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Wolfpack Smokes Queens in Preseason Opener, 78-47

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NC State 78 – Queens 47
Box Score

We keep saying that there are loads and loads of unanswered questions coming into this season. In tonight’s preseason opener against Queens, a lot of those questions began to get answered.

The Pack really ran away with this game in the second half, but we really weren’t watching the score. Instead we were watching the substitution patterns, the chemistry and the freshmen. Sure, it was nice to get a 78-47 win in an exhibition game, but there were much more important things going on out there tonight. Here’s what we’ve got.

Making Money On Defense
I don’t think we know enough yet to say that this team isn’t going to be a great offensive team, however on paper you’d have to believe that there will be night when they struggle to score it. That’s going to be ok if they can defend like they showed they can tonight. This was a different type of Mark Gottfried basketball. These guys were really getting into their guys, hassling ball handlers, playing great help defense, owning the glass and altering nearly any shot put up in the lane. Now, I know this was a small, undermanned Queens team but it was the hustle, the want-to and the desire that really caught my eye. Barber and Dez Lee were hounding ball handlers as soon as they crossed half court. They were in passing lanes and jumping point-to-point passes. I was seriously impressed with the showing on that end of the floor. State forced 30 TO’s as their offense fed off of their defense all night. If that is going to be this team identity then it’s fine by me.

Freshmen Lead the Way
Early on the offense looked a little disjointed. The Pack was forcing shots, dribbling into trouble and just bumbling around a lot over the first 8 minutes. It actually was the freshmen who came in and kind of settled things down. First you had Caleb Martin. I know this was just one game, but this kid brings a different dimension to this offense. He was red hot tonight, finishing with team high 16 points on 6-10 shooting and 4-6 from 3pt range (he also added 3 steals, 2 blocks and 4 boards). He’s got a pretty stroke from long range, but he’s not a one dimensional player by any means. Caleb showed his ability to take the ball into traffic, as well as finishing on the break. He’s going to have his ups and downs like anyone else this season, but in the long run this kid is going to be special. This was quite a way to start a career.

Another freshmen who had a big showing was Abdul-Malik Abu who finished with 14 points and 5 boards. Abu showcased an all around game that should have Pack fans pretty excited. He was very active in the paint, very physical on both ends of the floor and even showed off a nice 15 foot jumper. Abu had some drives to the hoop that made it seem as if he’s been here a while. His body control and physical nature are going to be big  pluses for this team. He was the second leading scorer in this one and will be certainly getting a nice chunk of minutes come season time.

Lacey Struggles Again
Trevor Lacey is going to be good. There’s no debating that fact, but just how good is still up in the air. So far he really hasn’t had much success in front of the Wolfpack faithful. In the red/white scrimmage he was more of a distributor and did not score and tonight he just couldn’t find his touch. Lacey finished 3-12 shooting, notching only 7 points. I think it might be another game or two before he gets in the groove, but when he does this team is going to start kicking into gear.

Anya As Advertised
Although he didn’t start the game, Beejay Anya really made a big impact in this one. He only played 20 minutes, but in those minutes he scored 7 point (2 dunks), had 6 blocks and pulled down 4 boards. The big man is going to be a big factor for State on defense this season. Queens wasn’t able to get a many clean shots off inside the arc with Anya patrolling the paint. His length and now his ability to get off the floor makes anyone driving into the lane think twice.

More Zone?
State went zone in the second half and I really thought it was a good look for them. This team is very long and if they can learn positioning and to not fall asleep when in the zone, then they’ll be able to really shut some teams down with this defense. With the quickness of Barber and Lee, the length and quickness of the Martin twins and the sheer size of Anya in the middle, there isn’t much room to work the ball inside the zone without having it deflected, or being met with a big body when you do catch it. It will be interesting to see how often Gottfried employs that zone.

