Jan 10, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — No. 20 NC State showed its growth Wednesday night with an 83-70 win over Georgia Tech.
After a one-point deficit at the half, NC State battled to grab a late lead and secure a win over the Yellow Jackets.
And it was a hard fought battle.
Facing their most solid defensive opponent of the season, the Wolfpack struggled on both sides of the ball early. Seven turnovers and soft board play led to eight Georgia Tech points and nine second-chance points if the first half.
Midway through the first half, Georgia Tech was shooting an astounding 58.7 percent.
But that was before Lorenzo Brown scored eight consecutive points to give the team its first lead since the first basket of the game.
"Coach [Mark Gottfried] has been telling me to be more aggressive, and I've taken it upon myself in the last few games to do so,” Brown said.
PNC Arena was rocking with every bucket and foul as the team came together to fight for the lead.
NC State came out of the halftime break and not only matched Georgia Tech’s defensive attack, but out-played it.
“Our defense in the second half was the difference in the game,” said head coach Mark Gottfried. “All our guys played well defensively. We’ve talked about sustaining it for longer periods of time, and I thought we did that in the second half.”
Georgia Tech went from a shooting percentage of 43.2 to 30.6 percent from the field, 33.3 to 11.1 percent from the three-point line, and NC State increased its own to 56 and 50.
"We can score with anybody, but stopping people is going to get us a championship," said Richard Howell.
NC State’s battle for the lead turned into an easy double-digit lead with just over three minutes to go.
A team that seemed to fall apart a year ago when the game wasn’t going their way now pulls together with focus and drive.
And it’s the exact drive that they’ll need against Duke at home on Saturday.