In what was probably the ugliest game of their season, NC State fell to Pitt 74-62 after having an early 15 point lead. Here are some of our observations from the game.
Turnovers killed NC State. 16 turnovers, 9 of which came in the first half. This was about as lackadaisical with the basketball as you could look. Cat Barber and Dez Lee combined for half of those 16 turnovers, while Turner and Warren both added 2. This was huge because it led to easy run outs and lots of transition buckets for the Panthers.
NC State’s turnovers led to a lot of breaks for Pitt, but the Wolfpack’s transition D was no where to be found in this one. Usually it’s NC State making a living off the break, but Pitt dominated this category, scoring 24 points on the break and 19 points of turnovers. This killed the Pack.
Rebounding was surprisingly good against the stronger Panther front line. We’ll talk later about lack of effort in some areas, but that wasn’t the case on the boards where the Pack used a team effort to really take it to Pitt. State dominated rebounds 35-29 and it was really a team effort. Warren had 8, Barber had 6, Vandy 5, Freeman 4 Washington 3 and Anya added 3. This was surprising because Pitt is very physical and more mature than State right now. However, Gottfried’s group of young bigs really held their own and fought for rebounds.
This is where we’re going to talk about effort. I think State came out with great effort. They were feeding off the crowd and making plays, but it looked like they simply forgot the game plan in the second half. State held Pitt to 33% shooting through the first 20 mins but allowed them to really get out in transition and score some easy buckets in the second half, on the way to allowing the Panthers to shoot 62% in the second half. One of the keys was Lama Patterson, who was really held in check in the first half. Give credit to Pitt for finding new ways to get him the ball and get him going in the second half. He finished with 22, but 17 came in the 2nd half.
We’ve got to remember that this is still young team. If we get one more facebook or tweet telling us to stop using the “this team is young” excuse, I’m going to explode. Do you think just because this team played 1 non-conference slate that they’re all of the sudden veterans? The fact is, State is running a ton of underclassmen and those that aren’t have no ACC experience outside of Vandenberg. I understand fans getting frustrated with this team because they’re coming so close to winning big games, and they’re showing glimpses of greatness, but remember that is what young players/teams do. The biggest things that young players lack is consistency and poise. Those come with time, so please enjoy this team but be patient with them, they are still learning.
TJ Warren struggled in the 2nd half of this one. After coming out red-hot, he only managed 3 FGs in the 2nd half. He did finish with 23 points and 8 boards, so that is positive. The thing you are starting to see, however, is that Warren isn’t as consitent when State is forcing things to him. He is a guy who scores in the flow of the game. He’s not as good when you just give him the ball and clear out. This has been State’s problem of late. Teams are taking Warren away with physical play and double teams, but State still wants to go to him. The only answer is for other guys to score within the flow of the offense and make it hard to just focus on Warren. One thing this team can’t do is start going one on one. As soon as things start going bad, Barber starts forcing the issue, Dez starts forcing the issue, Warren and Turner are taking off balance, poor shots. This team needs poise and understanding of the situation. When the opposition makes a run, it’s not time to answer by driving one on one. It’s time to slow it down and get a good look at the basket.
Speaking of the offense, this team is struggling because the offense is way too guard/wing oriented. There is no threat in the post at all. Now, a lot of that is because the guys State has down there aren’t all that polished offensively, but you have to at least feed the post and make it seem like you want the ball down there. Very rarely do you see a two-man-game where the guard dumps it down, relocates, the big kicks it back out, and re-seals. This at least makes the defense work and makes them pay attention to the bigs. State, right now, is way too one dimensional on offense.
NC State’s 2023-23 Men’s Basketball Schedule Has Arrived
NC State’s 2023-24 Men’s Basketball schedule has arrived!
NC State to Honor David Thompson with Statue Outside Reynolds Coliseum
RALEIGH – NC State University will pay tribute to three-time All-American David Thompson with a statue sculpted in his honor that will be placed outside of Reynolds Coliseum.
The unveiling will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, the day of the Wolfpack men’s basketball team’s annual Heritage Game at Reynolds Coliseum, and will be open to the public.