Barber Still Settling In
When Barber pushes the issue too much the team suffers. They just lose rhythm and the offense gets out of whack. But when Cat lets the game come to him and plays within the flow, the gears start turning for these guys. Early on Barber was pressing, but in the second half he really settled into his PG role and started looking more like the guy that could end up being a true threat in this league. Barber finished shooting only 2-9 but he did add 5 assists and only had 1 TO. Cat needs to just stop thinking about scoring and become a true distributor first. The scoring is a given and there will be times when he has to create his own shot, but right now I think he’d be best served trying to average double digit assists by getting into the lane and looking to dump it off or kick it out for a wide open 3.

NC State opens up their season this Friday at 7pm against Jacksonville at the PNC Arena.

 

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NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts Postgame Press Conference After Coppin State: BULLETED

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NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media after the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State tonight. You can watch the press conference here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • First of all we’re going to continue to pray for Dusan Mahorcic.
    • I do not have an update at this point. He’s with our medical doctors and our trainers and I will know more hopefully in the next 24 hours.
    • We will  give you some type of an update when we get one.
    • I just wanted to keep him calm. It’s tough and you guys look at them as my players. I look at them as my  kids.
    • It is hard to see any of your kids or any of those guys in that situation.
    • I was there just to calm him down and let him know we are with him. I am obviously praying for him.
  • Our guards were really special  tonight.
    • There were 3 great guards on the floor because Sam Sessoms [of Coppin State] was pretty good  also.
    • It was really good to see Jarkel Joiner bounce back after not having a great game against Pitt.
    • Terquavion Smith was a pro’s pro tonight.
      • He did a little bit of everything, he defended, he scored  the basketball, he passed the basketball.
  • We didn’t feel like we played well in the Pitt game and we wanted to come in here, have a better showing, and play both ends of the floor.
  • I’ll get a thousand  questions about Reynolds Coliseum and we should play every game in here, but don’t send those  questions to me, send them to somebody else, but it’s a great venue and it was a great night.
    • I’m really appreciative of our fans for showing up.
    • It was an electric night. I thought the energy was great. We had a lot of fun.
  • The ‘STATE’ jerseys looked great, I thought they were  outstanding.
    • Hopefully we can see them again, maybe they’re not just a 1-game deal.
  • During the game, I thought we had a good 1st half, but we didn’t close the 1st half the way I wanted to.
  • We came out, and I  thought we were playing a lot better in the 2nd half, and then unfortunately with Dusan Mahorcic’s  situation it took the air out of us a bit, but we closed the game.
  • I’m happy the way Ernest Ross played today.
  • They [Coppin State] did a good job getting back in transition.
    • A lot of Casey Morsell’s shots have come when he was running the floor and getting out in transition.
    • They stayed at home.
    • The reason we got so many open looks to our post guys when we rolled was because they stayed with our shooters a lot.
  • I’ll take them [Joiner & Smith]. I don’t want to trade them, so I’ve got to say I’ll take them. I’m keeping them. I’m not  throwing them in, so I’m keeping those guys.
    • They are good and tonight they were electric. They were really good.
    • Every run that Coppin made they were there to answer it.
    • Here is what we do in practice with those guys.
      • I need them to play against each other because they challenge each other to become  better, but I also have to develop some type of chemistry with them.
      • So early on in the season, it was those 2 guarding each other, and they made each other better.
      • In the end, I have now switched it so they have to play together, so they have a better understanding and feel on how to play together.
  • Coppin is a team that is really dangerous. People from the other side won’t have name recognition, but you look at the Power Five and the bigger schools they have played, that is what has been great.
    • Georgetown was an overtime game, maybe multiple overtime games, and the Maryland game was tough.
    • He [Juan Dixon] has done that against all competition. I am happy for Juan.
      • I remember him back when I was at Hargrave. I sent Lonnie Baxter to Maryland who played with Juan and I have seen him since he was a really young kid.
  • One of the best kids I could have ever recruited [Joiner], especially the point guard position.
    • He didn’t have to tell me. I don’t know if he went  home that night [After Pitt].
    • Obviously, he probably went in and took 2,000 shots that night or more.
  • The #1 thing these kids are here for is their education.
    • Today was the last day of class, meaning we are going into exams, so we have to figure out a good balance of when to practice.
    • Right now our priorities shifted to make sure the guys finish out the semester strong, and take care of their academics. It is a great balancing act.
  • You gotta let me get past tonight, they’re [Miami] good, very talented.
    • I haven’t watched Miami at all, but I do know name recognition.
      • I know Isaiah Wong seems like he’s been around for 7 years, and he’s played great.
      • I’ll get a chance to watch them starting late tonight and early tomorrow.
      • They’re  talented.
      • Jim Larrañaga has done a great job with his team, it’ll be a tough road game for us, as all of them are.
  • Our guards did a great job of controlling the game, thats the maturity that I’m looking for.
    • I’ve got a Senior that’s been around a long time, in Jarkel.
    • I’ve also got a guy that is an elite scorer, who a lot of the conversations I’ve had with him are: ‘control the game, finish the game, be efficient down the  stretch, and don’t settle.’
      • He did a great job of not just taking deep 3’s, even though he took the last one.
      • He drove the basketball and we got to the free throw line.
  • Amazing. It’s not just NC State, you could almost make an argument that it’s America’s team, the ‘83 run was great.
    • It feels like every time you see something about them, I have to stop what I am doing just to read. It gets your heart beating a little bit.
    • It’s a great team with great folks, it was a great coach.
    • We’re excited…we’re gonna bring them back.
      • I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you that, but I think they’re supposed to come back in February to honor those guys and I think that’s the right thing to do…and if we can bring them back every week we should.
      • I think there were a few here tonight, and I’m glad our guys played well enough where our guys respect what those guys did.
  • You know he’s played so well and other people will say, you know, well he’s only averaged 16 points per game, you know the NBA scouts, they know he can score the basketball.
    • They wanted to see him pass the basketball, so I think he’s doing a really good job.
      • He’s either 1st or 2nd in the ACC in assists.
      • We’re seeing a young man grow up, and by the way, he’s saying to you guys: ‘Hey I can score if I need to, I just wanna show you I got a little bit more in my bag.’
      • But he’s really matured, you know he’s a kid.
        • And you know one of the reasons why he’s back is because he’s a kid and he enjoys his teammates.
      • You know when you saw Dusan go down, you know, I think he was affected more than anybody.

