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OUR TAKE: On NC State’s 4 OT win over Nebraska

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NC State played 60 minutes of basketball on Wednesday night, eventually outlasting the Cornhuskers 104-100 in a 4OT thriller. Here is our take on the hard-fought win…

  • Dereon Seabron, our savior
    What a performance for the 6’7 sophomore guard. Just when you think you’ve seen is all from this kid, he comes out and puts up a 39 point, 18 rebound showing. Without Seabron, this game isn’t close. He was 11-22 from the field and 17-20 from the line. And the crazy thing is that they knew what he was going to do. Seabron didn’t hit a single outside shot in this game. Nebraska sat back and dared him to shoot, but he kept on pressing the issue, driving to the hoop, attacking the rim, and finishing with either hand.

    You really can’t say enough about how much improvement this kid has shown in just 2 seasons. When he committed, we made a bold prediction that his ceiling was becoming Julius Hodge 2.0, and it’s looking like he’s already approaching that level. He’s knocking down FTs at a 76% clip, so his shot is coming along. If he can start knocking down open jumpers then he becomes an All-ACC level talent and a sure-fire pro prospect. NC State needed all 39 points from him in this one and they’ll be relying on him heavily going forward.

  • Dowuona showing consistent improvement
    Game by game, Dowuona is slowly becoming a force in the middle for NC State. 3 games ago he opened eyes with 7 rebounds. Then 2 games ago he went for 10 points on 5 of 5 shooting and tallied 6 blocks. Then last night he put up 7 boards and 8 blocks. As you can see, he’s starting to fill out the stat sheet, and that’s on top of all of the shots he’s altering and not getting stats for. Nebraska’s big man, Walker, is no slouch, and although he had 12 points in almost 50 minutes of play, he wasn’t really a big factor in their offense. Mostly that was because Dowuona was manning the middle and forcing him to pass out. If the sophomore big can keep this up, NC State may be able to compete against teams with quality bigs, and that was thought to be impossible when Bates went down in game 1.
  • What’s going on with Thomas Allen?
    Allen was suspended in game 1 for playing in an unsanctioned summer league game, he then was held out of game 2, but played 22 minutes against both Central Connecticut and Texas Southern, which sandwiched a game where he played just 12 minutes vs OK State. In this one, he was noticeably absent for the entire game until the 3rd OT when Hellems fouled out. What gives?

    Well, Keatts said in the post-game that he is dealing with some foot issues, but do we really buy that? Or is he falling out of favor with the coaching staff? Who knows, but with Breon Pass struggling as the backup PG, and Cam Hayes not meeting expectations as a PG, Allen should be playing a bigger role on this team. In his 8 minutes last night, he finished with 5 points and 3 rebounds on 1 of 1 shooting. It’s obvious that Pass and Smith (both freshmen) need some time to get acclimated to college basketball, and as they do, this team should be relying a little more on Allen who could potentially be one of their better perimeter scorers if he’s locked in.

    I will say that he looked a little apathetic when coming in after sitting almost the whole game, so I’m guessing we don’t have the whole story here. However, he’s a senior and Keatts needs some veterans if he’s going to win games in the ACC. We hope to see more of Allen going forward.

 

  • The press is biting the Pack
    We all know that Keatts loves to press, it’s in the DNA of his entire approach, but man does it come back to bite this team from time to time. Too many times, if a team breaks the press, they are getting easy buckets on the other end and putting Dowuona in a bad position of having to defend a 2 on 1 break. Then with NC State up 1 and 4 seconds on the clock, Keatts decided to press up. Terquavion Smith was forced to switch on a screen, putting him in a bad position to stop a streaking McGowan, who he ended up fouling. This could have and should have cost NC State the game. But why?

    Why not pick up 3 quarter court, allow a full-court heave, or give you guys a chance to stay in front of guards who no doubt are going to be coming down the court full speed? This was obvious and we were criticizing the decision when State came out of the timeout and set up. Of course, it ended up biting them, and they almost lost the game.

