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 72 Georgia Tech 64: ACCDN Highlight Reel & Condensed Game
NC State 72 Georgia Tech 64: BY THE NUMBERS
Survive and Advance. Some days it’s just like that.
NC State found a way to win at home over Georgia Tech 72-64 with Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner combining for a whopping 10 points, shooting 3-17. They each had 5 points, and entered the game ranked 1st (Smith) and 5th (Joiner) in the ACC in scoring.
How did the Wolfpack find a way to victory?
Burns. Ross. Morsell.
DJ Burns carried the team on his back, scoring 24 points (11-21 FG) and grabbing 8 boards. Ernest Ross reminded us once again what he’s capable of, coming off the bench to score 16 points, shooting 4 of 8 from the field. Most importantly, Ross was a perfect 7 for 7 from the free throw line. He also had 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The shots might not have been falling for Smith and Joiner, but don’t forget about Casey Morsell. He scored 17 points, making 6 of his 9 field goal attempts, and 4 of 7 from beyond the arch. He also had 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
Smith’s shot might have been off, but his passing game wasn’t. His 10 assists were a new career high, toppling his former best of 7 against Miami back in December.
Once again, NC State managed to find a way to win a game in which the other team shot better (44.1/41.9) than them. Heck, the Yellow Jackets out rebounded them (37-36).
How you ask?
Well, NC State forced Georgia Tech to commit 17 turnovers, scoring 11 points off of them (Georgia Tech had 5 points off of turnovers). Also, the Wolfpack had more offensive rebounds than the Yellow Jackets (12-10), scoring 11 second chance points (The Yellow Jackets had 7 second chance points).
Georgia Tech entered today’s game having won 4 straight against NC State in PNC Arena, and the Wolfpack found a way to snap that streak.
A 14-3 run by NC State in the final 4 minutes was enough for the Pack to seal the deal.
NC State will have a chance to pick up a Quad 1 win over UVA on the road on Tuesday night at 9pm.
NC State 72 Georgia Tech 64: BOX SCORE
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team improved to 19-5 and 9-4 in ACC play today, defeating Georgia Tech 72-64 in PNC Arena.
Where Does NC State Rank in Team Stats in the ACC Before Georgia Tech?
Before NC State and Georgia Tech tipoff at 1pm, here’s a look at where the Wolfpack ranks in the ACC in team stats.
The Wolfpack lead the ACC in points per game, and rank 7th in points given up per game. As a result, NC State’s scoring margin is 10.13, which ranks 2nd in the conference.
The Wolfpack scores a lot, but it isn’t because they are one of the best shooting teams in the ACC, ranking 11th in Free Throw Percentage, 8th in Field Goal Percentage, and 8th in Three Point Percentage.
The reason that NC State leads the ACC in scoring is because of the way they attack the offensive glass, and the way they force turnovers. The Wolfpack forced 319 turnovers, which leads the ACC, and boast a 4.09 Turnover Margin, which also leads the conference. The Wolfpack also rank 2nd in the ACC in Offensive Rebounds. Not shockingly, they lead the ACC in steals, averaging 8.3.
The Wolfpack rank 9th in Assists, but rank 3rd in Assist/Turnover Ratio. NC State has turned over their opponent better than anyone else, and they also have done a good job taking care of the ball.
NC State ranks 2nd in Blocks and 3rd in Rebounding Margin.