NC State eyes opportunity at No. 18 Florida State

Florida State is taking aim at landing a top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

North Carolina State just wants to make sure it receives an invitation.

The Wolfpack look to sharpen up the resume when they visit the No. 18 Seminoles on Saturday in Atlantic Coast Conference play at Tallahassee, Fla.

NC State (20-8, 8-7 ACC) resides in eighth place in the conference with three regular-season games remaining and can't afford many more blemishes.

The Wolfpack have won four of their last five games, and defeating Florida State (22-6, 10-5) would certainly be a step in the right direction.

"Anytime you get 20 wins in a season, it's definitely a feat," NC State senior guard Torin Dorn told reporters. "Hopefully that is good enough to get us in. We have a couple more games to play to build our resume and put ourselves in the best position come March."

Winning in Tallahassee won't be easy as the Seminoles are 13-1 at home this season.

Florida State also has won nine of its past 10 overall games with six of the victories coming by double digits.

The Seminoles dispatched visiting Notre Dame 68-61 on Monday and know they are in for a battle from the Wolfpack.

"We're going to come back and get ready to play, but I know it's going to be a very hungry NC State team," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said after the victory. "These are typical ACC games and they are competitive every night regardless of what their records are."

The Seminoles had six players score eight or more points against Notre Dame. Freshman wing Devin Vassell led the way with 13 points while senior center Christ Koumadje (12) and sophomore big man Mfiondu Kabengele (10) were the only other double-digit scorers.

"That's kind of who we are," Hamilton said. "We didn't have anybody have what you call a lights-out game, but we had a lot of guys contributing, and that's kind of who we are."

Kabengele (13.1 scoring average) and senior guard Terance Mann (11.5 points per game, team-best 6.4 rebounds) are the lone players in double-digit points for a team averaging 76.2 points per outing.

NC State is coming off a 94-74 victory over Wake Forest as junior guard Markell Johnson made a career-best six 3-pointers while scoring 25 points.

The outing was the fifth career 20-point effort for Johnson, with four of them occurring this season.

"He's had some good games on and off, but I thought his best overall offensive game came against Wake Forest," Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts told reporters. "He was really good in the first half and kind of saved us when other guys weren't playing well. I thought he had a very efficient game."

Johnson ranks third on NC State in scoring at 11.4. Dorn leads the squad in scoring (13.9) and rebounding (6.9), and junior guard C.J. Bryce is second at 12.1.

Sophomore guard Braxton Beverly (10.3) also is in double figures for a team averaging 82.3 points per game. Beverly has buried a team-leading 66 3-pointers.

The Wolfpack won last season's meeting in Raleigh, 92-72. NC State was 13 of 22 from 3-point range, while the Seminoles missed all 15 of their attempts.

--Field Level Media
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