NC State 65 – Tennessee 58
Tennessee was billed as having the more dominant front court, but it was the Wolfpack bigs that were the story as NC State owned the paint in their 65-58 win over the Vols.
Leading scorer: TJ Warren – 21
Leading rebounder: TJ Warren – 11
Most blocks: Beejay Anya – 5
Most assists: Cat Barber – 4
Most steals: TJ Warren – 2
“They came in here and I thought they were fearless. They played with poise and stayed with what we wanted to do. I like the fact we came in here and showed some confidence. We were mentally and emotionally ready to start the game. Good win for our team, very excited for our players.” Coach Gottfried
– Huge credit to the NC State bigs in this one. Tennessee had a bigger, stronger and more experienced front line, but it was no match for the heart and hustle of the Pack’s front court. State out rebounded the Vols 43-41 and had 12 blocks on the night.
– Jordan Vandenberg might have been in foul trouble all night, but the guy is a game changer when he’s on the floor. Tonight was no different. The big Aussie had a big defensive presence, but his big moment came with about 4:25 left in the game when Tennesee was making a surge. They drove, drew Vandy off his man, then dished to that man. Jordan turned around and rejected a dunk, taking the air out of the Vols and giving momentum back to State.
– Speaking of bigs making big impacts, let’s talk about Beejay Anya. This guy has basically been an afterthought lately, but tonight he was a huge factor. With Vandenberg in foul trouble, Beejay was forced into action. Tennessee seemed like they were salivating when he entered. They went right at him, trying to take advantage of the weak link, but the joke was on them. Anya was a block machine and filled in for Vandy rather well with 5 denials. It looks like that front court depth just got a little deeper.
– Want more front court production? Look no further than the other reserve, Kyle Washington. Starter Lennard Freeman played great (8 poionts, 9 boards), but early foul trouble sent him to the bench as well. Enter KWash who was all over the place tonight. This kid is just getting better and better. He hit a lefty hook, and long jumper and he completely dominated on the boards when he was in there. He finished with 5 points and 7 boards in 23 minutes. Right now NC State’s perceived weak spot is turning into a strong suit and most of it is thanks to a group of freshmen.
– How’d we get this far without mentioning a guy who put up a double double and shot 50% for the game? TJ Warren did it again, folks. The sophomore star put up 21 points, added 11 boards and threw in 2 steals for good measure. Warren is the engine that makes this offense go. He’s also the leader that NC State has really been missing. He spurs his team on with his play and his action, and not with his ego. It’s a breath of fresh air to see NC State with a leader that is a team-first guy. Warren is the perfect front man for a group this young. He’s putting the team on his back and making sure they succeed. But, let’s talk about tonight in general. As I started to write this, I was feeling like Warren had a bit of an off-game according to his standards. That’s saying a lot, because he dropped 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. How spoiled are we? The truth, however, is that TJ did look a little off early in the 2nd half, taking some wild shots and got a little loose with the ball for a few possessions. I know I’m just being picky, but that’s how good TJ Warren is. He had a great game overall and is still probably the best pure scorer I’ve seen at NC State in my lifetime.
– Cat Barber continues to grow. This kid still makes some little mistakes, but he’s becoming a star right in front of our eyes. The concerning number is the 6 turnovers, but he did have 12 points, 6 boards and 4 assists on the game. Most of his turnovers were him being too aggressive. There were times in the game last night when things just weren’t going the Wolfpack’s way. The Vols were mounting a comeback, the crowd was going nuts and the refs were making suspect calls. It seemed at that moment that the Pack could lose their hold on this one. That’s when Barber drove the lane and hit a jumper, then followed it with another score, and suddenly NC State was back in control. That is just an example of the player Barber is becoming. Never rattled and with a burning desire to win.
– This team continues to excel despite the off-shooting of Dez Lee. The JUCO guard did drop 1o points, but did so shooting 4-12. Dez Lee is certainly a better scorer than he’s shown and as he continues to get acclimated, he will continue to improve. When he arrives, the ACC might want to start taking note of NC State.
– Good defense all around. I know Jordan McRae went for 21 points, but he also shot 6-22 on the night. Dez Lee, Cat Barber and the bigs played lock down D all night, holding Tennessee under 30% shooting.
– If you’re a consistant reader of this site, then you know we don’t like to bring the reffing into the argument, but every once in a while we deem it necessary. Tonight was one of those nights. After State took a 17 point lead into the half, the refs really tightened up, so much so that the Vols hit the bonus at the 14 minutes mark and NC State still hadn’t with less than 2 minutes to play. The refs seemingly did not want Tennessee out of this game on their home floor. Anytime NC State made a bucket, it was followed by a foul. The referees completely changed the way they were calling the game and took the air out of the back anytime they seemed to build some second half momentum. State hung on to win despite this, which is pretty impressive for a young team who is just getting used to playing on the road.
– According to Ken Pom rankings this was a big upset. NC State was 81 and Tennessee was 33. This will certainly be a quality win for NC State come March.
– Next game is against ECU in Raleigh on Dec 21st at noon.
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.