NC State falls to 0-3 in the ACC with the loss last night to Wake Forest, 77-74.
In what was another roller coaster ride of a game, NC State fought hard to come back, but eventually fell short to a Deacon team that used their size and their depth to outpace the Pack.
With Abu and Anya battling foul trouble, NC State was forced to go small, allowing Wake big man Devin Thomas to have a big night. Thomas dropped 20 points and grabbed 11 boards in the win.
Barber Becoming a Leader
For State it was another huge game for Cat Barber. The junior PG is getting better and better as the season goes on and this may have been his best overall performance. If you’re watching closely, Cat is becoming a team leader. He’s still scoring at a great clip (26pts) but tonight he started to distribute. His 7 assists were a season high, and honestly, the kid is doing all he can to help this team get an ACC win. He just needs a little help.
Where is the help?
State is desperate for some scoring help. They were hoping to get a lot more from Caleb Martin, but he’s been ice cold. Over the last 8 games he is 19-76 (25%) from the field and 12-51 (23.5%) from beyond the arc. That from a guy who is shooting the most 3’s on the team (over 7 per game).
Then there’s the freshman Mav Rowan who has also stepped in to attempt to help with the scoring. He’s also been very streaky, with numbers prior to ACC play that mirrored Martin’s. However, since league play started, Rowan has been a decent option. The 6’7 guard is shooting 10-29 (35%) from the field and 7-19 (37%) from 3 point range.
Outside of those two guys, NC State simply does not have a consistent scorer. Abu has been decent this season, but his offensive game has been nowhere near where many expected it to be coming into the season.
This team is desperately missing Terry Henderson (who was hoping to be back by mid January, is now looking like he wont’ be back for another month.)
Time to turn to Cody?
With Cat Barber doing his part and NC State still struggling, it’s time to make some adjustments. The team has some glaring holes. Obviously, scoring is an issue, but shooting more contested 3’s isn’t the answer. NC state needs to start allowing their offense to create opportunity. They also need to start defending better. Both of these issues could be worked out by moving Cody Martin into a starting role.
While Caleb will still see minutes, this team can ill-afford to allow him to work out his shooting kinks in the middle of the ACC season. Cody, meanwhile, has had his intangibles on display since the start of league play. He is 8-16 (50%) from the field has 9 assists and 16 rebounds over the 3 games. Add in the fact that he’s NC State’s best defender and that he’s done all of this while playing only 24 minutes per game. Outside of Cat, Cody has been the most efficient player on the court as of late. He has earned his minutes and allowing him to become a more central figure on this basketball team is definitely warranted and certainly worth experimenting with.
Bigs got to produce
Simply put, NC State needs more from their bigs. Abu has been producing with double-digit scoring in all but 3 games this season, but they just need more from him. I know asking a sophomore to carry a scoring load isn’t something you’d love to do, but Freeman and Anya just aren’t build to put up points. This means that Abu needs to attack more and not stop. Foul trouble has hurt him, but when he’s in the game he needs to be in attack mode. He needs to polish his post game and his release and he needs to become the Abu we saw at the end of last season. He has the skills to be a monster on the blocks, and right now State needs him more than ever.
Meanwhile, Freeman has been playing his role. He’s rebounding, playing tough, and putting up solid numbers. The problem is, when Abu gets in foul trouble and he and Anya are on the court together, State really has no option but to try to score with their guards. Freeman is limited by his size, but has still done his job. Anya on the other hand, is struggling. The junior big man just isn’t ready to a scoring force on the blocks. He has 8 points over the last 3 games and while he rebounded the ball well in the first two outings, last nights 3 just won’t cut it for a team that needs to rely on him.
Showing Fight…Turning the corner?
While many fans left early when the Pack was down by 14 with just 3 minutes to play against Louisville, the team fought back and had it to a one possession game. Again last night against Wake, they got down big, only to fight back and make this one a one possession game. This team has shown short spurts of being very efficient and very dangerous when they are focused and playing together. Unfortunately, these were games State could have won and they now find themselves 0-3. This might be a big hole to dig out of, but with wins over FSU and an upset over UNC this Saturday, many of the early season woes could be forgiven.
NC State 84 BC 78: BOX SCORE
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.