Saturday, January 24, 2004

NC ST tops GT 76-72 in hoops

Well, I said it was going to be a tough game, a difficult one to win. I was right. I predicted a 1-point win - I was wrong, although the score was in the right range (I predicted 71-70). To me the bottom line of the game was rebounding and 2nd chance points. We are talking 21 offensive rebounds by the Pack. Overall they only outrebounded us 40-38, but the offensive ones killed us. It was the most frustrating display I have seen since the UGAg game.

But to the team's credit, they fought back from a 15 point defecit in the 2nd half to ALMOST tie the game. They certainly forced NC ST to hit their free throws (which they did) and make a couple of threes (which they did). NC ST is now 10-0 at home. They are averaging about 80 points at home and 59 points on the road.

In the end, this is a road loss in the ACC to a good NC ST team (at home). Nothing to be ashamed of. They fought valiantly to the bitter end. As a result, we are rewarded with a home game versus Clemson. Let's take care of business and prepare for Duke next week.

Here are some general thoughts

OFFENSE - Am I a broken record? We need to improve the half-court game. NC ST slowed it down and forced us to show what we could do in the half-court. The answer - not too much. The team ended the game with only 9 assists and in my mind that shows the weakness of our half-court game. A lot of one-one-one stuff. Shot the ball decent tonight (24-54), hit 20-25 free throws, but when you take 54 shots and your opponent 65, that's hard to make up. We were also cold from 3pt range (4-17), which we KNOW is going to happen in games and we did not adjust quickly enough. Turnovers on the offensive end were critical. We ended with 15 to's, but a lot of them were at really crucial times. Besides offensive rebounds, the other key stat - 2nd chance points. GT 12, NC ST 24. That's it - game, set, match.

DEFENSE - Played a decent defensive game. Held NC ST to 35.4% shooting, including 29% from 3pt range. But they kept getting all the rebounds and getting more shots. NC ST actually shot 41 3pt shots to our 18. No kidding - 41 from 3pt range!! They only dropped 12 of them, but we only dropped 4. While our defensive effort was strong, NC ST protected the ball well. We only forced 12 TO's, which is way below our season average.

Comments on individual performances

Bynum - 0-5 from 3pt range. Was not hitting his shots, so at some point in the 2nd half, he decided to go to the rim every other time he touched the ball. And I be darned if he didn't get there just about every time also. Ends with 17 points and help lead the 2nd half charge that got us back in the ball game. Ends shooting 7-16, but he was 0-5 from 3pt, and seemed that every other shot was a layup.

BJ Elder - I thought this was going to be his game. At one point he was 2-3, had hit a 3pt shot. But he ends the game 3-9 with 14 points, and 2-6 from long distance - another sub-BJ game. Is he EVER going to get back on track this year?

Jack - an off-night imo. Ends with 13 points on 3-4 shooting, but only has 2 assists and 5 TO's, no steals. Did grab 4 boards.

Isma'il - 11 points on 4-5 shooting and 7 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals. Even goes 3-4 from the stripe. A good outing for Isma'il, but I would have like to see the ball in his hands more.

Lewis - Only hit one shot during our 2nd half comback - ends with 3 points. Another Marvin road disappearing act. But I will go easy because he was key in the WF victory. I just so bad want to see Lewis have a strong senior year.

Luke - has a pretty nice game. 10 points on 5-11 shooting, 6 boards, including 3 nice offensive ones and 2 blocks, which were both key down the stretch. Luke is really playing solid in the paint for us. Can't deny that.

Tarver - Only played 9 minutes, but ended with 3 boards and 2 blocks. If you will remember he had 3 blocks and 3 boards in 13 minutes during the WF game. While his offensive game hasn't shown itself, he is showing some good defense.

Official AP version.