- You can’t win when you let a team shoot 78% in a half. Carolina didn’t miss, leading to State getting just 3 defensive rebounds in the 2nd half. You can point to the defense all you want, and you’re right, it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t 78% bad. Maye was unreal. He made a bunch of bunnies, but the also hit a number of very difficult shots with hands in his face. I thought State’s biggest mistake was that after it became apparent that Maye wasn’t going to miss, that they didn’t start getting very physical with him on drives. I don’t mean hurting the guy, I mean making it clear that if he’s going to attack the rim with that much aggressiveness, he’s going to feel it. Maye’s inability to knock down FTs in the first meeting helped the Pack close out that game. They didn’t give him the chance to blow this one. Also of note is that the 78% in the second half was a UNC record.
#UNC’s 78.1% shooting in the second half is a new school record for FG% in a half in ACC play.
— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) February 10, 2018
- Yurtseven didn’t deliver. You can’t pin a game like this on one guy and we won’t, but Omer Yurtseven should have been State’s X-factor today. Instead, he only played 19 minutes, scored 10 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Meanwhile, his counterpart Maye had a career day with 33 pts and 17 boards. Toughness and physicality is one area where Yurtseven needs improvement and Carolina exploited that yesterday. It’s likely this is Yurt’s last year in Raleigh, but an off-season of serious weight training would likely make him a lottery pick. UNC’s game plan was to bump, push and body him, and it worked, he wasn’t on his game.
- Torin Dorn has become State’s most consistent player. Dorn had another great game, scoring 21 points and leading NC State with 3 steals. His aggressiveness and ability to move without the ball are huge. He also did a good job keeping Theo Pinson quiet. Dorn has been the team MVP so far in our eyes thanks to both his production and his consistency in every aspect of the game.
- Where did Beverly go? Braxton Beverly came out red-hot. He hit his first three 3s and looked like he was in for a career day. But that was it. He hit a runner in the lane late in the 2nd half but it would have been nice to see State figure out how to get him more touches. But, it’s hard to really point a figure at anything offensively in this one. State shot nearly 55% from the floor and 54% from 3.
- Turnovers good, Turnovers bad. State forced 19 turnovers and had 12 steals against a UNC team that only turned it over twice vs Duke a few days earlier. That’s why they were in this game. So, those of you who are talking about how bad the defense was, you can’t go by shooting percentages alone. This Wolfpack team played very aggressive and rattled the Tar Heels. In fact, the NC State guards did a pretty good job of limiting the drives from the UNC guards. Now for the bad. Markell Johnson, whose play won the game for the Pack in their first meeting, was a little careless with the basketball. I mean, his line was good and he actually scored it really well, finishing with 12 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds. However, the 6 turnovers he had really stung. They allowed UNC to get out in transition and get some really easy baskets. Against a team like Carolina, you can’t give it away that many times.
- Where’s the ‘want-to’ on the boards? Against UNC, the one thing you know they are going to do and that is rebound. They aren’t a huge team, but they are one of the best in the nation on the boards. Luke Maye is a 6’8 former walk-on and isn’t all that athletic, so when you see him get 17 rebounds against you there is only one answer. He out-worked you. Plain and simple, NC State’s bigs got out-worked. Yurtseven, Freeman and Abu were punished by someone who just wanted it more. That’s sad to see. Not trying to take anything away from Maye, but if Abu or Yurtseven matched his intensity and physicality, there would be no way he even comes close to 17 rebounds. This has been a big problem all year for NC State that get’s masked by Yurt’s size. They are soft in the middle and expect their size to win rebounding battles. Boxing out is a true lost art in today’s game.
- Intensity and fight were there. This team will be ok. One thing you can say bout Keatts teams is that they don’t give up or give in. Just like in the first meeting, Carolina made their runs but NC State always answered. The team as a whole has played gutsy basketball, but you really need to call out 2 guys. When opponents make a run more times than not it’s Torin Dorn or Braxton Beverly who are hunting for the basketball and wanting to take the shot that gets their team back on track. Very good to see. This group has been playing extremely good basketball when the bright lights of a big game come on. Makes us believe they’ll be a very tough team down the stretch and one that will be a hard out in the ACC Tournament.
- Tough ones out of the way. Coming off the win over UNC two weeks ago and examining the remaining games, Ken Pom (statistical analyst) had the game at Virginia Tech and this home game vs UNC as NC State’s toughest remaning games. Every ACC game is tough, but NC State has winnable games from here on out. They need to come up big over this next week.