Cat Barber started over Tyler Lewis and Jordan Vandenberg returned from injury as Mark Gottfried unveiled his team’s new look lineup in impressive fashion
The Wolfpack was dominant in every aspect of this one. They controlled the boards, defended well and knocked down nearly every open shot they got, dubbing FGCU 82-62. Here are the game notes.
– Cat Barber surprisingly started over Tyler Lewis. The freshman answered the bell by going for 12 points and dishing out 6 assists. He did have 5 TOs, but he looked really good and gave State another dimension they’ve been lacking. Lewis has struggled of late. When he’s not hitting his shots and State isn’t able to get out on the break the offense sometimes can become stagnant. Now, don’t get me wrong, Tyler Lewis is going to play and he’s going to be a huge factor on this team, but the point is that there are times when Barber is simply the better option. Tonight was one of those times. Barber made a lot of big plays with the shot clock winding down, he made some big time passes and was able to get into the lane and make things happen. Couple all that with the fact that he’s playing great defense for a freshman and you can see why he’s earning minutes. I don’t think this is a one time thing. Barber kicked this team into a new gear and was yet another weapon Mark Gottfried has at his disposal.
– Vandenberg is back and fulfilling promise he showed as a freshman. The thinner, more conditioned, more disciplined Vandenberg looked great tonight. He finished with 9 points and 10 boards, but best of all, he altered shots and knocked around rebounds that otherwise would have found their way into the hands of a FGCU big. Big V added 2 blocks and 2 assists, but for the first time in a long time he looked comfortable. He was running the floor, throwing his weight around and really causing havoc on the boars. All in all, I think we see that JV is going to be a giant piece to this puzzle. He needs to stay healthy and out of foul trouble. If he can, then NC State has a legit shot to shock some people.
– What more can we say about TJ Warren. The guy is a pro and he’s impressing every single time out. In this one he was nearly unstoppable. #TJBuckets went for 30 points and 9 boards. His midrange game and touch around the rim are just uncanny. Wish his new found quickness and his shot coming along, Warren is going to be a major force all season.
– Dez Lee looked good once again. Cat Barber did overshadow him, but his defense was phenomenal and he did finish with 9 points and 4 boards. Lee is such a strong finisher and is so controlled, yet physical when he goes to the rim. He’s sharing minutes with Turner right now, as Lewis seems to be bearing the brunt of Barber’s increased role.
-Freeman and Washington continue to look good. KWash went for 6 points and 5 boards in limited action and Freeman got 32 minutes, scored 2 points and had 4 boards. I think it’s safe to say that Gott loves the way this kid plays. He’s physical, he defends well and he’s strong. Washington and Anya have been good, but Freeman is bringing the most to the table right now.
– Speaking of Anya, the big freshman was as billed. Three dunks in the span of 5 minutes and 2 big blocks for Beejay. He still needs to lose weight because his rebounding could use work, but his massive wingspan is showing that it can help him be productive in limited minutes this season.
– After a lot of preseason hype, Ralston Turner is settling into this role a little better. With Turner taking less (and better) shots, it opens up the offense to run through Barber and Warren.
– State out-rebounded FGCU 43-25. Part of it was that the Eagles were without one of their best bigs, but it was also thanks to Vandy, who we a monster on the glass.
Vandy on the 360 alley oop:
“I thought Cat would throw it a little bit higher and he didn’t, I don’t know exactly what happened. I just know the ball went in the basket and I hurt my finger. It was fun. It’s just fun to run the floor. As soon as I saw the ball behind me, I just took off running. It was like, ‘Come on, Cat!’ so he threw it.”
Vandy on his first game back with the team:
“The first game is the most important because you can try to lead as much as you want but if you don’t demonstrate on the floor what you can do, they ain’t going to listen to you. I think this game at least shows them ‘Hey, I can play basketball’ so what I’m saying, you can take notice to, regardless of how much older I am than them.”
Vandy on ‘his time to shine’:
I knew this was it. I wasn’t going to be behind Rich, DeShawn, Tracy Smith, or Dennis Horner. If this goes out to the people, they’ll be like, ‘Who the hell is Dennis Horner and Tracy Smith?’ I’ve been here a long time.”
Gottfried on the win:
“I thought that was a very good team win. A lot of guys contributed in a lot of different ways, both offensively, defensively and on rebounding. I was proud of our group to bounce back against a good solid group of players from Florida Gulf Coast. They had a lot of success last year. It is a good team win for our group.”
“I felt like it was time for Cat. I thought he’s caught up in the time that he missed. Defensively, he changes things for us at the point of our defense.”
Next game is Saturday against Eastern Kentucky at 8pm.
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.