NC State is now 5-1 after their 90-81 win over Louisiana Tech, who Ken Pom was rating as a Top-100 team. So yeah, this was a good win for this NC State team, who itself is now ranked 60th overall by Ken Pom. Here is ‘Our Take’…
- Welcome back, Jericole Hellems
Man, it’s good to see Hellems get hot. The senior came into the game shooting around 25% from the field, in a season where the Pack was leaning on him to be their scoring leader. This was concerning. These concerns, at the moment, seem to be behind us. Hellems went off for 31 points and was unconscious from 3 point range. He finished 10-19 from the field and was 6-9 from 3.
- Ebe Dowuona, you have our attention!
After losing Manny Bates, Keatts was forced to rely on a sophomore who played about 5 minutes per game last year and to be honest, things were looking bleak over the first 4 games. Duowana was playing hard, but he just looked a little lost out there. The last few games things have looked different. Against Texas Southern, Ebe set a career high with 7 rebounds. He followed that up in this one with a career high 10 points and 6 blocks. Slowly but surely, he’s starting to make an impact for this team.
- Interior defense still struggling
Although we just got done telling you how well Ebe Dowuona played, NC State still is having problems stopping bigs who can score. Kenny Lofton Jr, the La Tech big man, scored at will vs the Pack. He finished with 36 points despite being 6’7. Now, this guy is LARGE and uses his body well, but State needs to find a way to stop guys like this. Dowuona and Gibson can handle thinner bigs, but guys with some beef on them seem to just bully them down low and get easy buckets. Come ACC time, they’ll be facing guys who are built like men, and if this continues, State is going to be giving up big games on the regular to post players. They either need Dowuona to figure it out, or they need to start sending help down low (which will open up 3s for opposing teams).
- Cam Hayes trending the right way
Hayes, after struggling a bit in the early games, seems to have found his stride. Coming off a great 2nd half vs. Texas Southern, the sophomore PG played well again, finishing with 14 points, 5 assists and just 1 turnover. He’s playing more physical and working on getting into the lane to make plays. This is opening up shots on the perimeter, and in this one, State was hitting. Hayes is a huge part of this team, and needs to produce if they want to win. This was another step in the right direction.
- Perimeter defense looks strong
Hayes, Morsell and Seabron have been doing a great job limiting easy shots from the perimeter and lately a lot of it has been because they have been keeping their men out of the lane. La Tech shot just 34% from beyond the arc and it was a big reason they won this game. Keatts seems to have put together a formitable defensive backcourt and, so far, it seems like it’s having a real positive impact. Sure up the interior defense, and this team is going to be tough to score on all season long.
I guess we’re all now wondering, just how good is this Wolfpack team? Are they just beating up on bad teams or are they a young team coming into their own? We’ll start to get more answers when they take on Nebraska this Wednesday and follow it up with the ACC opener vs Louisville on Saturday.