD.

Sloan vs Lefty. Burleson vs Elmore. Thompson vs McMillan. Towe vs Lucas. Epic...

Pretty much sums it up

Of course, a win is a win, and any win on the road should be valued. Not sure if they were still feeling the effect of the Virginia loss, but they need to snap out of it.

Richard may have been overly cautious to avoid fouling out again. Lorenzo's assist numbers are still up, but he needs to take care of the ball better. The disturbing thing is too many are unforced. Calvin did nothing most of the game and I am still waiting to see him box out someone.

Some good did happen. Calvin and Lorenzo did hit their free throws when it counted at the end. I thought CJ Williams was steady as usual, even though he did uncharacteristically miss the front end of that FT. I also thought Scott made some key hustle plays when the team needed it. And they got the W.

Bottom line- I think this is a tired team. The problems are mostly mental, lack of focus problems. They haven't had a one week break since December and have two more games before breaking for one week and then going to Duke. They need to conjure up the energy to get two more wins, rest up, and get prepared for a tough 3 game stretch.

Go Pack!

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.