N.C. State ousts Boston College

N.C. State performed the requisite toil to eliminate a listing Boston College team in the first round of the ACC tournament.

Now comes the heavy lifting in its attempt to get off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament — a quarterfinal matchup with Virginia at 2 p.m. Friday.

“For us, the answer is to continue to win,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. “I don’t know if that’s one game, two games, three games. I know if we win this tournament, we get to go.”

Fifth-seeded N.C. State notched win No. 1 Thursday afternoon, fending off No. 12 seed Boston College with a 78-57 win at Philips Arena. Forward Scott Wood tossed in a team-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers, while point guard and Centennial High grad Lorenzo Brown added 12 points, eight assists and five steals.

Brown was in on several crucial plays, perhaps none more valuable than a steal and basket late in the first half. After falling behind 14-0 to start the game, Boston College rallied to a 32-24 deficit with the ball and less than 30 seconds left in the half. With Eagles point guard Jordan Daniels dribbling near midcourt, Brown laid in wait.

“I saw that the point guard had turned his head and looked at his coach,” Brown said. “I guess he forgot I was right there.”

Brown sliced in for the steal and made the layup at the other end. The Eagles turned the ball over again on the next possession, giving Wolfpack guard C.J. Williams an opportunity to make a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from about 25 feet. Instead of tightening the gap to five or six points, the Eagles trailed by 13 at the half.

In the second half, Boston College drew to within six points once and seven points on three occasions, but never closer.

“They took the momentum back late with those last two plays, and that gave them a lot of push going into the second half,” Boston College forward Ryan Anderson said.

Boston College, which started four freshmen and has nine on the roster, completes the season with its poorest record (9-22) since the 1998-99 season.

Picked to finish eighth in the league in the preseason, the Wolfpack (21-11) almost certainly need a win over Virginia for their NCAA résumé. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi listed them Thursday on his “first four out” list.

N.C. State has played a rigorous non-conference schedule and has a winning league record, but also is 0-8 against RPI top-50 teams. The Cavaliers were No. 43 as of Thursday. They defeated N.C. State 61-60 in Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 28 in the teams’ only meeting.

Because of injuries, Virginia will field seven scholarship players against the Wolfpack. Don’t expect N.C. State, whose own rotation only goes seven deep, to have much pity. The bubble has no room for compassion.

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