NC State 70 – Virginia Tech 58
In a game that NC State had to win if they wanted to stay on the Big Dance bubble, the Wolfpack came out ready. Gottfried’s group came out with a sense of urgency and played well on both ends of the floor.
Scott Wood continued to morph back into form, dropping a game high 19 and Calvin Leslie had another stellar performance as he filled up the stat sheet with 18 points and 11 boards.
The real story, however, was on the defensive end where the Pack locked down and focused on taking everything away from the Hokies. Erick Green, Tech’s leading scorer, was held to 12 points (only 2 in the first half) by Lorenzo Brown the rest of the Wolfpack defense and State controlled the boards 38-22.
“Our guys are hungry. They haven’t been here before but they want it . You can tell by how they played today. They wanted it and they went and got it.” said Gottfried.
The win means a ton to NC State whose NCAA tournament hopes hang in the balance. It not only gives Mark Gottfried a 20 win season in his first year as Wolfpack coach, but it also secures State’s slot at 5th in the ACC, a finish that is higher than many anticipated.
So what now? NC State goes into the ACC tournament as the 5th seed and will take on Boston College Thursday night. They MUST take care of business there, before looking ahead to the waiting Virginia Cavaliers. A win over Virginia and they’re likely punching their ticket, but there is still a ton of work to be done.
We’re going to put pressure on that committee. I can stand on the soapbox now . I’m going to get all my stuff in order. Joey Brackets ,(Joe Lunardi) we’re coming after you! Gottfried said.
The new season starts on Thursday folks and I think this Wolfpack team is hungry enough to make it interesting.