Wednesday , Jan , 31 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Surprising Hokies host Wolfpack

Blacksburg, VA (Sports Network) – The struggling NC State Wolfpack is faced
with the unenviable task of battling the 16th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies
in Blacksburg.

NC State has lost two straight games and four of its last five to fall to
11-8 overall and 1-4 in ACC play. The Wolfpack has been idle since
last Wednesday when it dropped a 71-58 decision to Virginia, the
second straight game in which the club was limited to fewer than 60 points.

Virginia Tech is on a major roll, as the team has won three straight games
and six of the last seven to move to 6-1 in conference. The most recent
win came on Sunday over a Georgia Tech squad that had been perfect at
home prior to the 73-65 final.

This bout represents the first-ever meeting between NC State and Virginia Tech
on the hardwood.

NC State is scoring a solid 72.8 ppg his season on 48.8 percent shooting
from the floor, but points have been tough to come by lately. Brandon
Costner continues to pace the Wolfpack in the scoring column with 16.7 ppg,
and he is pulling down 7.8 rpg as well. Ben McCauley adds 15.9 ppg, 6.6
rpg and 70 assists to the lineup, and he is a 58.1 percent shooter from the
floor. Gavin Grant checks in with 15.2 ppg, and Courtney Fells is posting
11.7 ppg. In the loss to Virginia last time out, the Wolfpack only managed
to connect on 31.7 percent of its field goal attempts, including a 7-of-27
showing from behind the arc. Even free throw shooting proved to be
problematic, as the team missed nine of its 20 attempts. Costner scored 14
points in the setback, but his 3-of-13 shooting performance from the floor
left much to be desired.

Virginia Tech connected on 59.5 percent of its field goal attempts
against Georgia Tech on Sunday, and the Hokies limited the Yellow Jackets
to 36.6 percent overall shooting. Another key to the win for VaTech was a
19-6 edge in points from the foul line. Zabian Dowdell led three double-
digit scorers with 23 points for the Hokies, and he dished out eight
assists against only one turnover. A.D. Vassallo contributed 19 points and
10 rebounds, and Coleman Collins posted 13 points. Dowdell is netting 18.3
ppg this season, and Gordon is second with 11.7 ppg. Both of those players
have registered 52 steals, and Gordon has dished out 94 assists. Vassallo is
contributing 11.4 ppg, and Deron Washington checks in with 11.1 ppg.
The Hokies have been outstanding defensively this season, as they are
limiting foes to 62.4 ppg on 39.9 percent overall shooting.