NC State shot 71% in the second half to push past Wake Forest for the 78-65 win on Saturday night’s ACC opener.
The Pack once again came out of the gate rushing, forcing and just playing sloppy. While the reffing was certainly a factor in some of that, Gottfried’s group also just refused to run the offense early on. It wasn’t until the second half that State really kicked it into gear.
In the second half they showed patience, toughness and confidence as they lit up the scoreboard, hitting nearly every shot and moving the ball until they got clean looks. The main reason State was able to pull away however, was the play of Ralston Turner. The redshirt senior was cooking in the second half. His 21 points were a team high and helped the Pack put Wake away.
Let’s take a closer look at our game notes:
State shot the ball a lot better, Ralston was on fire
Wipe the first half from you memory. There wasn’t much good that happened in those first 20. In the second half however, State came a live. Led by an enfuego Ralston Turner and Trevor Lacey, State shot 71% and really was firing on all cylinders. They were running their offense and getting good looks. When they got to the FT line (and they did a lot with all the ticky-tack calls the refs were making) they shot the ball well. Barber, Lacey and Turner combined to go 15-17 from the stripe. A 55% shooting night is great for this team against an ACC opponent, especially when you stumble coming out of the gate.
The offense looked better
State was a lot more patient in the second half. They were using their screens, setting up their men at times and really looking to get good shots. While they were getting Turner open, I still think this team needs to really work on setting up and trying to get easy buckets on their UCLA cuts. Too often they are rushing through this cut (that’s if they even get to that part of the offense.) I think another reason the offense looked better was that Wake wasn’t just sitting back in a zone all night. They decided to play mostly straight up man and State doesn’t usually have much trouble against that.
Abu Starting to Break Out
You definitely can tell that he’s a freshmen still, but Abdul-Malik Abu had his best game of the season so far. He was physical, he played with a good motor and he was able to knock down a few open shots. Logging 16 minutes thanks to Anya’s foul troubles, Abu finished with 6 points and 5 boards. He also demanded to guard Thomas for a bit when no one else was having any luck. One Abu can wrap his head around the offense and around team defense (which he is still working on), he’s going to be a very nice piece to bring off the bench later this season.
Barber Showing Flashes
There were times tonight when you saw Barber at his best. Once on the break he had 2 defenders under the basket and could have attacked the rim, but he decided to kick out to a wide open Ralston Turner for 3. Turner stepped out, but the play was unselfish and the right one to make. Then later on, Barber drove the lane, drew help D, hung in the air and threw a wrap around pass to Anya for the dunk. It’s plays like this that show you what Barber could become if he stays the course. He has the talent and certainly the quickness, but it’s what he uses that for that will make the biggest difference in his future. Will he use it to set up teammates, to create open shots for others? Or will he use it try and score? I think that right there is a big part of his maturation. Last night I thought Barber was better. He put pressure on Wake and made some big plays. He got to the line and hit his FTs. Yes, there were still those lapses in judgement, rushed shots or strange passes that got picked off, but overall he’s minimizing those things. Remember, this kid is only a sophomore and is learning how to truely play the PG position from scratch. We State fans have high expectations of the kid, but he’s young right now. All you can ask for at this point is improvement in his style of play and hime striving to become more of a floor general. Someone who makes ZERO mistakes in the game and not 3 or 4. I think and hope we are seeing that. Barber finished with 14 points, 4 assists, 4 boards and 3 TOs. Overall, a step in the right direction for Cat.
Too many turnovers
Wake isn’t exactly some defensive dynasty out there, but the Pack still struggled to take care of the basketball. This is going to need to change going forward. Barber, Lacey and Turner combined for 9 of State’s 15 turnovers in this one and thats simply not acceptable for your guards if you’re going to have success.
Refs you s*ck
This game was just plain hard to watch, but if you’ve been around long enough you understand that this is par for the course in the ACC. The refs were whistle happy early, like usual, trying to get the game into the bonus where they can dictate flow and have a sense of game control. I’m not saying it was one-sided. They called 27 on Wake and 24 on State, I’m just saying it was plain awful and continues to ruin a very good product that is ACC basketball. Four players happened to foul out of this single game. Anya played 11 minutes and had 5 fouls. Dez Lee played 4 minutes and had 5 fouls. I’ve never seen anything like it and I hope to never again.
Still Growing, Still Improving
Look, while we do point out flaws and area for improvement in our postgame pieces, we want to make it clear that we are impressed with the young team starting out 7-1. They are one of the nation’s youngest groups and they continue to push through mentally and physically to get wins. I think you saw a good sign in that second half. The guys started to see the offense work. It got them good shots and they knocked them down. As they begin to trust in the offense more, they’ll become more efficient and harder to stop on that side of the court. This team is no where near a finished product, but when they get there (and Gott’s groups have had a tendency to peak in March), they’ll be fun to watch.
NC State is a Slight Underdog in ACC Opener vs. Boston College
NC State (4-2) will play their first ACC game of the 2023-24 season tomorrow on the road against Boston College (5-2), and they enter the game as slight underdogs. The Wolfpack are 1.5-point underdogs, and the Total is 150.5.