    Keatts had some blunders in this one, but the overuse of the press is something that has been happening all season and something he remains committed to no matter the situation. We don’t criticize Keatts much, but we will do just that on this call. Know your personal and be able to adjust. It worked out in this one, but hopefully it’s a learning experience for this staff going forward.

  • The Jericole Hellems roller coaster ride continues
    Hellems finished with 15 points, 7 boards and, 4 assists. With that stat line, you’d think he had a great game. However, if you watched, this is a guy who is still struggling in a big way. He was 5-17 from the floor (29%) and 2-8 from 3pt range (25%). This is the guy who was supposed to be the team’s leader and the guy we could count on to pace the Pack in scoring. So far, he’s been extremely inconsistent. He’s had some great games and then some games where he just looks completely void of confidence offensively. We think he’ll eventually find his footing, but man, this team can’t afford Hellems to shoot sub 40% from the floor.
  • Cam Hayes continues to look unsure of his role
    State needs Hayes to be the court leader, their PG, and one of their consistent scorers. So far he’s struggled to be any of those things. He did have 13 points and 4 rebounds but also didn’t have a single assist. He was 5-13 from the field and 0-5 from 3pt range. He’s just a sophomore, but he’s way too talented to be struggling like he is. He’s averaging just 2.4 assist per game, which as your lead guard, isn’t going to cut it. If he was hitting his shots from outside it would be easy to dismiss some of these shortcomings and accept him for what he is, but he’s only shooting 19% from out there this season.

    Hayes has the talent to be a factor for this team, but at this point, it seems like he’s simply out of position to take advantage of his skill set. He was recruited as a PG and he’s playing PG for this team, but to call a spade, a spade, he’s not a PG. He’s a shooting guard.

    He’s been trying to drive and play through contact, but you can tell he’s just not comfortable doing that. He gets tunnel vision on the drives, draws defenders, and then tosses up a short runner or jumper over multiple defenders. His body control going to the hoop has always been an issue, as he plays way too straight up for a PG. The dribble is too high, the posture is too high, and it’s keeping him from being able to get inside, absorb contact, and then assess the situation (shoot or dish). I’m not sure what the answer is here. Keatts doesn’t have a true PG he can count on, and Cam, I guess, is the best option. However, moving Seabron to the 1 and Cam to the 2 with Morsell at the 3, may end up being the best option for this ball club as ACC play begins.

  • Effort and fight were there all night long
    For all the flack people give Keatts, and for all the criticism we put on this team at times, there is no doubt that Keatts’ guys show up to play and fight all game long. This is an area where you have to give the head coach credit. Getting 19-year-olds to put it all on the line, night in and night out isn’t easy, but Keatts has done it throughout his time at NC State. This is one reason we’re bullish on Keatts’ future. We believe he’ll eventually adjust his style of play to fit this level of basketball, and when he does, it will couple with the grit and effort his teams are known for. This is when NC State will be able to finally get over the hump. These guys are conditioned and it shows. They played 60 minutes of basketball last night, most of which was played by just 6 or 7 guys, and there wasn’t a time during the game where I thought they were taking breaks. Credit Keatts on this.
  • Hey, they’re 6-1 heading into their first ACC Matchup
    Bates or no Bates, no one would have been mad at this team being 6-1, 7 games into the season. The Colgate win was a good win. The OK State loss likely won’t hurt them too bad, and the Nebraska win will hold up alright. Now onto the meat of the schedule. Over the next 3 games, State will have 2 tough tests. One vs. Louisville on Saturday in the ACC opener. State will likely be picked to win this one, but it’s not going to be easy. The Cardinals recently took #22 Michigan State to the wire before losing. Then they have a cupcake, but then it’s off to play #2 Purdue, who is a potential Final 4 team. We’ll learn a lot over the next week, but if State can come out of this stretch 2-1, then they’ll be set up to make some waves as ACC play really kicks in.