“This is such a deserved honor for the greatest basketball player to ever wear an NC State jersey,” NC State Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan said. “He is one of the most iconic players to ever play in the ACC and our hope is that this statue will ensure that generations of NC State students and fans will always remember the legacy and contributions of David Thompson.”
Thompson is widely recognized as one of the greatest players in college basketball history. A 2008 ESPN story ranked him as one of the ten best college basketball players of all-time, and he is regarded as one of greatest athletes in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
The Boiling Spring, N.C., native played three seasons at NC State from 1972-75 and was a unanimous first-team All-American at the conclusion of all three seasons. He was also named the ACC Player of the Year all three seasons.
He was named the Associated Press National Player of the Year in 1974 and 1975 and remains one of just five players in college basketball history to win multiple AP National Player of the Year honors.
Thompson immediately made his mark on the Pack, helping lead NC State to an undefeated season (27-0) in 1973. The Pack dominated the 1972-73 season and was at the top or near the top of the polls all season as Thompson averaged 24.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Thompson returned in the 1973-74 season and led the Wolfpack to a 30-1 record and the school’s first NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball National Title.
In the Final Four, Thompson and the Wolfpack met up with UCLA, the seven-time reigning National Champions and the only team to have defeated NC State that season. The Pack trailed 74-67 in the second overtime when Thompson’s heroics helped lead NC State back. Thompson pulled down a defensive rebound and made the go-ahead basket with under one minute remaining and then made two free throws with 38 seconds to go to give the Pack a 78-75 double overtime win in a game that is still considered one of the greatest Final Four games ever played.
Thompson finished the game with 28 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Bill Walton and the Bruins.
Two nights later, the Pack won the National Title over Marquette, 76-64, behind 21 points from Thompson. Thompson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
To make it into the NCAA Tournament, the Pack defeated fourth-ranked Maryland, 103-100, in overtime in the 1974 ACC Championship, in a game that is routinely considered one of the best games in college basketball history.
As a senior, Thompson averaged 29.9 points, still the highest single season average in NC State history. He scored an NC State and ACC record 57 points in an early season win over Buffalo State. The Pack started the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and never fell out of the top-10, but lost in the ACC Championship game to end its season. The Pack finished the season ranked seventh in the nation but because the NCAA Tournament at that time only allowed the conference champion into the tournament its season was over.
Thompson closed his career with 2,309 points in 86 career games. He led the ACC in scoring all three seasons and was NC State and the ACC’s career scoring leader when he graduated.
Former NC State Basketball Player Torin Dorn Joins Coaching Staff of G-League SLC Stars
Former NC State basketball player Torin Dorn has joined the staff of the Salt Lake City Stars, the G-League team for the Utah Jazz. Dorn’s title is Player Development Associate/Assistant Coach.
After playing 3 seasons at NC State, Dorn went on to play professionally overseas in Poland and Czech Republic, before joining the Wolfpack coaching staff last season as a Graduate Manager.
Dorn will be working under newly appointed head coach Steve Wojciechowski (former Duke PG), who was the head coach at Marquette the past 7 seasons.
NC State Guard MJ Rice Will Be Returning Soon After Stepping Away for a Period of Time
NC State Guard MJ Rice (6’5″/215) announced yesterday that due to personal reasons, he had to step away from the basketball program, but was excited to be back with his teammates soon. He was clear that his commitment to NC State hasn’t wavered.
Life is much bigger than sports. These young men are human beings first and foremost, and as we all know, this life is never simple and easy.
Rice transferred to NC State this offseason from Kansas with three years of eligibility remaining. The former High School McDonald’s All-American didn’t get a lot of playing time in his Freshman season at Kansas, averaging 7.6 minutes per game in only 23 games played.
Coming out of Prolific Prep in California, Rice averaged 20.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a Senior. Rivals ranked him as a 5-star prospect, ON3 ranked him 24th nationally, and ESPN ranked him as the #1 player in the state of North Carolina.
Whatever Rice is working through, we value him as a person more than we do a player.