- NC State is 0-2 Straight Up as underdogs
- BC is 4-1 Straight Up as favorites.
- NC State is 2-4 Against the Spread.
- BC is 4-3 Against the Spread
- The Total has gone Under in 2 games for NC State, Over in 3 and Pushed in 1.
- The Total has gone Under in 3 games for Boston College and Over in 4.
- NC State is 6-4 in their last 10 games against BC Straight Up.
- NC State is 4–6 Against the Spread in their last 10 games against BC.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 games, and Under in the other 5.
#5 NC State 70 Vanderbilt 62: BOX SCORE (with notes)
The 5th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team improved to 8-0 tonight, defeating Vanderbilt 70-62 in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.
- Saniya Rivers scored 20+ points for the 2nd time this season, scoring 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. She also chipped in 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
- River Baldwin posted her first double-double of the season. She scored 12 points and grabbed 10 boards.
- Aziaha James has now scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games, scoring 14 points tonight, shooting 6 of 10 from the field and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
- Freshman Zoe Brooks led the Pack in steals (4) and assists (4).
- NC State didn’t shoot well, making only 39% of their shots. Fortunately, they held Vandy to 34.3% shooting.
The Wolfpack will host Illinois State on Sunday at 2pm.
NC State Stat Leaders Heading into the ACC Opener vs Boston College
This Saturday, NC State heads to Boston College for the now-annual early ACC opener. The Pack will face off against the Eagles at 4pm on ACC Network. Here is where the team is statistically after 6 games.
- Casey Morsell leads NC State in scoring with 14.5 ppg.
- The Pack has 4 double-digit scorers this season. Morsell (14.5), Jayden Taylor (13.3), DJ Burns (13) and DJ Horne (11.2)
(Last season State had 4 double-digit scorers as well. Terquavion (17.9), Joiner (17), Burns (12.5) and Morsell (11.8))
- After their top 4 scorers there is a big dip. Parker comes in at 6.8, O’Connell at 6.3, and Middlebrooks at 5.5 ppg.
(Last season Jack Clark was 5th on the team in scoring at 9 points and Mahorcic was at 8.7. However, both guys missed a large chunk of the season.)
- Burns is leading NC State in rebounding this year at 5.3 per game. Diarra is next with 5.3 (but is currently hampered by an ankle injury.)
- O’Connell is leading NC State in assists with 3.3 per game, and Burns is up next with 2.5. PG DJ Horne is only averaging 2.
- LJ Thomas and Mike O’Connell are tied in leading the team at .15 assists per minute.
- Jayden Taylor is leading NC State in 3pt %, shooting an outstanding 45.8%, while Morsell is up next at 34.6%. Horne is close behind at 33%.
(LJ Thomas is shooting 50% from 3, but only has 2 attempts.)
- Burns is leading the bigs, shooting 56.5% from the floor, while Middlebrooks is close behind at 54.2%. Dennis Parker Jr is coming in at 45.2%.
- For the guards, it’s Casey Morsell leading the way at 44.6% from the floor, while O’Connell is next up at 43.4%. Taylor is shooting 42.4%, and DJ Horne is struggling a bit, shooting just 34.8% from the field.
- Jayden Taylor is turning the ball over the most at 1.8 times per game, while Burns is next at 1.7. Morsell is at 1.5 and O’Connell is at 1.2. DJ Horne has been doing a good job of protecting the basketball, turning it over just .3 times per game.
NC State 52 Ole Miss 72: Box Score (with notes)
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team lost it’s second straight game tonight, losing 52-72 on the road at Ole Miss in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge. Below is the Box Score with some notes below.
- Ben Middlebrooks posted a double-double, with 13 points and 12 boards. To be honest, Middlebrooks was the only bright spot in this game.
- Casey Morsell was the only other player to score in double figures (12 points), but it wasn’t pretty, shooting 5 of 14 from the field.
- One of the poorest statistical shooting performance I can remember.
- NC State shot 31.8% from the field and 12% from three (3-25).
- The Wolfpack’s DNA on defense is turning over their opponent, and they were unable to do so tonight, turning over the Rebels only 7 times.
- For comparison, the Wolfpack turned it over 13 times, giving them a Turnover Margin tonight of -6.
- Heading into tonight, they averaged a Turnover Margin of +7.8.
- Ole Miss scored 13 points off of turnovers, compared to NC State’s 4.
- This is the first time this season that NC State failed to force their opponent to commit at least 10 turovers.
- NC State was -25 when D.J. Burns was on the court, which was the worst on the team.
- NC State was +3 when L.J. Thomas was on the court, and +2 when Ben Middlebrooks were on the court. They were the only two players in the positive.
- Thomas and Middlebrooks should have earned themselves some more playing time going forward.
- Ole Miss’ length was problematic for the Wolfpack, blocking 9 of their shots.
There will be more analysis on this game coming tomorrow.