A HORRIBLY officiated basketball game and the Wolfpack’s achilles heel of poor rebounding and free throw shooting was almost too much for Coach Lowe’s troops to overcome. But in the end, Gavin Grant‘s 2 (of 3) free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining lifted NC State to the Old Spice Classic Tournament Championship.
* Farnold Degand hit one of two free throws with 20.8 seconds remaining in the game to give the Wolfpack a 67-66 advantage before Villanova took the lead with a rebound and follow-up with 2.2 seconds remaining.
* Winning this tournament is going to be huge for State in March; it is particularly gratifying to ‘get back’ the UNO loss from last week. Now we have to hope that UNO, Rider, USC and Villanova all have fantastic seasons. Before the season, I pegged our record to be 4-1 right now. Of course I would have never predicted how we got to this 4-1, but in hindsight I think that this is the best 4-1 that we could have been.
* It only took the ESPN announcing crew until the last minute of the game to FINALLY highlight one of the bad calls against State. Fran Fraschilla commentated the entire game from the Villanova perspective and Len Elmore…well, Len Elmore can bite me.
* State just won two close games in a row by one possession. What an amazing change from the trend prior to Coach Lowe’s arrival in Raleigh.
* The ACC had a little stumble about a week ago, but since then the conference has really succeeded and seems to be out performing what some people expected heading into the year. The ACC is a combined 51-10 after play on Sunday.
* Coach Lowe has stated that we will have different players step up for us at different times this season and tonight was no exception. Ben McCauley played great in the first half and shooting guard, Courtney Fells was clearly the player of the game scoring 21 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field including 4 of 6 from the three point line.
* State shot a fantastic 46.7% from the three point line. If the Wolfpack can just shoot at a 35%+ clip from behind the arc (and shoot 70% or better from the free throw line) then we will win a lot of basketball games this year.
* Any “old schoolers” out there remember Walker Lambiotte nailing two free throws with no time remaining on the clock to lift the Wolfpack to a win in an early season tournament in the mid 1980s?
* One of the things that I love the most about the internet is that forums exist for others to help validate my own opinion. I thought that the officiating and announcning tonight were both very, very challenging. So, you can understand how much I loved checking in on some of the message boards and seeing an inordinate amount of fans making similar comments. On one thread two posters with excellent historical reputations for objectivity whose opinions I respect more than most had chimed in back to back on a thread titled “Reffing in the Nova Game”.
There is absolutely no way that the ref that called that last foul on Nova was actually on the court the rest of the game. I dare anyone to prove it. The fact is, State got royally jobbed all night and for the Nova fans to actually boo at the end of the game was pretty sweet revenge actually. Take the refs and their phantom foul calls and over-the-back no calls out and we win by double figures IMO.
ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIC. This was as bad as the Alabama game 2 years ago. Unreal. We would have won this one by 10-15 with honest refs.
I will add that the announcers might as well be wearind Nova jerseys as well. Elmore needs to do a better job of sticking up for the ACC. If I see that 70 year old, no neck midget reffing on of our games again I am going to vomit.
Even though we won I am still pi$$ed. No calls on over the back. Phantom fouls to give them multiple three point plays. JJ geeting hammered time after time with no calls. Every single loose ball out of bounds went to Nova. Hopefully these guys go back to refereeing junior high games in Boca Raton now that the tournament is over.
More fantastic comments from BJD are included below:
* Sid could give a clinic on effective working of the officials. Make your point emphatically, but donâ€™t show the ref up. Although the foul against Grant was legitimate, 9 times out of 10, it isnâ€™t called. I firmly believe it was a make up call.
* Another great sign – Sid and Ben share an enthusiatic post-game hug. I think those issues are behind us as well. It can and will be different guys on different nights.
* Yes, I know he bricked one of the free throws. But we have no chance to win that game without Degandâ€™s hustle play. Not only did he stop Nova from getting an easy two, he skied between THREE Wildcats, and by sheer force of will, got position and drew the foul.
* Hickson is handling the double team better, and his fast break assist was a thing of beauty.
* Fells rose to the occasion all weekend. As we showed in the first two games, itâ€™s hard to run an effective offense without him.