NC State 70, Virginia Tech 58
Early March is the time of year when a lot of coaches are
lobbying for their teams to receive a bid to the NCAA
North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried made a pretty good
case for his bunch on Sunday night.
Scott Wood scored 19 points to lead the Wolfpack past Virginia
Tech 70-58, as N.C. State secured a winning mark in ACC play for
the first time since 2005-06.
N.C. State (20-11, 9-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), which snapped
a four-game skid to the Hokies and won 20 games in the regular
season for the first time since 2005-06, also got 18 points from
The Wolfpack clinched the No. 5 seed in the ACC tournament
Thursday in Atlanta, where they will play No. 12 seed Boston
College at 2:30 p.m.
”Every coach stands on their soapbox,” Gottfried said. ”I
hope we’re in the discussion, and if you look at what we did in the
non-conference and who we played, our non-conference strength of
schedule is as high as it is . we’ve done what the committee asks
you to do. No question.
”We’ve got a lot going in our favor. Now we’ve got to go to
Atlanta and keep putting ourselves in a better position. That’s
what we need to do. That’s the plan for our team.”
In contrast, Virginia Tech (15-16, 4-12) lost its fourth
straight and will be the No. 10 seed in the conference tournament.
The Hokies will play No. 7 seed Clemson at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
N.C. State trailed early, but used a 16-2 run midway through the
first half to take the lead for good. In the second half, the
Hokies cut the Wolfpack lead to 51-47 on an Erick Green jumper with
10:30 remaining. Gottfried then switched his defense from
man-to-man to a 2-3 zone as the Wolfpack went on an 11-0 run and
never looked back.
”I contemplated it in the first half,” Gottfried said of the
switch. ”They’re pretty good off the dribble, and they’re hard to
contain sometimes. We didn’t use it in the first half, but it was
one of those things, `Have a hunch, bet a bunch.’ I felt like we
were getting beat off the dribble, and I thought we’d take a look
at it for a trip or two and see what happens.”
Wood hit 5 of 11 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, and
made all six of his free-throw attempts. Leslie finished with 18
points, hitting 7 of 9 from the floor, as the Wolfpack shot 51.1
percent (23 of 45). He also grabbed 11 rebounds, leading the
Wolfpack to a 40-25 advantage on the glass.
”I think these past seven or eight games, he’s played as good
as anyone in this league,” Gottfried said. ”He has risen up to
another level. I’m really proud of him. He’s been really
Cadarian Raines scored 15 points for the Hokies, who shot just
36.7 percent (22 of 60).
”It’s just disappointing,” Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg
said. ”I don’t know if our emotional gas tank was on empty after
three straight weeks of playing every single possession to the last
play of the game. I hope that’s what it was. I don’t know if we
were due one of these, but I know we’ve got a small margin of
error. We just didn’t play well.
”They’re a tough matchup. Leslie is a tough matchup for us.
You’ve got to give them credit. They played well, and we didn’t