The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets embark on their first road trip since November, as they take on the 20th-ranked NC State Wolfpack in ACC action at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Wednesday.
Brian Gregory's Yellow Jackets are off to a 10-3 start, marking the team's best 13-game start since the 2009-10 campaign. Despite the team's strong beginning, Tech had a six-game win streak snapped in its ACC opener on Saturday, falling at home to Miami-Florida, 62-49.
Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack were supposed to be the team to beat in the ACC and began the 2012-13 season in the top-10. However, a couple of losses in November to current top-25 foes Oklahoma State and Michigan tempered the enthusiasm. The Wolfpack have rallied since then though, with wins in each of the last eight games, including a 78-73 road win at Boston College to open up ACC play.
NC State holds a 51-37 edge in the all-time series with Georgia Tech and has won two of the last three meetings. The two squads split the season series a year ago. Overall, NC State holds a 29-9 advantage in games played in Raleigh.
Tech has piled up the wins due to stifling defensive play. The team ranks second in the ACC and sixth nationally in scoring defense at 54.2 ppg. Opponents are only shooting .356 from the floor, good for third in the ACC and eighth nationally. The defensive efforts have been needed, as scoring has been hard to come by. The Yellow Jackets rank 11th in the ACC and 231st nationally in scoring at a modest 65.4 ppg. Freshman swingman Marcus Georges- Hunt is currently the only Yellow Jacket with a double-digit average at 11.2 ppg. Three others are close to the mark however, in Robert Carter Jr. (9.8 ppg), Mfon Udofia (9.7 ppg) and Kammeon Holsey (9.5 ppg).
Tech struggled to find its rhythm against Miami, as the Hurricanes held the Yellow Jackets to their lowest scoring output of the season. The team connected on just 17-of-52 shots from the floor (.327) as well as getting dominated on the boards (40-29). Udofia and Holsey netted 10 points apiece to pace the team in the loss.
The Wolfpack got a balanced effort all the way around, as six players notched double figures in the win over Boston College last weekend. Rodney Purvis led the way with 19 points. Lorenzo Brown added 14 points and dished out eight assists in the win. Richard Howell recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Scott Wood also finished with 12 points, while T.J. Warren and C.J. Leslie tacked on 11 and 10 points, respectively.
NC State is an extremely dangerous team, averaging 81.2 ppg (11th nationally), while leading the nation in field-goal percentage (.531). The scoring depth is vast, with five players currently netting double figures, led by Leslie's 15.4 ppg. Warren is next in line, averaging 13.4 ppg off the bench. Howell is the team's muscle in the paint (13.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg). Wood (11.6 ppg) is the team's top 3-point threat (35-of-81). Brown is an All-American candidate at the point, with the ability to both score (11.6 ppg) and get his teammates involved (6.4 apg).