#25 Missouri 68 – NC State 64
Mark Gottfried Postgame Audio
TJ Warren finished with 24 points and 13 boards while Dez Lee added 12, but it wasn’t enough as Missouri’s dynamic duo, Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown combined for 38 points in Missouri’s 68-64 come from behind victory.
The Wolfpack seemingly controlled this entire game until Missouri reeled off an 11-1 run late in the second half. While State led throughout this one, Missouri never let the game get away from them. They stayed within striking distance the whole game and finally broke through with 6 minutes left, when Jabari Brown buried a 3 to finally tie the game. From there it was back and forth until Brown knocked down another 3 with less than a minute to go followed by Cat Barber missing the front end of a one and one. After 2 Jordan Clarkson free throws and a poor shot by Ralston Turner, the win was sealed for Missouri.
Let’s take a deeper look into why NC State fell apart in this one:
– TJ Warren finished with 24 points and 13 boards, but he didn’t score over the final 12 minutes. That was the decider in this one. When Warren isn’t scoring, NC State state struggles to put up points. It seemed as if TJ was either a little tired, or just settling for jumpers, but he wasn’t working to get easy buckets like he was in the first half. Also, credit Missouri for making things really tough on him in those final 12 minutes.
– 57% from the FT line. That’s pretty much unacceptable. I know these guys work on free throws every practice after sprints to mimic the fatigue they feel during a game, so I’m not really sure what this was all about. Guys you wouldn’t expect to knock them down, like Tyler Lewis and TJ Warren, missed them. Cat Barber missed a very crucial one and one down the stretch that really hurt NC State.
– Speaking of Cat Barber, he had his worst game as a college player. I think he was thrown off a bit after he got 2 quick fouls and sat almost the whole first half. It really took him out of rhythm and he just didn’t look like himself. He did finish with 6 points and 6 assists, but he just wasn’t very aggressive and he struggled shooting the basketball where he was only 2-11.
– This team has trouble with the zone. Missouri is the first team NC State has faced that has been big, strong, quick and also sat back in a zone. State struggled against the zone early in the season, but lately has played better against it. Missouri, however, was able to stop dribble penetration and limit passes to the interior of the zone. This made the Pack settle for a lot of 3s, and that is not their strong suit. State shot only 28% from 3 point range. TJ Warren hurt the Pack here, going only 1-7 from beyond the arc.
Even though this was a loss for the Pack, it’s good to remember that this is a young team that is still learning. Every game is a learning experience. With that said, let’s take a look at some ‘bright spots’ from the game:
– Dez Lee had an amazing first half. Lee scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and was all over the floor. He was hitting 3s, finishing on the break and really holding down Jabari Brown on the defensive end. In the second half Lee sort of disappeared. He wasn’t as aggressive and didn’t really force the issue. Lee is still new to this level and is doing his best to fit into his role. I think a more aggressive Lee makes NC State a much better basketball team. Dez needs to step up a little more and take control when things get rough. He’s got that kind of talent.
– Kyle Washington broke out. I think we finally got a taste of why K.Wash was being so heavily recruited by schools like Florida and Ohio State. He was in the zone in this one, scoring 10 points, all in the 2nd half. Washington flashed a nice midrange jumper and a soft lefty hook. He also flashed some serious confidence and passion down the stretch. Remember, this kid is still a freshman who is coming into his own. Seeing him have a game like this is a huge plus going forward for the Pack.
– Overall, NC State played really well against Missouri. This was the #25 team in the nation and the Wolfpack could have easily walked away with a victory. I think this was a great learning experience for this young team and it will certainly help them going forward. Missouri has some of the best guards the Pack will see all season and they held their ground. State was pretty dominant for the first 30 minutes of this game, they just need to learn how to step on a team’s throat when they have them down.
Kansas Transfer MJ Rice Makes Quite the Impression in his NC State Debut
We’ve seen a lot of new faces on the NC State Men’s Basketball team this season, but one face we haven’t seen yet is Kansas Transfer Guard/Forward M.J. Rice (6’5″/215)…until tonight.
Rice stepped away from the program for personal reasons earlier this Fall, and when he returned, he had a little catching up to do. It wasn’t until today during shoot around that Rice and Keatts both knew that tonight would be his debut.
“He’d been practicing for the last couple of weeks, and you know, I was just trying to figure out when he was ready. He and I, we talked a little bit after shoot around today and I said ‘MJ you ready to go tonight?'” said Kevin Keatts. “and he had this big huge smile on his face. He’s like ‘You sure you ready?’ He’s like ‘Ask me some plays.’ So he and I sit over there on the scores table at the Dale and we went over plays and I was like ‘You know what, you are ready to play.'”
Out of all the transfers Keatts brought in this offseason, Rice might have the highest ceiling. Rice was a 5-Star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, and ON3 ranked him as the #24 overall prospect nationally. He committed to Kansas, where he played in 23 games for the Jayhawks as a Freshman in 2022, averaging 2.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game. Rice was a huge pickup in the Transfer Portal, ranked as the #2 player in the Portal, with three years of eligibility remaining.
Rice also isn’t new to the area either, playing high school ball at Durham Academy, before heading off to Oak Hill Academy and Prolific Prep.
In a short sample size, Rice gave us a glimpse of what the hype is all about tonight. He scored 11 points in 11 minutes of play, also grabbing 6 boards. Rice was 5-6 from the field, and hit the only three he took. In the most electrifying play of the night, Rice took it coast-to-coast, finishing with a soaring dunk.
“He gives us another dimension. We’ve been playing with six of our new dudes. Now we added the seventh and I’m happy for him. He’s going to help us. He’s going to be really good for us.” said Keatts. “I said this on the radio just now…we’ve got some older guys, but two really good young players in Dennis Parker Jr. and also MJ Rice. It was good for MJ to see the ball going in. I think he played 10 minutes had 11 points. He made a three. He had a big time dunk, so I was excited for him.”
“He gives us the ability to play a little bit more small ball. If we have to, we can play him and Dennis Parker both at the three and four. Really good defender at that position and can rebound the basketball,” said Keatts. “It’s going to take time. I’m trying to figure out how to kind of put him into the rotation, and now we’ve added another really good exciting piece to it, but it was good to have him back out there.”
Welcome to the Pack MJ! We’re glad you’ve arrived!
NC State 93 UMES 61: BOX SCORE
Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of NC State’s Win Over BC
Ready to watch NC State’s Men’s Basketball team play in the ‘old barn’ tonight against Maryland Eastern-Shore? Well, until 7pm, go ahead and get yourself hype by watching Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of the Wolfpack’s ACC opening win over BC this past Saturday. Check it out above.
NC State’s a 20+ Point Favorite Over Maryland Eastern-Shore
NC State (5-2) will host Maryland Eastern-Shore (2-5) in Reynolds Coliseum, and the Wolfpack are 24.5-point favorites, and the Total is 147.5.
- NC State is 3-4 Against the Spread.
- Maryland Eastern-Shore is 2-4.
- NC State is 3-0 at Home Straight Up.
- They are 2-1 Against the Spread at home.
- Maryland Eastern-Shore is 0-4 Straight Up on the road.
- Maryland Eastern Shore is 1-3 Against the Spread on the road.
- The Total has gone Over twice, Under twice, and pushed once in NC State’s 7 games.
- The Total has gone Over 4 times and Under 2 times in Maryland Eastern Shore’s 6 games that had spreads.