Thanks to stellar performances from the NC State gaurds, the Pack was able to pull off a close W against a pesky Ramblers team. Dennis Smith Jr led the way with a team and personal career high 30 points, while Torin Dorn and Henderson continued their consistent strong play adding 20 and 19 points respectively.
State again struggled defensively, showing glimpses of smothering defense at times, but all too often having breakdowns leading to easy layups and open 3’s. The Ramblers jumped out to an early lead on the Pack to start the game both from poor defense and dead eye shooting from the beyond the arc. The Pack clawed back thanks to strong guard play and a bought of tough defense. Coming out of the half, it looked as if the Pack would pull away but just could not get consistent stops on the defensive end. The Ramblers fought their way back into the game, and even took the lead late in the second half. Fortunately , timely steals late in the game by Markell Johnson and Dennis Smith helped the Pack seal the win.
Gottfried was forced to run with a small lineup most of the game due to the Ramblers spread offense and their ability to shoot the ball. With Maverick Rowan out for the 4th straight game due to concussion protocols, the Markel, Dorn, Henderson, and Smith were barely able to get any time on the bench to rest. While the post play left alot to be desired, especially against an undersized opponent, the guards were absolutely magnificent in this one on the offensive end and gave us another glimpse of why many Pack fans remain excited for this team.
The Pack still have a long way to go on the defensive side of the ball and will need to get their more production out of the post players if they want to be successful in a stacked ACC. But a win is win and this was a good learning tool for our young team facing a spread offense full of shooters. We also saw just how dominant Smith can be on any given day. His play tonight was a sight to see yet for some reason it still feels as if we have yet to see his best play.
Stay tuned later for a full game breakdown on tonights game.