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N.C. State 88, Florida State 81

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packblogPhil Coale - AP

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Fittingly, the game ended with the ball in Scott Wood's hands. That's where it was won for N.C. State.

Wood
scored 31 points, the best by any ACC freshman this season, to shoot
the Wolfpack to an improbable 88-81 win at No. 25 Florida State on
Tuesday night.

Wood hit seven 3-pointers to lift the Wolfpack to its first ACC win
after an 0-2 conference start. Wood amazed himself with the blazing
shooting performance — 10 of 15 from the floor and 7 of 11 from 3 —
against one of the best defensive teams in the ACC.

"On a couple of shots I took, even I thought, 'Why am i shooting this,' " Wood said. "And then they went in."

With
leading scorers Tracy Smith, Dennis Horner and Javier Gonzalez, in
equal parts foul trouble and smothered by the Seminoles' overwhelming
size, N.C. State turned to the 3-pointer, hitting 11-of-23, and in
reversal of fortune, the free-throw line.

After missing 10 free throws in an eight-point loss to Virginia on
Saturday, the Wolfpack hit 29-of-35 free throws, including a 10-of-10
effort from Julius Mays, on Tuesday.

Without
Wood, though, there was no lead to secure at the free-throw line. The
lanky 6-7 freshman came in with a reputation as a sharp-shooter but
struggled with his shot in the first month of the season. He made as
many 3-pointers on Tuesday as he did in all of November. He averaged
7.6 points per game before Tuesday's explosion.

"He just had one of the nights when you have to give a guy credit," FSU
coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He stepped up when they needed him to
come through."

Wood delivered the two biggest daggers, both 3s, after FSU cut what was a 13-point lead down to four points.

Up 59-55, Wood drained a 3 over FSU guard Derwin Kitchen and then held
up his right hand to accentuate the follow-through after the ball
swished through the net.

The
next time down the floor, he grabbed an offensive rebound, one of
seven, and drained another 3 for a 65-55 lead with 5:27 left. The Tucker Center crowd groaned after each improbable Wood 3-pointer.

"Some
of their defenders were in his face, close enough to kiss him, and he
was still knocking them down," said Pack guard Farnold Degand, who
added 13 points.

Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe marveled at how his team found a way to win
without the usual output from Smith. Just three weeks ago at Wake
Forest, with Smith in foul trouble, and limited to 11 points, the Pack
lost by eight points.

Wood out-scored the Pack's usual source of offense — Smith (seven
points), Horner (eight points) and Gonzalez (five points) — by himself.
Lowe's team found a completely new way to win.

"Our
main three guys, didn't have big games," Lowe said, praising freshman
Richard Howell's contributions (seven points, seven rebounds) and
Degand's (13 points).

The strong free-throw performance, especially in the second half
(24-of-28), is what pleased Lowe the most, in light of their recent
struggles from the line, and all the practice time devoted to it.

"We
finished this one," Lowe said. "I'm just glad that all of the work that
they put in, it paid off. It's a great win for our guys."

This time the Wolfpack got to watch the opponent struggle from the
free-throw line (25-of-34) and shoot wayward 3-pointers (4-of-13). The
last 3 bounced off the rim and into Wood's hands.

The clocked melted down and the Wolfpack had its first ACC win.

"You never want to start 0-3 in the ACC," Wood said. "Hopefully we can keep this thing rolling."

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Congrats

Good win for the Pack. Maybe 5-6 ACC wins in their future, if they can continue to shoot that well.

bottom feeders

jpdittyohio u tell us how excited u are that the cow college beat fl. state, a bottom feeder just like ncsu, that must make u feel really good. go DUKE, !!!!!!!!!!!!

Bottomfeeders

I am going to abandon my usual practice of ignoring your sorry ass to respond this one time.

Couldn't help but notice that bottomfeeding Fla State, who just lost to the bottomfeeding Wolfpack, did something this year that the powerful Duke Blue Devils failed to do-- win at Ga Tech.

Looking forward to ignoring you for the rest of the season. 

Scott Wood

after Scott Wood signed with State and all throughout this past summer many including myself were looking forward to Wood finally playing for State and shooting "lights out" three pointers. took a bit for Scott to get going, but it was worth the wait. Who-raaaa!

