NC State led Duke by 7 going into the half on Saturday afternoon. They were playing great defense, Cat Barber was the best player on the floor and they were 6-9 from beyond the arc. Gottfried’s group was doing everything they needed to do to down the Blue Devils.
Things changed in the second half. Duke got red hot, Barber was slowed by a leg injury and Abu got into foul trouble. This propelled Duke to a masterful second half that saw them shoot 70% from the field and end up out-rebounding NC State 31-28. Here are our takeaways from last nights loss.
– Gottfried had these guys ready. It took them a few possessions to get comfortable playing against Duke’s extended zone, but you could tell right off the bat that they knew exactly what they wanted to do. They worked hard to get the ball inside the zone to the high post and then work from there. Abu and Cody Martin both did great work from this position and it was a real reason State took their early lead. When Abu got in foul trouble and they were forced to put Freeman there, things got dicey. While Freeman is a very good player, he does not offer much when he catches the ball at the high post. This hurt the Pack and was a reason they went a bit stagnant at times in the 2nd half.
– Cat was never the same after he was kneed by Plumlee early in the 2nd half. Barber was masterful in this game. He was quick enough to get away from the double teams and was knocking down nearly every shot he took in the first half, but after that small injury Cat didn’t score another point all game. That was a huge blow and was another reason for State’s second half demise.
– Defense has got to be better. Grayson Allen had 28 points and Brandon Ingram scored 25. Those two guys killed the Pack. Allen is a true talent and can score from anywhere on the court, but he’s best when going to the rim. One major problem was penetration. The Wolfpack could not keep their guys in front of them and it caused all kinds of havoc. When Allen and Kennard starting putting pressure on the D by driving, there was no one who stepped up. Now, they are good, quick guards with good body control, but they are by no means too quick to stay in front of. State desperately needs to figure out how to play in games like this with Mav Rowan. He hit some big shots early, but his defense really puts pressure on the rest of the team. Too often his man is getting by him and causing the dense to help and shift, and usually giving up an open shot. This was huge in the second half and something Gottfried needs to find a fix for. But it wasn’t just Rowan. Even Cody Martin was having trouble checking his man. You know that they want to contest shots, but they need to do so under control. This team is notorious for closing-out out of control and allowing a pump fake to take them out of position.
Then there was Brandon Ingram. NC State worked real hard in getting the Kinston native to Raleigh, but in the end Coach K landed him and man was he good. Ingram is such a tough matchup. He is tall, nimble and has great touch. He can shoot and score from just about anywhere on the court. He was obviously going to be a problem for the Wolfpack, but we didn’t think he would be this much of one. The thing with Ingram is that while he is a mismatch on offense, you can punish him in the post on D. But Duke didn’t let that happen. They were in a lot of zone and when they weren’t they always had Ingram on someone who couldn’t hurt him as bad offensively. These small things are the reason Coach K is the best coach in the history of college basketball and a major reason Duke won this game.
– Rebounding wasn’t great. State had a big advantage on the boards coming in, but it was the Blue Devils who won the battle. Abu only had 5 and Anya with just 4. Those numbers need to be better. In fact, NC State needs to light a fire under Beejay Anya. I’m not sure what’s up with him, but he looks lost out there a lot of the time. He is too talented to be just a body on the floor. He only had one block, 4 boards and 4 points in 19 minutes. Every single one of those numbers are too low. It seems like a confidence problem right now, but if State wants to be a major factor in the second half of the ACC season, Anya needs stop playing soft and get to work.
– Overall, Wolfpack fans should be proud. Duke may had lost 3 in a row coming into this game, but they are probably one of the most talented offensive teams in the country. State’s offense and defense looked great in the first half, and it looked great against Pitt and UNC. This team is trending up. They just need to keep grinding. Keep staying the course, and start getting a little more from a few guys. If that happens then you’ll see this team finish out the season strong.
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.