The ACC Today and tonight

RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State jumped out to an early lead, built as much as a 19-point advantage and then held on down the stretch to defeat Virginia Tech 73-63 Tuesday night at the RBC Center.

Playing without one-time starter Brandon Costner, who was out with a rib injury, the Wolfpack clicked from the opening tap and never trailed for its second consecutive victory.

That’s not to say things didn’t get interesting at the end, when the Hokies cut a double-digit lead to just five points in the final 70 seconds, but Sidney Lowe’s team held on to even its Atlantic Coast Conference record.

The Wolfpack (15-7 overall, 4-4 ACC) now heads to College Park, Md., Maryland for an 8 p.m. Saturday game at the Comcast Center against Maryland.

Costner, who sat on the bench in street clothes throughout the game, did not participate because of bruised ribs he suffered in practice the day before. Costner had X-rays Monday afternoon, but they came back negative.

Freshman J.J. Hickson led the Wolfpack with 21 points, 13 of which came from the free throw line. Junior Courtney Fells added 14 for the Pack, while freshman Javi Gonzalez had a career-high 11 and senior Gavin Grant added 11.

For the Hokies, four players finished in double-figures, led by freshman Jeff Allen with 15 points.

The Wolfpack led from the outset, after Virginia Tech missed two early layups. The Pack scored the game’s first six points and never looked back.

Georgia Tech @ Wake Forest
7:00 PM
Winston-Salem, N.C.
TV: (XM 190)
Webcast on ACC Select

Duke @ North Carolina
9:00 PM
Chapel Hill, N.C.
TV: RAYCOM / ESPN (XM 190/191)

The Duke-North Carolina game is the biggest game in ACC history every time they play. Tonight should be no exception and it comes down to how much and how well Ty Lawson can go for the Heels. If the the “Q” man is in charge of running the offense the entire way then UNC may be in big trouble. I would expect Marcus Ginyard to be able to step in and be the man out front if necessary and Danny Green could bring the ball up and get the offense started.

Duke will be very quick and very fast and maybe not in that order but they will run and run and run and the Blue Devils will hoist up that three-pointer until Coach Bubas comes home to roost in the Dean E. Smith Center rafters. Duke is not a powerhouse inside so watch for the Heels to try and get it inside and work on Duke down low.

Henderson-Hansbrough=’s Frazier-Ali. Will there be blood, how much, and whose?

Tar Heels by five, you have to win at home or you don’t belong in the top ten in the nation.