         

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Dusan Mahorcic Suffers Knee Injury vs. Coppin State

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NC State Center Dusan Mahorcic suffered a gruesome looking knee injury tonight in the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State in Reynolds Coliseum.

From what I’ve heard, Mahorcic suffered an injury to his kneecap, but the severity of his injury is unknown at this time. A kneecap injury can visually be a disturbing sight, and the NC State squad, especially Terquavion Smith, who had a good look at it, were emotionally moved in concern.

We will have to wait to see how long Mahorcic is out, but the need for DJ Burns to be able to play more minutes just became much more important. Also, Ernest Ross, who has always had a high ceiling, is going to need to grow up fast if Mahorcic is out for an extended period of time.

We are praying for you Dusan! Get well soon Big Fella!

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball’s: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: Highlight Reel & Condensed Game

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NC State defeated Coppin State 94-72 in Reynolds Coliseum tonight. You can check out the Box Score here. Below is the Highlight Reel & Condensed Game from the ACC Digital Network.

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: BOX SCORE

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NC State improved to 8-2 on the year, defeating Coppin State 94-72 tonight in Reynolds Coliseum.

Only 2 Wolfpack players scored in double figures, and it was none other than the dangerous tandem of Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner.

Smith led the team in points and assists, with 33 & 7 respectively. Smith wax clicking tonight, shooting 12-21 from the field, and 6 of 12 from three.

Joiner bounced back from a poor shooting performance against Pitt, scoring 29 points, shooting 11-21 from the field, and a blazing 5-7 from three.

Jack Clark had a poor shooting night, hitting only 1 of 7, but he managed to impact the game in every other way. Clark had 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.

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