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NC State looks to continue roll vs. skidding Georgia Tech

Jan 14, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward Ernest Ross (24) and teammates celebrate the end of the overtime against Miami Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina State has won three straight games — two against ranked opposition — and finds a different hero each night.

On Tuesday, the Wolfpack (14-4, 4-3 ACC) will travel to Atlanta to face struggling Georgia Tech (8-9, 1-6).

NC State coach Kevin Keatts said his team “keeps putting together good games, and it’s always someone else who is stepping up.”

“Every game I’m able to point out someone else who made a difference in the game,” Keatts said. “… The character of those guys and them holding us to a higher standard is what’s making up a good basketball team.”

NC State has a 54-41 lead in the series against Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack won the most recent meeting 76-61 in Atlanta last February; Georgia Tech had won the previous six matchups.

NC State is coming off an 83-81 victory in an overtime thriller against then-No. 16 Miami on Saturday. The Wolfpack won with defense, closing the game with four consecutive stops, as Ernest Ross had career highs with 17 points (8 of 10 from the floor) and nine rebounds.

Ross’ basket with 33 seconds remaining in overtime put NC State ahead to stay.

The Wolfpack are led by Terquavion Smith, who is averaging 18.7 points and 4.7 assists per game, while Jarkel Joiner adds 16.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Jack Clark leads the team with 7.3 rebounds a game.

Georgia Tech is coming off a 71-60 loss to Pitt on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets have lost three in a row since they upset Miami on Jan. 4. Deivon Smith had 15 points and 11 rebounds vs. Pitt for his second straight double-double, but Tech could not overcome a 17-5 second-half run by the Panthers.

“Losing stinks. Losing is no fun,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “The hardest thing to coach is when you can’t score. We’ve just got in a stretch here in ACC games when we just cannot score.”

Miles Kelly is the only Yellow Jackets’ scorer averaging in double figures (13.9 points), and Tech is averaging just 64.7 points a game in ACC competition.

–Field Level Media