Wow

8 minutes into the game, I called my dad and said that this was the best NC State basketball I had seen in 3 years. I didn't know if it would carry on for all 40 minutes, but the Pack proved it could win a tough game on the road. I don't think that FSU is one of the 25 best in the country, but it was an NC State win more than it was an FSU loss. Scott Wood shot lights out and even demonstrated some defensive ability. Javi played well, fouled out, and the Pack still maintained the lead. I haven't looked at the stat sheet yet, but after watching the game, I'm guessing they shot above from the free throw line. Julius Mays was a key player down the stretch and I was happy to see these young guys step up and get it done. State deserved to get a win like this after the heartbreak to Florida 9 days ago. The main question is how does the team build off of this win? Does it motivate them to keep flying up and down the court and play disciplined basketball, or will they sneak in a few more wins and then hit cruise control? Sid showed tonight that he's got some young talent, so it's time to see if he can keep them rolling.

A lot to like

The main thing I like about this team is that they seem to be all in it together. Sid has been preaching unselfishness and competition for playing time. Unlike the past couple of years, this team has bought into that concept. This allows different players to step up because, if they are playing well, they stay in the game.

I never would have guessed that the Pack could win a game like this without Smith, Horner and Gonzalez making big contributions. Tracy is going to be facing double-teams for the rest of the year, so I expect his numbers to be affected negatively. It is going to be important for him to continue to pass out to the perimeter. If the Pack can hit their shots like Scott did yesterday, they will have a chance in every game.

I would like to see Javi settle down. I love the kid's passion and aggressiveness, and to a certain degree, we have to live with it because it is what drives him. But, if he can channel it a little bit better, then he might be able to avoid the dumb fouls and turnovers that have plagued him lately. State is better with him on the floor, although I am very happy to see Julius Mays developing into a solid player.

hole-20

i thought u were a carawhina fan, how in the hell can u get excited over a cow college win, and most of all pull for SKID who is the worst coach in the acc, go DUKE!!!!!!!!!!!

2nd

I second your motion for State playing their best ball in nearly 3 years. I think they were 29-35 from the free line. Thank! Goodness! 

 Here's to hoping State can develop a steady inside presence so Scott Wood can be fed the ball early and often. There's no reason to say Scott Wood's gonna be All-American, but that kid, if he continues to develop, will be something special for the Pack. 

 Gotta keep it going against Clemson on Saturday.  

 

Aye

Scott Wood has a chance to be an outstanding player for the Pack. All the focus has been on his shooting ability, but he has earned his minutes based on everything he brings to the table--defense, rebounding, hustle and mostly error free play. He is good now and will only get better.

Richard Howell is also on track to be a force in this league. He gets better every game. His development, along with Jordan Vandenburg who is also improving each game with limited minutes, should provide the support Tracy needs to be more effective more often.

Yes

Vandenburg isn't a huge threat to score right now, but he's a rebounding machine, and his long arms have affected a lot of shots in the short amount of playing time he's seen.

State on the road

Who knew? A road win for State. Good job, Pack. Too bad Wake didn't win @MIA the other day.
Anyway, nice recovery for the Pack after losing at home to UVA. I know it's early, but could it be we see half the ACC finish 8-8?

Not entirely sure what is

Not entirely sure what is going on there in that picture. One thing is fur sure, if you stand behind your opponent to guard them they are going to go for 30 every night.

My guess

It is one of Scott's 7 rebounds.

Finally. Feels so good to

Finally. Feels so good to get that one off the back. It's just one win, but it's important for us to pick up some early conferene wins if we want to have a decent year. Defense was solid enough, and Scott Wood was unbelievable...not much else to say. Like I said, it's just one win though. Going 4-12 is still very possible. C'mon Sid, prove me wrong. Enjoy the win, get back to work, and try to bring some of that confidence back home Saturday.

Good, bad and ugly

Yesterday's win was a great confidence builder for the Pack. But, with a young team, you have to take the good with the bad.

The good is that they are resilient, as we have seen several times this year, bouncing back after tough losses. The bad is that, with youth, comes inconsistency. I expect we will still see some ugly to go along with the good before the season is done.

I intend to focus on the good, accept the ugly, and watch this team get better over time. I'll take this group over what we left behind the last few years, all day, every day. I think the next few years have the potential to be a hell of a lot of fun.

Very true

This team is already playing well in comparison to the past couple seasons, despite having less experience.  With a lot of young players that will be around for multiple years, a much deeper bench, and what looks to be some solid recruits coming in, State could have a chance to get back in the hunt and start dancing again soon.

finally given up, huh?

this game and blog has been over for two hrs and not a peep from any of the ncsu wuffpack fans? 

place won't be the same ....

Figures

State gets its best win of the year and it is not televised where I lived. Listened to it, but it's not the same.

Will probably (naw, definitely) post something tomorrow after I listen and read more about it.

Huh?

First of all, it's a Tuesday night.  Not everyone is going to be coming through here.  And secondly, the game has been over for maybe an hour.

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About the blogger

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