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January 23, 2013

Quick hits from NC State's loss at Wake Forest



Quick hits and notes from No. 18 NC State's stunning 86-84 loss to Wake Forest in front of 11,542 court-storming fans at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Tuesday evening.

Play of the game

Freshman guard Codi Miller-McIntyre made several key baskets for Wake Forest, but none were bigger than the three-pointer he made with 5:39 left in the game. The Deacs had just surrendered the lead back to NC State on the strength of a 6-0 Wolfpack run to put the Wolfpack up 72-70 with 7:03 to go.

The Deacs scored the next three points to go back up 73-72. Miller-McIntyre made Wake Forest fans believe in the upset when he drained the three-pointer. Miller-McIntyre got the opportunity after senior guard C.J. Harris grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed layup by junior forward Travis McKie, and kicked it out to him for the crucial shot.

That was one of the highlights of a huge 12-2 Wake Forest run that lasted over three minutes.

Highlight of the game

There were not a lot of highlight worthy moments in this game, but NC State freshman shooting guard Rodney Purvis did have a nice steal and coast-to-coast one-handed dunk with 1:48 left in the first half to give the Pack a 45-31 lead at the time.

Player of the game

Wake Forest freshman center Devin Thomas either matched or set a new career-high in just about every major statistical category. He had 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting, grabbed 14 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass, blocked four shots, had four assists and made three steals.

Thomas had only scored in double figures in five of Wake Forest's 17 games this year, and his previous best had been 12 points, which he had done twice, most recently last Sunday at Virginia Tech. He matched his career high in board set against Xavier Jan. 2, and it was just the fourth time this year he was in double digits rebounding. This was Thomas' first career double-double. He also had never had more than five offensive rebounds in a game before Tuesday night.

Thomas matched his previous best in steals and blocked shots, and he set a new career-high in assists. He doubled the most field goals he had ever made in a game and shot three more times than he had ever taken in a contest.

The only negative in his performance came at the line, where he made just 5 of 11 shots. That was still five more free throws than he had ever attempted in a game.

Thomas' performance comes on the heels of Clemson senior post player Devin Booker setting a career-high with 27 points after having not reaching 20 points in a game this season prior to playing NC State.

Fouls galore

NC State and Wake Forest were whistled for a combined 44 fouls Tuesday, matching the most in a game involving the Wolfpack. There was also 44 fouls in the ACC opener at Boston College Jan. 5. The Pack surpassed their total of 20 fouls against BC by three against Wake to set a new season-high.

It was also in stark contrast of the two most recent games for NC State when there were 22 and 29 fouls called respectively.

Senior center Richard Howell fouled out for the fifth time this year, marking the total he had in his foul-plagued 2011-12 season. He has been disqualified 12 times in his career.

Senior wing Scott Wood, junior forward C.J. Leslie and junior guard Lorenzo Brown all finished the contest with four fouls.

Leslie only played 18 minutes Tuesday because of his foul trouble. He still recorded 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, but also had some costly misses at the free-throw line in the final minutes. The 18 minutes were Leslie's second fewest in a game this year, trailing the 17 he played when he fouled out in a lopsided loss to Oklahoma State in Puerto Rico in November.

Leslie has averaged 10.7 points a game in his last three games, after scoring 25 points in the win over No. 1 Duke.

Because of the foul trouble, redshirt junior center Jordan Vandenberg played a season-high 16 minutes, including 12 in the first half. The most playing time in a game this year for Vandenberg had been 12 minutes against St. Bonaventure Dec. 22.

Vandenberg made all three of his first-half shot attempts for six points, the most he has scored in a game since he tallied six against Princeton Nov. 16, 2011. He had scored just 10 points total all season before Tuesday. He was two off his career-high of eight points against Georgia Tech during his sophomore season.

Some milestones

Two NC State players had double-doubles. Howell finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds before fouling out for his 24th career double-doubles, the most at NC State since Todd Fuller had 39 from 1993-96. Howell also reached 1,000 career points, the 47th in State history to get there.

Howell is also the 10th player in Wolfpack history to have 1,000 career points and 800 career rebounds. He needs 18 more boards to get to 900.

Brown also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. That was his fourth double-double of the season and third in the last five games. Brown went over 1,000 career points in the second half, becoming the 48th Wolfpack player to get there.

This is just the ninth team in ACC history to have four 1,000-point scorers on its team and the first in Wolfpack history. Wood and Leslie both reached that milestone earlier this season.

Wood though has fallen behind in his pursuit of reaching the all-time leader in three-pointers made at NC State. He went just 1 of 5 from beyond the arc Tuesday, giving him 278 for his career. Rodney Monroe has the school record at 322.

What defense?

After the game, coach Mark Gottfried and the players lamented the defensive effort of NC State, especially in the second half. Wake Forest shot 49.2 percent for the game after making 59.4 percent (19 of 32) of its second half shots.

That was Wake's fifth best shooting performance in a game this year. The 86 points were a new-season high for the Deacs, who had scored more than 80 points just one other time all year when they had 84 points on UNC Greensboro (current record of 4-13) Dec. 22.

Wake Forest also set a new mark for most points given up by NC State in a game this year and had the third best shooting performance against the Pack.

What the loss means

NC State fell to 15-4 overall and a third of a way into the new 18-game ACC schedule is 4-2 in conference action. Wake Forest improved to 3-3 in league play and 10-8 overall. The Wolfpack is just 1-2 in league road games thus far.

Wake Forest snapped a five-game losing streak against the Pack, a stretch where NC State had not only won but did so by a margin of 21.4 points, including 30.5 points in the last two games at the LJVM Coliseum.

The win was the 100th in the series for Wake Forest, but NC State still holds the overall edge all-time 136-100. The Deacons are 39-26 in games played on their home court.

Other stats of note

- NC State outrebounded Wake Forest overall (44-40) and on the offensive glass (19-16), but the Deacs had a lopsided second-chance points advantage of 24-16.

- NC State outscored Wake Forest in the paint 56-42.

- After NC State ran all around Wake Forest in transition in the first half, the Deacs reversed the trend in the second half and ended the contest with a 17-16 edge in fast break points.

- Wake Forest won the turnover margin 13-12 and used that to get a 20-16 edge in points off turnovers.

- NC State's bench had an edge on Wake's reserves in bench scoring, 20-11.


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