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February 24, 2008

NC State leaving friendly confines

North Carolina State freshmen J.J. Hickson, Javier Gonzalez and Tracy Smith, signed with the Wolfpack for games just like last Wednesday's against North Carolina.

The Wolfpack played in front of a season-high 19,700 at the RBC Center, which was 22 less than capacity.

It was the first time NC State played in front of a near-packed stadium and the energy was flowing prior to tipoff.

Wednesday's home game is in stark contrast to what NC State has faced on the road. The Wolfpack carry a 1-5 ACC road record into today's game at Virginia.

The freshmen hope to learn from Wednesday's UNC game to help out for the last four games of the season.

"It was great to experience," Gonzalez said. "Even the night before the game, I couldn't go to sleep until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. in the morning, just thinking about the game.

"We really wanted to get a win and celebrate. Now, that we have lost, it's frustrating. We lost knowing the importance of this game. We'll come back strong the next couple of games."

Hickson and the Wolfpack will go from huge cheers to being the enemy in a span of five days.

"The crowd was real good," Hickson said. "The first half, basically, was hot. We went into halftime down three to the No. 3 team in the country, but I think we should have been up. We just came out flat in the second half and got down on ourselves."

Junior center Ben McCauley has been appreciative of the Wolfpack fans during this difficult season.

"It was very disappointing [vs. UNC], especially on the home floor," McCauley said. "The fans were there and we got so much support. The fans are great."

Virginia preview

NC State 2007-2008 roster

Virginia roster

Virginia schedule/results

Game facts

ACC - North Carolina State (15-11, 4-8 ACC) at Virginia (12-12, 2-9 ACC)

Game time: Sunday, Feb. 24, 4:30 p.m. - John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Va.

Television: FSN

Probable starters

NC State

PG - 10 Javi Gonzalez (6-0, Fr., 3.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.1 apg)
SG - 4 Courtney Fells (6-5, Jr., 11.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)
SF - 11 Gavin Grant (6-8, Sr., 14.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.8 apg)
PF - 34 Ben McCauley (6-10, Jr., 6.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.4 apg)
C - 1 J.J. Hickson (6-9, Fr., 15.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.7 bpg)

Virginia

PG - 44 Sean Singletary (6-0, Sr., 18.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 5.9 apg, 1.7 spg)
SG - 1 Jeff Jones (6-4, Fr., 4.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.6 apg)
SF - 30 Adrian Joseph (6-7, Sr., 11.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.1 apg)
PF - 32 Mike Scott (6-8, Fr., 6.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 0.3 apg)
C - 34 Ryan Pettinella (6-9, Sr., 2.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.1 apg)

Scouting Virginia

Location: Charlottesville, Va.

Nickname: Cavaliers

2006-2007 record: 21-11 overall, 11-5 ACC

2007 postseason: Lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament

Coach: Dave Leitao, 48-38 in three years at Virginia, 128-107 in eight years overall

The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 79-53

Last meeting: NC State won 79-71 in the ACC Tournament on March 9, 2007

Notes

Virginia: Singletary has 11 20-point games this season and 38 in his his career. He scored a season-high 34 in the Cavs 70-69 loss to Virginia Tech on Jan. 16. He also has three double-doubles this year, getting a season-high 10 rebounds in the previous VT game and 10 assists twice ... Joseph has five double-doubles this season, but all were in the nonconference part of the schedule ... Mamadi Diane averages 12.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game off the bench.

NC State: The Wolfpack are giving up 80 points per game during their four-game losing streak. NC State has to win its last four games to finish .500 in the ACC ... NC State has been out-rebounded nine times in 12 ACC games ... Hickson is on pace to break the Wolfpack's single-season record for rebounding average set by Kenny Carr, who had 8.2 boards per game in 1975.


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