A pasta eatin', Wolfpack lovin' loudmouth from Raleigh by way of New Jersey. Jimmy V and Chuck Amato fanboy. All opinions are my own and you're gonna hear'em.

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Papajohn
Papajohn
1 year ago

Morsell’s ankle might toss a wrench in the plans. Hard to imagine a guy on crutches Wednesday will be a contributor Saturday.

NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts Postgame Press Conference After Coppin State: BULLETED

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NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media after the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State tonight. You can watch the press conference here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • First of all we’re going to continue to pray for Dusan Mahorcic.
    • I do not have an update at this point. He’s with our medical doctors and our trainers and I will know more hopefully in the next 24 hours.
    • We will  give you some type of an update when we get one.
    • I just wanted to keep him calm. It’s tough and you guys look at them as my players. I look at them as my  kids.
    • It is hard to see any of your kids or any of those guys in that situation.
    • I was there just to calm him down and let him know we are with him. I am obviously praying for him.
  • Our guards were really special  tonight.
    • There were 3 great guards on the floor because Sam Sessoms [of Coppin State] was pretty good  also.
    • It was really good to see Jarkel Joiner bounce back after not having a great game against Pitt.
    • Terquavion Smith was a pro’s pro tonight.
      • He did a little bit of everything, he defended, he scored  the basketball, he passed the basketball.
  • We didn’t feel like we played well in the Pitt game and we wanted to come in here, have a better showing, and play both ends of the floor.
  • I’ll get a thousand  questions about Reynolds Coliseum and we should play every game in here, but don’t send those  questions to me, send them to somebody else, but it’s a great venue and it was a great night.
    • I’m really appreciative of our fans for showing up.
    • It was an electric night. I thought the energy was great. We had a lot of fun.
  • The ‘STATE’ jerseys looked great, I thought they were  outstanding.
    • Hopefully we can see them again, maybe they’re not just a 1-game deal.
  • During the game, I thought we had a good 1st half, but we didn’t close the 1st half the way I wanted to.
  • We came out, and I  thought we were playing a lot better in the 2nd half, and then unfortunately with Dusan Mahorcic’s  situation it took the air out of us a bit, but we closed the game.
  • I’m happy the way Ernest Ross played today.
  • They [Coppin State] did a good job getting back in transition.
    • A lot of Casey Morsell’s shots have come when he was running the floor and getting out in transition.
    • They stayed at home.
    • The reason we got so many open looks to our post guys when we rolled was because they stayed with our shooters a lot.
  • I’ll take them [Joiner & Smith]. I don’t want to trade them, so I’ve got to say I’ll take them. I’m keeping them. I’m not  throwing them in, so I’m keeping those guys.
    • They are good and tonight they were electric. They were really good.
    • Every run that Coppin made they were there to answer it.
    • Here is what we do in practice with those guys.
      • I need them to play against each other because they challenge each other to become  better, but I also have to develop some type of chemistry with them.
      • So early on in the season, it was those 2 guarding each other, and they made each other better.
      • In the end, I have now switched it so they have to play together, so they have a better understanding and feel on how to play together.
  • Coppin is a team that is really dangerous. People from the other side won’t have name recognition, but you look at the Power Five and the bigger schools they have played, that is what has been great.
    • Georgetown was an overtime game, maybe multiple overtime games, and the Maryland game was tough.
    • He [Juan Dixon] has done that against all competition. I am happy for Juan.
      • I remember him back when I was at Hargrave. I sent Lonnie Baxter to Maryland who played with Juan and I have seen him since he was a really young kid.
  • One of the best kids I could have ever recruited [Joiner], especially the point guard position.
    • He didn’t have to tell me. I don’t know if he went  home that night [After Pitt].
    • Obviously, he probably went in and took 2,000 shots that night or more.
  • The #1 thing these kids are here for is their education.
    • Today was the last day of class, meaning we are going into exams, so we have to figure out a good balance of when to practice.
    • Right now our priorities shifted to make sure the guys finish out the semester strong, and take care of their academics. It is a great balancing act.
  • You gotta let me get past tonight, they’re [Miami] good, very talented.
    • I haven’t watched Miami at all, but I do know name recognition.
      • I know Isaiah Wong seems like he’s been around for 7 years, and he’s played great.
      • I’ll get a chance to watch them starting late tonight and early tomorrow.
      • They’re  talented.
      • Jim Larrañaga has done a great job with his team, it’ll be a tough road game for us, as all of them are.
  • Our guards did a great job of controlling the game, thats the maturity that I’m looking for.
    • I’ve got a Senior that’s been around a long time, in Jarkel.
    • I’ve also got a guy that is an elite scorer, who a lot of the conversations I’ve had with him are: ‘control the game, finish the game, be efficient down the  stretch, and don’t settle.’
      • He did a great job of not just taking deep 3’s, even though he took the last one.
      • He drove the basketball and we got to the free throw line.
  • Amazing. It’s not just NC State, you could almost make an argument that it’s America’s team, the ‘83 run was great.
    • It feels like every time you see something about them, I have to stop what I am doing just to read. It gets your heart beating a little bit.
    • It’s a great team with great folks, it was a great coach.
    • We’re excited…we’re gonna bring them back.
      • I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you that, but I think they’re supposed to come back in February to honor those guys and I think that’s the right thing to do…and if we can bring them back every week we should.
      • I think there were a few here tonight, and I’m glad our guys played well enough where our guys respect what those guys did.
  • You know he’s played so well and other people will say, you know, well he’s only averaged 16 points per game, you know the NBA scouts, they know he can score the basketball.
    • They wanted to see him pass the basketball, so I think he’s doing a really good job.
      • He’s either 1st or 2nd in the ACC in assists.
      • We’re seeing a young man grow up, and by the way, he’s saying to you guys: ‘Hey I can score if I need to, I just wanna show you I got a little bit more in my bag.’
      • But he’s really matured, you know he’s a kid.
        • And you know one of the reasons why he’s back is because he’s a kid and he enjoys his teammates.
      • You know when you saw Dusan go down, you know, I think he was affected more than anybody.

