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NC State held on to beat Pittsburgh 79-74. Mark Gottfried wanted to see more effort out of his players and they indeed played with intensity and desire. What are some of the headlines from last night’s game?

Markell Johnson’s energy, defense, and playmaking influenced the game for NC State.

The freshman guard had a big night for NC State as he scored 8 points and recorded 7 assists. Defensively Johnson was outstanding as he took away passing lanes, pressured the ball, and contested shots well. Mark Gottfried could not keep him off the court as his play earned 33 minutes of playing time. NC State’s offense hummed with Johnson penetrating the Pitt defense to find open players. The Wolfpack have a unique advantage when both Johnson and Smith are on the court together as both players find the paint with their quickness. One highlight of the game included a missed shot that saw Markell fly out of nowhere for the tip slam put back! The Pack will be just fine with Markell running the show once Dennis Smith is gone.

Omer Yurtseven showed toughness gathering 16 rebounds and scoring 12 points.

Finally, Omer had an impact on an ACC game in the way he used his length to attack the glass. The Wolfpack outrebounded the Panthers 44-30 because of Yurtseven’s effort on the glass. The seven-footer also knocked down two huge free-throws at the end of the game to help preserve the win. Another positive for Omer was his willingness to attack the rim as he had some nice finishes in traffic. Yurtseven needs to get stronger and stop bringing the ball down once he gets a rebound; however, it was an improvement. Last night’s game can be a confidence builder for the skilled big man and should be a building block for the rest of the year.

Defensively NC State showed improvement but still struggled to guard the three-ball.

The Pitt Panthers have a deadly three-point attack as they spread teams out with their shooters. We knew NC State would struggle to guard Michael Young a big man with three-point range and that was the case. Pittsburgh knocked down 12-28 from the three-point line. The Pack showed improvement by pressuring the ball on the perimeter and making it difficult on Jamel Artis. NC State has to be pleased with holding Artis to just 16 points on 5-15 shooting. Dennis Smith led by example defensively as Mark Gottfried gave him the challenge of guarding Artis and he did a solid job!

Maverick Rowan and Terry Henderson picked up the Wolfpack offensively.

Maverick Rowan knocked down 6-9 threes as he caught fire on the night. Rowan’s teammates did an excellent job at setting him up as well as feeding him once they saw that look in his eye. Terry Henderson had a great game as well scoring 21 points and knocking down four threes. These two players saved the Pack due to Dennis Smith not having his typical scoring night. Not only was Smith off but Abu played just 13 minutes due to fouls.

The Pack finally get off the shneid by beating Pittsburgh. Standing 2-4 in ACC play as they head into Saturday’s game aginst Wake Forest. NC State fought their way back in the second half when it appeared that Pittsburgh was one possession from putting the game away. The Wolfpack refused to quit and despite some shaky execution at the end walked away with the victory. The Wolfpack returns to the court this Saturday at 2 o’clock facing Wake Forest with coverage on the ACC Network.

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Tarhater
Tarhater
7 years ago

Rowan, Yurtseven and Johnson deserve game balls. Dennis Smith,jr touched the ball 18 times in the last 5 minutes of the game which produced 2 turnovers, 2 foul shots (important) and 14 neutral exchanges. Said another way, his touches were net negative down the stretch. The offense runs better with Johnson running the show. DS,jr is too much dribble isolation.

Jules
Jules
7 years ago
Reply to  Tarhater

It is also fairly difficult to dribble penetrate into a 3-2 zone, there are going to be many times when DSJR attacking the basket is the best option, but it was nice to see that we did not just settle for that on every single play.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago
Reply to  Tarhater

We will be a better team next year if all we loose is DSJR.

yakima2k
yakima2k
7 years ago
Reply to  Tarhater

Johnson is a quality player with great potential, and he had a great game last night, but from a plus/minus and win shares perspective (or any other measure that doesn’t involve an arm chair and a TV) there’s just no comparison between him and DSJ. We are almost unquestionably worse with DSJ on the bench.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago
Reply to  yakima2k

