CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions will face off Saturday afternoon when surging Miami (Fla.) visits struggling North Carolina State.
The 13th-ranked Hurricanes are riding a three-game ACC winning streak while the Wolfpack have only one ACC victory and are winless at home in league play.
Miami is coming an impressive 80-69 victory over No. 20 Duke in which the Hurricanes shot 50.8 percent from the field thanks to their unselfish play.
“What was the whole offensive key to the game was we had 24 assists and seven turnovers,” coach Jim Larranaga told reporters after the game. “That was fantastic. Angel (Rodriguez) had 11 assists himself and Ja’Quan (Newton) had five, so those are two point guards playing a lot together and getting everybody involved that leads to a team victory.”
Wolfpack coach Marc Gottfried wasn’t feeling nearly as good about his team’s effort after it fell behind by 14 points in the first half in a 90-83 home loss to Georgia Tech.
“Our team has played and competed hard every night this year,” a visibly upset Gottfried told reporters. “If I go back through my mind and say, find another time (like this), I couldn’t tell you one. Our first half tonight, we lacked it, the zip, the quickness, all of it.”
ABOUT MIAMI (16-3, 5-2 ACC): Senior guard Sheldon McClellan, the team’s leading scorer (16.3 points on 52.9 percent shooting), benefited from the team’s sharp passing against Duke, scoring 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. In addition to producing a career-high in assists, Rodriguez had his second straight good shooting night (13 points, 3-of-7 on 3-point shots) after slumping in the first five conference games. Newton, the team’s second-leading scorer (12.0), showed his ability to break zone defenses to create offense for himself (15 points) and others against Duke while 7-0 senior center Tonye Jekiri’s rebounding (10.0) and interior defense continue to be strong points.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (11-10, 1-7): While the Wolfpack has struggled, it certainly hasn’t been energetic guard Anthony “Cat” Barber’s fault as the junior leads the ACC in scoring (22.8) while dishing out 4.7 assists per game. Highly-recruited freshman guard/forward Maverick Rowan is the team’s second-leading scorer (13.2) but is hitting just 35.7 percent of his shots, Sophomore forward Adbul-Malik Abu (12.5, team-leading 8.6 rebounds) and sophomore swingman Caleb Martin (10.9) are the team’s other double-figure scorers while BeeJay Anya, a 6-9 junior, leads the ACC with 2.6 blocks a game.
- McClellan is one of the 20 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s national player of the year award.
- The Wolfpack his given up an average of 89 points in their past two losses — 90 to Georgia Tech and 88 to Duke.
- The Hurricanes have outscored their foes by 13 points per game in their five ACC victories.
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