NC State put on quite a show in their season opener against App State, winning 98-77 in impressive fashion.
TJ Warren led the way with 27 points, and juco transfer Dez Lee added 24 points as this young Wolfpack team gave their fans a lot to look forward to going forward. Here is a player breakdown of last nights game – and scroll to the bottom for press conference audio from Coach Gott.
TJ Warren– (27 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk)
Kind of what you expect out of Warren. He dropped 27 points and made it look pretty easy. A lot of his buckets were thanks to great vision by Tyler Lewis, but credit goes to Warren for always moving and always working hard to get open. In the first half it seemed like TJ was a little hesitant and kind of wanting to get others involved. He only had 6 points in the first half, but with the Pack only up 5 he knew he had to step up. He exploded in the 2nd half for 21 points and was unstoppable in transition. He added 8 boards and 3 steals and looked like a pro from every aspect. This is what we’ve come to expect out of Warren, and while I’m not sure that’s fair of not, it’s nice to be able to watch a kid this good every night.
Dez Lee – (24 pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl)
Surprise, surprise, look who had his coming out party. Mr. Lee was outstanding all night long. We’ve been trying to tell you that this kid is a gamer and is going to be a star for the Pack, but tonight he showed it. He played with passion, poise and intensity. He drove to the basket with power and knocked down jumpers with ease. Lee’s offense was so good that you may not have noticed his defense, where he was in lockdown mode all night. His defense was strong, physical and gave nothing to the ball handler. Lee proved that he’s ready to not just play at this level but star at this level. He got his 24 points on 10-12 shooting and was outstanding on both ends of the floor. We’re really excited to watch Dez going forward. There’s no doubt he’s going to be a fan favorite this season.
Tyler Lewis – (15pts,6 Ast, 1 TO)
Lewis just keeps on impressing. The offense looked great tonight for large chunks of time and it was mostly thanks to him. The kid just gets this game. His vision is unreal and he’s making moves to set up moves 2 steps ahead. I think we’re watching a player that just doesn’t come along very often. Someone who is still this young, yet understands the game this deeply. In transition he is a nightmare for the opposition. There is just no hesitation and it’s as if he has a move or a pass for every situation and that he’s calculated all options as the defender makes his move (which really is happening in 1 or 2 seconds). It’s fun to watch and it’s something Pack fans are going to take for granted. We should all really take this in and be grateful that we get to watch a point guard of this magnitude. Last night App State started out by really laying off Lewis and making sure he didn’t beat them with his penetration and dishing. They were able to do that, but Lewis made them pay with his scoring. He hit a quick 3 and a little runner to get things started. Then when App State started having to get up on him, he began his onslaught of getting in the lane and carving up the D before dropping off a dime to a waiting forward for an easy lay or dunk. It was another amazing performance by the sophomore.
Cat Barber – (13pts, 6 Ast, 2 Reb, 2 TOs)
Coming into the game, many were wondering where Barber would fit. With Lewis locking down the PG duties and Dez Lee looking like a perfect fit for the 2, how would they get Barber minutes? Well, Gottfried answered that question by rotating Barber, Lewis and Lee and also deploying a 3 guard lineup that was deadly quick. I think we got to see more of this because Ralston Turner was in foul trouble and there was really no other option. But I think it opened up people’s eyes, including Coach Gott’s. State was playing at a whole different speed when all 3 were in together. Warren was benefiting big time from all the commotion the guards were causing, and defensively they held their own when having to guard bigger players thanks to Lee and Barber’s versatility on the defensive end. What impressed me most with Cat was that he really played within himself. I think that was the concern all along. He was being overshadowed a bit by Lewis and I wondered if that would cause him to try to do too much, but he didn’t. He let the game come to him and he really attacked at the right times. He got into a nice rhythm late in this one and showed how electrifying he can really be. This is going to be a very fun kid to watch.
Lennard Freeman – (6 pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast)
I think the more and more we see Freeman, the more and more we’re going to like him. This kid is hungry when he gets in the game. He was throwing his body around and attacking the glass with tenacity. Freeman is built like a house. His shoulders are wide and his upper body is very strong and he’s only a freshman. As time goes by and he gets bigger and stronger, he’s going to be a real force in the paint for NC State. He’s already showing glimpses of Richard Howell type intensity on the blocks. His offense still need polishing, but he’s a hustler and he’s hungry on top of that. I was very impressed by Freeman in this one.
Kyle Washington – (0pts, 3 Reb)
Not much from KWash in this one. He played within the offense but wasn’t much of a factor. He was coming off a great game in the final exhibition, but remember he’s a freshman so inconsistency is expected.
