We all were hoping for a big win against #3 Kansas, but no one can be mad with the product the Wolfpack put on the floor today.
Sure, NC State lost by 6, but we learned that the Pack can compete with the nation’s best. Here is ‘Our Take’ on the close loss.
NC State showed that they are going to be competitors
The game being this close the whole way through was no fluke. This wasn’t a game where State was red hot, making everything they put up. This wasn’t a game where Terquavion Smith was pouring in crazy 3s all day long. State shot just 38% from the floor. This is a team that you can expect to shoot in the mid-40s to low-50s from the floor on most nights. So what you got was a little below-average offensive output from the Pack.
And defensively NC State looked very, very good. There were very few missed assignments. They were swarming everywhere. The help and recover was great, and Kansas really had to work for their points. The x-factor ended up being Grady Dick, the 6’8 freshman sharpshooter. There were a few times when they lost him, but for the most part all of his 3s were pretty well contested. It just so happened he went 6-12 from 3-point range.
Casey Morsell is becoming a star
Morsell was seen by most as a glue guy coming into the season. Someone who was going to defend well, give you a little offense, but mostly just be that do-it-all jack of all trades that gives you positive output across the board. Well, he’s been that, but he’s been so much more. Morsell is an absolute smothering defender on the ball, and he’s always in the right spot on help-side. And suddenly, he’s found his shot. He is now hitting 62% of the 3s on the season after going 5-8 in this one.
Oh, and he also filled up the stat line. He was 2nd on the team with 8 boards, had 2 assists and 2 steals. He finished with a team-high 21 points.
Give credit to Smith for adjusting at the half
This wasn’t the Terquavion Smith we were hoping for, at least not early on. He came out of the game gunning as you would expect in a nationally televised game. And no one should fault him for that, but the kid was off. He was forcing the issues and in previous years it would be a game where he just disappeared. However, Smith adjusted at halftime. He came out and didn’t shoot a single 3 in the second half. Instead, he let Morsell and Joiner take a little more control, and when he did attack, he did that off the bounce, getting to the rim and scoring or drawing contact. He also played a lot better on defense, especially on the help side. Oh and he finished with 19 points on the game, despite going 5-15 from the floor.
The bigs held their own
There were some positives and negatives from the NC State bigs. This was a tough matchup for them, with Adams being so mobile, but they did fine against him. They both defended the screen and roll pretty well, and they didn’t get out physicalled at any point of the game.
What we would have loved to see is a little more offense. They had the size advantage, but struggled to get it going offensively. I think both are getting their taste of high level college basketball. Lots of bodying and bumping is allowed in the post, so when you go up to score, you have to be ready for that. I think this is bothering Burns a little more than it’s bothering Mahorcic, but both need to be able to play through the contact and give NC State a few points from the block. That said, Mahorcic scored 4 points and snatched up a team high 9 boards, and Burns scored 8 and grabbed 5 rebounds.
NC State’s depth is in question
One thing that was clear. When State had to sub at any position other than center, there was a big drop off in production. Pass struggled once again and is battling some confidence issues it seems. Meanwhile, Ross isn’t putting himself in a position to make much of a difference offensively and seems to be getting pushed around a bit defensively. We didn’t see Greg Gantt or LJ Thomas, but both could start seeing some minutes if Pass and Ross don’t start showing some improvement with their minutes.
Because of this, it seemed as if NC State really wore down, down the stretch. They fought so hard, but they pressed a lot, played full-court defense, and had to really work on offense to get good shots. I’m worried about the type of energy they’ll have against Dayton/Wisconsin, tomorrow at 4 pm.
Overall, a great showing for Keatts and Company
Keatts was on his deathbed after last season. With his job in jeopardy this year, he only had Morsell surely coming back. Smith and Seabron were thought to be going pro and he had a bunch of transfers right after the year ended. What we saw on the floor today was a well-built team that is going to contend. With Smith back, Joiner in the mix and Morsell greatly improved, this team has one of the best backcourts in the ACC. Add in some flexibility at center, and you have a pretty good team.