         

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Dusan Mahorcic Suffers Knee Injury vs. Coppin State

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NC State Center Dusan Mahorcic suffered a gruesome looking knee injury tonight in the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State in Reynolds Coliseum.

From what I’ve heard, Mahorcic suffered an injury to his kneecap, but the severity of his injury is unknown at this time. A kneecap injury can visually be a disturbing sight, and the NC State squad, especially Terquavion Smith, who had a good look at it, were emotionally moved in concern.

We will have to wait to see how long Mahorcic is out, but the need for DJ Burns to be able to play more minutes just became much more important. Also, Ernest Ross, who has always had a high ceiling, is going to need to grow up fast if Mahorcic is out for an extended period of time.

We are praying for you Dusan! Get well soon Big Fella!

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball’s: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: Highlight Reel & Condensed Game

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NC State defeated Coppin State 94-72 in Reynolds Coliseum tonight. You can check out the Box Score here. Below is the Highlight Reel & Condensed Game from the ACC Digital Network.

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: BOX SCORE

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NC State improved to 8-2 on the year, defeating Coppin State 94-72 tonight in Reynolds Coliseum.

Only 2 Wolfpack players scored in double figures, and it was none other than the dangerous tandem of Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner.

Smith led the team in points and assists, with 33 & 7 respectively. Smith wax clicking tonight, shooting 12-21 from the field, and 6 of 12 from three.

Joiner bounced back from a poor shooting performance against Pitt, scoring 29 points, shooting 11-21 from the field, and a blazing 5-7 from three.

Jack Clark had a poor shooting night, hitting only 1 of 7, but he managed to impact the game in every other way. Clark had 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.

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