Ralston Turner – (7pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast)
Turner only got 17 minutes because of foul trouble, but he looked good while he was in there. He’s going to see good minutes because he’s a very smart defender and he’s a high-end shooter, but on this night his foul trouble led to some nice finding for Gottfried. With Turner out he was able to experiment more with the Lewis, Barber, and Lee combo. He found that it is not only a viable option, but it’s one that can really make a big impact. Now, Turner isn’t going to lose too many minutes because of this, because his skill set is so different and so needed, but there will be night where you see Turner losing minutes to the 3 guard combo that Gott seemed to like against App State.
Beejay Anya – (3 pts, 1 Reb)
Only 7 minutes played for the big man, but he showed a little bit more tonight. He was able to really clear out the lane, however he’s just carrying too much weight. It’s holding him down to the floor and he’s just too slow and deliberate. He’s really going to need to trim up if he wants to be a difference maker this season.
Coach Gottfried Press conference audio
NC State 84 BC 78: BOX SCORE
NC State is a Slight Underdog in ACC Opener vs. Boston College
NC State (4-2) will play their first ACC game of the 2023-24 season tomorrow on the road against Boston College (5-2), and they enter the game as slight underdogs. The Wolfpack are 1.5-point underdogs, and the Total is 150.5.
- NC State is 0-2 Straight Up as underdogs
- BC is 4-1 Straight Up as favorites.
- NC State is 2-4 Against the Spread.
- BC is 4-3 Against the Spread
- The Total has gone Under in 2 games for NC State, Over in 3 and Pushed in 1.
- The Total has gone Under in 3 games for Boston College and Over in 4.
- NC State is 6-4 in their last 10 games against BC Straight Up.
- NC State is 4–6 Against the Spread in their last 10 games against BC.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 games, and Under in the other 5.
#5 NC State 70 Vanderbilt 62: BOX SCORE (with notes)
The 5th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team improved to 8-0 tonight, defeating Vanderbilt 70-62 in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.
- Saniya Rivers scored 20+ points for the 2nd time this season, scoring 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. She also chipped in 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
- River Baldwin posted her first double-double of the season. She scored 12 points and grabbed 10 boards.
- Aziaha James has now scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games, scoring 14 points tonight, shooting 6 of 10 from the field and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
- Freshman Zoe Brooks led the Pack in steals (4) and assists (4).
- NC State didn’t shoot well, making only 39% of their shots. Fortunately, they held Vandy to 34.3% shooting.
The Wolfpack will host Illinois State on Sunday at 2pm.
NC State Stat Leaders Heading into the ACC Opener vs Boston College
This Saturday, NC State heads to Boston College for the now-annual early ACC opener. The Pack will face off against the Eagles at 4pm on ACC Network. Here is where the team is statistically after 6 games.
- Casey Morsell leads NC State in scoring with 14.5 ppg.
- The Pack has 4 double-digit scorers this season. Morsell (14.5), Jayden Taylor (13.3), DJ Burns (13) and DJ Horne (11.2)
(Last season State had 4 double-digit scorers as well. Terquavion (17.9), Joiner (17), Burns (12.5) and Morsell (11.8))
- After their top 4 scorers there is a big dip. Parker comes in at 6.8, O’Connell at 6.3, and Middlebrooks at 5.5 ppg.
(Last season Jack Clark was 5th on the team in scoring at 9 points and Mahorcic was at 8.7. However, both guys missed a large chunk of the season.)
- Burns is leading NC State in rebounding this year at 5.3 per game. Diarra is next with 5.3 (but is currently hampered by an ankle injury.)
- O’Connell is leading NC State in assists with 3.3 per game, and Burns is up next with 2.5. PG DJ Horne is only averaging 2.
- LJ Thomas and Mike O’Connell are tied in leading the team at .15 assists per minute.
- Jayden Taylor is leading NC State in 3pt %, shooting an outstanding 45.8%, while Morsell is up next at 34.6%. Horne is close behind at 33%.
(LJ Thomas is shooting 50% from 3, but only has 2 attempts.)
- Burns is leading the bigs, shooting 56.5% from the floor, while Middlebrooks is close behind at 54.2%. Dennis Parker Jr is coming in at 45.2%.
- For the guards, it’s Casey Morsell leading the way at 44.6% from the floor, while O’Connell is next up at 43.4%. Taylor is shooting 42.4%, and DJ Horne is struggling a bit, shooting just 34.8% from the field.
- Jayden Taylor is turning the ball over the most at 1.8 times per game, while Burns is next at 1.7. Morsell is at 1.5 and O’Connell is at 1.2. DJ Horne has been doing a good job of protecting the basketball, turning it over just .3 times per game.