Now, Keatts needs to choose his moments for technical fouls a little better, but aside from that, I think most fans really liked what they saw in this game and I’ll hold to my prediction that this team is either in the Top 25 or flirting with it at some point this season.
Kevin Keatts’ Postgame Press Conference After Butler Win: BULLETED
Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media for his postgame press conference after NC State’s 76-61 win over Butler last night. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.
- First of all, let’s talk about Butler a little bit.
- Thad [Matta] has done a really good job everywhere he’s been.
- We beat a good Butler team. They’re going to continue to grow. They’re going to continue to get better.
- We played extremely hard, and I only say that because that’s part of our culture, but we were able to do that on Day 3, and that says a lot about this team.
- Our young guys came in, played well, and gave us great minutes in Breon Pass, LJ Thomas, and Ernest Ross, and then I thought our veterans put us over the hump.
- Dusan Mahorcic and Jack Clark were really, really good.
- We’ve been led all weekend, really all year, by Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner, and when they didn’t have a huge scoring night, they found other ways to affect the game.
- When you look at Terquavion, he had 5 assists and 1 turnover, and they all played on the defensive end.
- I’m proud of my team. It’s a great tournament. It always has been.
- You’re fortunate if you can get out of here with one win. Two is great, and then three is over the top.
- I’m excited about our team as we continue to grow, and we’ll continue to get better.
- I love our team. I try not to look too far head. We’re just going to continue to work.
- My job with these guys is to get them locked into the next game.
- I’ve learned just to lock in, be positive, and take it one game at a time, and that’s what we’ll do.
- Well, everybody’s dangerous. What sparked me was that I watched Dayton and BYU, and it was a 23-point lead, and the lead was erased.
- We’re all playing on tired legs, and if you can find a way to get through this, one of the blessings, even though we didn’t want to lose to Kansas, one of the good things about it was that we were able to play a 10 o’clock game tonight.
- We got a little rest. It’s a great tournament because it prepares you for ACC, and it prepares you for the conference tournament, but it’s tough because you’ve got to play 3 great teams back-to-back-to-back.
- I’m proud of Manny [Bates]. Manny’s a tremendous kid.
- Obviously at NC State, he had some unfortunate injuries that slowed him down a little bit, but he’s a great kid and a really good basketball player.
- I love the team that we put together. We hit it really good with the transfer portal, and we got good people that have connected off the court.
- One of the things that helped us was taking a trip to the Bahamas in August. We were able to grow as a team.
- Every coach’s challenge when you have so many transfers is trying to figure out how to develop chemistry early.
- We’re a little ahead of the curve. We still have a long way to go in a lot of areas, but we’ve grown over the last 2 weeks.
- You play Kansas, the defending National Champions, tough enough to win, and you don’t win the game, will there be a letdown over the next couple of days?
- I don’t think we did. I thought we bounced back and beat 2 good teams, 2 good programs, by double-digits.
- I learned a lot about my guys in how we respond.
- Sometimes, it’s better to learn a lesson through a win. We learned a couple of lessons through the loss to Kansas, and we built on it.
- We also have 2 very efficient post guys.
- When you look up their stats, they can score the ball. D.J. Burns has had a good 2 days where he was unstoppable in the post. I thought he did some really good things.
- Late in games, I wanted to play through our post guys. We talked about getting more paint touches instead of settling for 3’s.
- When you look at tonight, we typically take anywhere from 25 to 35 three-pointers, and we only took 15, and a lot of that was because we wanted to establish our post guys.
- Our post guys tonight took 21 shots.
- I’m grateful he [Jack Clark] made the shot [big 3 to end scoring drought].
- I thought the willingness to make the pass is the biggest one, because the tendency during scoring droughts is to step up and make the big shot.
- The pass was just as good as the shot, but it was very important at the time.
