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NC State Basketball

Wolfpack Outlasts Long Beach St. 76-66

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NC State 76 – Long Beach State 66 – Boxscore

Mark Gottfried Press Conference Audio:

 

Cat Barber (19 pts) and TJ Warren (23pts) led the scoring and Lennard Freeman (13 boards) and Vandenberg (5 boards, 3 blocks) held down the middle as the Pack pulled away in the second half, beating Long Beach State 76-66.

Another game, another nice showing by this young Pack team. Although they struggled to get things going early in the first half, they made adjustments and took control later on. Here are a few takeaways that stood out to us:

State still struggles some against the zone. In the first half State really didn’t move the ball that well. They were seemed slow and unsure of themselves. This shouldn’t be the case. Teams have and will be zoning State all season. This is an athletic group, but one that has struggled from beyond the arc. They shot 20% from downtown in this one and they still came out with the win. That’s not going to be the case when they go up against big time teams like Duke and Carolina. With that said, they did do a nice job of the second half of getting inside Lone Beach St.’s zone and making things happen. Vandenberg and Warren has some really nice interior passing that led to some really easy buckets.

Cat Barber is turning into a star. This kid is really answering the bell early in this season. He was definitely the Pack’s player of the game against the 49ers and just keeps getting better week by week. He finished with 19 points and 4 assists on 7-15 shooting. He had some unbelievable moves off the dribble and really got State going against the zone in the 2nd half. Those, however, are not the reasons that Cat Barber logged 35 minutes in this one. His defense on Mike Caffey was the key. In the half court, Barber was able to really shut down the star guard. While he did get his average, most of his points were uncontested on the break. Barber’s defense is a huge plus for the Pack and something that is winning him minutes over Tyler Lewis right now.

Lennard Freeman had 13 boards and is becoming a true force for NC State. The 17 year old freshman isn’t scared of anyone. He’s built like a man and plays like a man down on the blocks. I can’t help but think of Richard Howell when I watch him play. He fights for every loose ball and attacks every ball off the glass. He’s a hungry one and his offense is starting too come around as well. If and when that happens, this kid will become a superstar. As a freshman Richard Howell was lazy, overweight and didn’t care much about rebounding. Things drastically changed and he became one of the hardest working, beloved Pack players in recent memory, but what if he would have had 4 years with that outlook instead of just 2. Freeman does have those 4 years and if he keeps doing what he’s doing he could become the best rebounder State has had in a long, long time.

– TJ Warren did it again. 23 points, 10-18 shooting, 5 boards, just another game for the sophomore leader. I’m going to say that again…sophomore leader. It’s hard to believe TJ is only a sophomore. His game is so advanced, his scoring and game play is so fluid. He’s now averaging 22.6 ppg, leading the ACC. I’m not sure what else you can say about him, he’s a legit pro and probably the best scorer State has seen since Hodge.

Vandenberg policed the middle against LBS and really caused problems. I wish ‘altered shots’ or ‘change of decision’ was a counted stat because Vandy would be a league leader. He only scored 2 points, had 5 boards and added 3 blocks, but his presence alone did so much more. Long Beach State didn’t really know what to do inside. They were forcing quick shots, changing their release and passing out in situations that they would usually shoot…and it was all because of Big V. He had big blocks early on that sent a message to the 49ers. They received that message and looked uncomfortable all night when they were in the paint.

——-

Next up for the Pack (6-2) is the Detroit Titans, this Saturday at 2pm at the PNC Arena.

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NC State Basketball

NC State NET Rankings Report After Syracuse Loss

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NC State lost to Syracuse 83-87 last night, and as a result, the Wolfpack fell 5 spots in the NET Rankings to #80. The Orange moved up 6 spots to #84.

(NCAA)

NC State is now 9th in the ACC in the NET rankings.

For a refresher on how the NET Rankings are calculated:

Using the quadrant system, which was in its fourth season in 2020-21, the quality of wins and losses will be organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.

Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding. (NCAA)

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NC State Basketball

Thoughts on NC State’s 83-87 Loss to Syracuse

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NC State’s (16-10/8-7) 83-87 loss to Syracuse this evening might have been the nail-in-the-coffin when it comes to the Wolfpack’s NCAA Tournament aspirations. They were barely on the bubble as it was, but this game and the next two games against Boston College and Florida State were “must wins.” On top of that, the Wolfpack probably needed to beat Pitt in the regular season finale, and beat either Duke or UNC.

With this loss, NC State will need a miracle. They will need to win the rest of their regular season games, which concludes with 3 consecutive Quad 1 games.

In regards to this evenings game, it’s hard to beat a team when you allow them to shoot 61.3% in the first half, and allow a guy who averages 11.3 points per game (Chris Bell) to sink 8 of 9 three’s at the halfway mark. Sure, you could make the excuse that they were just hitting everything they threw up, but the defense was lackluster, and they failed to adjust to a player with a hot hand.

What I’m about to say isn’t meant to describe a moral victory for NC State. With that being said, this team didn’t give up, and clawed back from a 15-point halftime deficit (16-point at one point in the 2nd half), to take a 1-point lead with 3:15 left in the game. That was the first time the Wolfpack had led since it was 2-0.

Senior DJ Horne was sensational once again, scoring 25+ points for the 5th straight game, matching what Cat Barber did back in 2015-16. Horne finished with 32 points, hitting 11 of his 20 field goal attempts, and an insane 6 of 8 from three.

Could you argue that Horne was fouled on the last play? I guess, but I wouldn’t have called it.

Three other Wolfpack players scored in double figures: Ben Middlebrooks (12), DJ Burns (12) and Jayden Taylor (10). Honestly, they all shot well. Middlebrooks had a double-double, with 10 rebounds.

Mohamed Diarra was solid with 7 points (3-6) and 8 boards.

Syracuse came back to reality in the second half, and ended up shooting 51% from the field, but the Wolfpack shot 47%. Both teams shot well. In fact, NC State actually scored more points off of turnovers, had more second chance points and had more free throws.

You simply can’t put yourself in a position to dig yourself out of a 16-point deficit. You can’t allow a guy to make 8 of 9 three’s in the opening half, with 6 of them being practically uncontested.

The Wolfpack have lost 3 of the last 4, and all 3 losses have been by 4 points or less. I wouldn’t say the Pack lost any of those three games due to a lack of effort. Rather, I would say it was primarily due to inconsistency, a lack of discipline and poor decisions in timely moments (Jayden Taylor’s TO with 1:13 left with the game tied).

With Wake Forest beating Pitt tonight, a Wolfpack win would have put them in 4th place in the ACC.

A big missed opportunity for the Pack this evening.

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NC State Basketball

NC State 83 Syracuse 87: BOX SCORE

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NC State has now lost 7 straight to Syracuse, falling to the Orange 83-87 in PNC Arena this evening. Below is the Box Score.

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NC State Basketball

DJ Horne is Looking to Continue His Streak of 20+ Points or More

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NC State is trying to stop a 6-game losing streak to Syracuse tonight, but Senior Wolfpack Guard DJ Horne is trying to continue a streak.

Currently, Horne has scored 20+ points in 5 straight games, which is tied with what Terquavion Smith did last year. If Horne scores 20+ points tonight, his 6-game streak will be the longest since 2015-16, when Cat Barber strung together 7 straight games of 20+ points.

Horne also has scored 25+ points in 4 straight games. If he does so again tonight, he will be the first player to do so since Barber did so in 2015-16, when he scored 25+ in 5-straight games.

What Horne has done in his coming home campaign has been nothing short of remarkable. He is shooting 43.4% from three, which ranks 2nd in the ACC. In his last 18 games, Horne is shooting 46.6% from deep. In ACC play, Horne is averaging 19.3 points per game, which ranks 2nd in the conference.

Here’s what Horne’s numbers look like over his 5-game streak of 20+ points: 26.6 points/51.8 FG%/48.8 3PT%.

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