NC State Wolfpack vs. #19 Clemson Tigers
Gametime: 9:00 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC
Last time out…
It’s kind of strange to see two ACC teams play each other twice in such a short window, but that’s going to be the case when the Pack faceoff against Clemson tonight in Raleigh.
The two just met on December 30th, with State falling 78-62 in their ACC opener.
Clemson had 5 guys in double figures and really just played a cleaner, more efficient basketball game.They shot the ball better (43.3% to 34.8%) and they really shared the basketball. They had 17 assists on 29 made FGs and only turned it over 9 times.
Meanwhile, the Wolfpack were throwing up bricks from long range (22.7%), only had 9 assists on 23 made FGs and turned it over 14 times. They did, however, out-rebound the Tigers (45 to 40) which is really the only positive takeaway for the Pack in their first meeting.
Clemson was led by their guards Marcquise Reed and Gabe Devoe who combined to go 11-28 from the floor and 4-11 from beyond the arc. Devoe got it started early with some deep 3s and Reed was dicing up the Pack’s defense all night long (team-high 5 assists).
Donte Grantham was a matchup problem for NC State in the first meeting. The versatile 6’8 senior scored 13 points and grabbed 9 boards, while 6’9 big, Elijah Thomas, backed him up with 10 points and 10 boards.
Overall, this was just a flat-out bad performance by NC State. Looking at Clemson’s stats, they didn’t really have a dominant game. They just defended really well, didn’t turn over the basketball and shot it decently.
Keys for NC State…
- Control pace. Last time out, Clemson really dictated the pace and made the Pack play a lot slower than they’d like. That threw off the NC State offense, leading to a lot of one on one play and poor decision making.
- Own the boards. Abu and Lennard Freeman both had really bad games in the first matchup. They combined to only play 28 minutes, score 11 points and bring down 7 rebounds. That is unacceptable for two seniors and they’ll need to correct that in this one. Abu looked a lot better vs. Duke and seemed to be getting back to attacking the basket and playing above the rim. That is where they need him in this one.
- Dorn and Batts need to show up again. These two were the difference makers in the Duke win on Saturday and it’s obvious that if they play well, NC State will be hard to beat. Against Clemson in game 1, this duo combined for 10 points on 2-15 shooting and turned it over 4 times. Dorn did grab 10 boards, but offensively he looked bad. Batts gives State a PG who can really push the pace and create havoc on defense. That is the type of guy who is going to frustrate Clemson and negate the advantage their guards had on the first go-round.
- Beverly needs to continue his play. Braxton has had a really good run lately. Over his past 4 games, he’s averaging 13 points, 6 assists and 2.7 TOs. This, coupled with his leadership at the end of the Duke game is a good sign that he’s starting to get comfortable and with comfort comes consistency. Crazy to say for a freshman who has only played 15 games in his college career. Last time out vs. Clemson he had a really good game, going 6-9 from the field and 3-5 from 3pt range for 15 pts.
- More Yurt. Omer played well against Clemson. He scored 12 points and gobbled up 10 rebounds. He’s been a pretty consistent force for Keatts in the middle. The Notre Dame game (4 points, 4 boards) seems to be the outlier, so look for him to have another big game against Clemson tonight.
- Share the basketball. You saw against Duke what this team can do when they play together. Clemson plays good defense and if oyu aren’t sharing the basketball they’ll beat you. As we stated, State only had 9 assists on 23 made FGs in the first meeting. Against Duke they had 17 assists on 34 made FGs. If they are about that 50% mark, then they’ll find success. The big output was thanks to an uptick in assists by Al Freeman and Lavar Batts.