- I wouldn’t say we got tight, but we relied on our defense a little bit.
- We got a little reckless with the basketball, but once we got our composure, we were able to make some plays.
- We conducted ourselves as professionals.
- We can make the argument that we played hard for 3 straight nights, and that’s hard to do.
- I love what our guys are building. They’re starting to coach each other. They’re starting to reward each other. I think that’s big.
- It’s going to help because you know you’re capable of doing it.
- We used our bench a little bit more tonight than we did in the 1st couple of games, and I thought those guys really came in and made a positive impact for us.
- We can have balanced scoring. I think everyone knows that we’ve got a really good set of guards, and I include Casey Morsell in that, that have led us in scoring all year long, but we’ve got some bigs that can really score the ball.
- Our guys are really starting to understand that and get them in positions. It took a while for us to realize that, even though we love to run a lot of ball screens, we’ve got to roll this guys into the post and make sure we play off of them.
- Also, the bigs are willing passers. You look at DJ, he made a couple of backdoor passes.
- Dusan was very effective.
- It’s really, really balanced when you have guard scoring and your post guys can score also.
NC State 76 Butler 61: ACCDN Highlight Reel
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team wrapped up an impressive showing down in the Bahamas last night, defeating Butler 76-61. You can check out the Box Score here. The ACC Digital Network’s Highlight Reel is below.
Men’s Basketball: NC State 76 Butler 61: BOX SCORE
The NC State Men’s Basketball team defeated Butler 76-61 tonight in the Bahamas, improving to 6-1. Below is the BOX SCORE.
The Wolfpack had 5 players score in double figures.
Once again, Point Guard Jarkel Joiner led the Pack in scoring, with 15 (4-11 FG).
Big fella DJ Burns was the player of the game for the Wolfpack, with 14 points, on 6 of 11 shooting from the field.
NC State’s other big man, Dusan Mahorcic, had 13 points (6-10 FG) and 6 rebounds.
What’s impressive about what Burns and Mahorcic did, is the fact they put up that kind of production against former Wolfpack Center Manny Bates.
Jack Clark chipped in 10 points (4-9 FG/2-4 3PT), and led the team with 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
Terquavion Smith had 10 points on yet another poor shooting night (4-14 FG), but he did lead the team with 5 assists (1 TO), and also snagged 5 rebounds.
The betting line was EVEN on this game, so it’s extremely impressive that NC State took the game by 15 points.
NC State out-rebounded Butler by 1, out shot the Bulldogs (44.6%/41.9%), had more assists (13/10), and scored 21 points off 14 Butler turnovers.
NC State Players Celebrate By Planting Their Flag on UNC Logo and Saying: ‘UNC…What Happened???’
The NC State Football Players had fun after beating their archrival UNC today, the Wolfpack took to the field with their flag in Chapel Hill.
Ben Finley, the 4th string Quarterback through much of the season, planted that bad boy in Kenan.
— NC State Football (@PackFootball) November 26, 2022
Safety Cyrus Fagan, as fiery as ever, was running the field with the flag.
Cyrus Fagan, celebrating. pic.twitter.com/HsQ2IzTMLz
— Ethan McDowell (@ethanmmcdowell) November 26, 2022
The exclamation point on the win. pic.twitter.com/qotngvWbx0
— The Wolfpacker (@TheWolfpacker) November 26, 2022
Derrek Pitts, Jordan Houston and Devin Carter planted that flag right on the UNC logo at midfield.
— Ryan Henkel (@RyanHenkel_) November 26, 2022
You’ve got to love the sass of Nose Tackle Corey Durden taking a lap around the field waving bye to all the UNC fans.
Cory Durden was on the field for that missed field goal. He then did an entire lap of the stadium waving goodbye to Unc fans pic.twitter.com/CDH66Elgim
— Shawn Krest (@ShawnKrest) November 26, 2022
Then the boys in the locker room trolled the Heels with this…UNC…WHAT HAPPENED?
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