NC State-Maryland Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 15, 2013
North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried believes his team's experience will help it avoid a letdown following its biggest win of the season. Having experience against Maryland's top perimeter threat could also help. The No. 14 Wolfpack can match their longest win streak in 24 years Wednesday night when they travel to face Dez Wells and the Terrapins. North Carolina State (14-2, 3-0 ACC) won 84-76 over then-No. 1 Duke on Saturday to hand the Blue Devils their first loss. C.J. Leslie scored 25 points for the Wolfpack, who took advantage of a raucous home crowd that stormed the court after the win. North Carolina State will now go on the road to try to match the 11-game win streak of the 1988-89 team after the emotional victory. "We've got four returning starters that have been through this league," Gottfried said. "I think they're very well aware of the fact that each game counts as one game." N.C. State ended a nine-game losing streak to Maryland (13-3, 1-2) with a 79-74 victory last season, as Leslie had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Scott Wood added 19 points. The Terrapins' top two scorers from that team are gone, but they have added Wells - a Xavier transfer and Raleigh native who was a high school teammate of Leslie. The 6-foot-5 Wells, averaging 12.2 points, nearly joined the Wolfpack - who are very familiar with him. "I think it probably helps," Gottfried said. "When players know each other, they usually know their games sometimes better than we do. So, yeah, I think that probably works the other way too with Dez. He knows our guys pretty good too." Even without the talented Wells, N.C. State leads the nation in field-goal percentage at 52.8. Five players average double figures in points, and freshman forward T.J. Warren is among the nation's leaders with his 67.2 shooting percentage. Maryland could provide a challenge since it leads the ACC in defensive field-goal percentage at 35.3. The Terrapins enjoyed a 13-game win streak since a season-opening 72-69 loss to then-No. 3 Kentucky, but they've dropped their last two. Coach Mark Turgeon is considering using a third straight different point guard. Pe'Shon Howard was scoreless with one assist and three turnovers last Wednesday in a 65-62 home loss to Florida State before Seth Allen had four points, four fouls and no assists in Sunday's 54-47 defeat at Miami. The Terrapins had a season-low four assists Sunday, and Turgeon may shift sophomore Nick Faust to point guard. "Nick has got experience, so if I move him to the point, he played there last year, he'll be able to do it pretty quickly," Turgeon said. Faust fouled out in 12 minutes off the bench last season against the Wolfpack. Center Alex Len, averaging a team-high 13.8 points in 2012-13, was a bright spot in that game with 12 points and 11 rebounds. N.C. State has lost its last four visits to College Park since an 85-69 win Jan. 23, 2005. "We're going to go into a tough environment," Gottfried said. "I'm sure they are going to be excited and ready to play us."
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