Looks like you are in the minority concerning DSJR, YAK.

yakima2k
yakima2k
7 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

Thankfully internet commenters don’t make the decisions about playing time. You can count on our fan base to be self-defeating – it’s what we do best.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago
Reply to  yakima2k

I don’t know what planet you came from. Our self-defeating attitude is based on what we have seen on the field and court. Lucky for me when I was in school, we were one of the dominant team in football, basketball, and baseball in the ACC. I am still waiting on a revival. You can just keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

NC State Basketball

Bowling Green Transfer Guard Marcus Hill is on a Visit to NC State

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Bowling Green Transfer Guard Marcus Hill (6’4″/185) confirmed with me that he is currently on a visit at NC State.

Hill averaged 20.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Falcons this season. He earned 1st Team All-MAC honors. Even though he was only at Bowling Green one season, he had one of the best seasons in school history, scoring 698 points, which ranks 5th all-time in program history for a single season.

For his first two years of collegiate ball, Hill played for Southern Union State College (JUCO) in Alabama. In 2022-23, Hill earned 3rd Team NJCAA All-American honors, and ranked as the #32 overall Junior College prospect.

247Sports ranks Hill as a 4-Star Transfer Prospect, and the #78 overall player in the Transfer Portal, and the #11 Shooting Guard.

According to a source, the NC State Coaching Staff is extremely high on Hill, and they are recruiting him as a Point Guard.

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NC State Basketball

What did an ACC Title & Final Four Mean to NC State Legend Dennis Smith Jr.?

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What did an ACC Title & Final Four mean to NC State Legend Dennis Smith Jr.? The man who won the ACC Rookie of the Year Award in 2017 gave me a statement.

It means a lot. It means a lot to the university, the state of North Carolina and a lot more to my dad, grandma, and myself. They have been NC State fans since forever, so their excitement level was though the roof when they saw BOTH of our basketball teams shining like that. It was a great feeling!

2017 was Smith Jr.’s only year of College ball, averaging 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals. He earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors, and obviously, he earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team.

DSJ was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 9th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Smith Jr. just wrapped up his 7th season in the NBA. This was his 1st season with Brooklyn, playing in 56 games for the Nets. He averaged 6.6 points, 3.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, averaging 18.9 minutes per contest.

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s DJ Horne Named to Portsmouth Invitational All-Tournament Team

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NC State’s DJ Horne played in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament this weekend, and he was named to the All-Tournament Team.

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In 3 games, Horne averaged 14.3 points, shooting 41.5% from the field, and 30% from three.

Horne’s Portsmouth Partnership team made it to the finals, but lost to Jani-King 68-75.

The Portsmouth Invitational is an annual pre-draft camp that has been showcasing College Seniors to professional scouts since 1953.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Has Shown Interest in Utah Guard Transfer Deivon Smith

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NC State has reached out to Utah Transfer Guard Deivon Smith (6’0″/173).

Smith filled up the stat sheet every game this year, averaging 13.3 points, 7.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds, shooting 46.7% from the field and 40.8% from three for Utah. He earned All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention this season. Smith had 8 double-doubles and 1 triple-double this year.

Wherever Smith lands, this will be his 4th college. He started at Mississippi St., starting in 8 of the 33 games he played in, averaging 22.5 minutes per game. Smith went on to spend his next two seasons at Georgia Tech. Year 1 in Atlanta, Smith started in 5 of the 24 games he played in, averaging 19.7 minutes per game. In Year 2, he carved out more of a role, starting in 13 of the 24 games he played in for the Yellow Jackets, averaging a career high 24.8 minutes per game.

At Utah this year, Smith broke out and had a career year in every possible way.

NC State is familiar with Smith, offering him back when he was a 4-Star prospect out of Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia. Rivals ranked Smith as the #53 overall player nationally in the 2020 recruiting class. ESPN ranked him as the #5 player in the state of Georgia. 247Sports ranked him as the #11 Point Guard in his class.

 

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