Friday Farrago

NC STATE BASKETBALL
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Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Wolfpack need to shake off slump

N.C. State headed to Clemson last season with hopes of ending an untimely three-game losing streak.

The Wolfpack faces the same predicament this weekend. And it can’t afford another loss at Littlejohn Coliseum.

N.C. State, the ACC preseason favorite, fell to .500 in the league Thursday, when Duke rolled to a 98-85 home victory. Since beating North Carolina on Jan. 26, the Wolfpack (16-7, 5-5) have dropped consecutive games against Virginia, Miami and the Blue Devils.

The next test is a game at Clemson on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re not going to look at pitches,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We’re going to keep swinging. I think they feel confident that we can be a great team here down the stretch.”

The Wolfpack snuck into the NCAA tournament last year despite struggling down the stretch. It was 7-3 in the ACC before losing four straight games, starting with a 78-73 setback in which Duke erased a second-half deficit of 20 points at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Florida State and North Carolina defeated N.C. State before it lost in overtime at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Laura Keeley (N&O)
Duke starts fast, holds off of NC State 98-85

The first time Duke faced N.C. State, the Blue Devils were beginning their search for a new offensive identity.

It was clear Thursday night that they have found it, especially early in the game, as the first-half cushion they built didn’t run out in a 98-85 win. But the Wolfpack came close late in the game, making Duke work until the final minute.

“I don’t know how you couldn’t be proud of both teams tonight,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “That was great ACC basketball.”

Each team traded outstanding shooting halves, as Duke shot 61.3 percent from the field in the first half and led 58-37. N.C. State responded with a 65.5 percent performance to make the game interesting late.

Trailing by 21 points and missing point guard Lorenzo Brown due to a left ankle injury, N.C. State came out strong in the second half. The Wolfpack hit 12 of its first 14 shots, closing the deficit to 12, 78-66, with 9:21 remaining on the clock.

But Richard Howell, who dominated the first matchup, was whistled for his fourth foul on the next possession.

“When a team is in foul trouble, it’s just kind of like you smell blood, and you just keep going at them,” Mason Plumlee said. “When guys are playing not to foul, it makes them susceptible to a lot of things.”

Plumlee finished with a game-high 30 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field and—in an especially positive development—12-of-16 shooting from the free throw line. Duke ran several isolation plays designed to get Plumlee the ball in the second half, and he was able to post up both Howell and Leslie.

Luke DeCock (N&O)
Curry assures reversal of fortunes

Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Duke is back … now it’s State’s turn to regroup and rebound

“They’ve done a great job,” Gottfried said. “I don’t know we’ll use that as an example, but our guys know. They believe in our team.

“We just need to keep swinging the bat. We’re not just going to stand at the plate and look at pitches. We’re going to keep swinging. I think they feel confident they can be a great team down the stretch.”

While that is yet to be seen, State (16-7, 5-5 ACC) figures to be a deeper, more diverse team in the long run as a result of its recent downturn.

Backup point guard Tyler Lewis was once again the silver lining in the dark cloud of a Wolfpack loss by following up his impressive performance against Miami last weekend by contributing 13 points, six assists and no turnovers in his first career start.

In the ACC’s most hostile environment, no less.

But neither that nor the fact that State battled back to whittle a 22-point deficit down to eight in the final two minutes behind some inspired play by center Richard Howell, is any consolation for a team that is clearly battling itself right now as much as it is the opposition. And things won’t get any easier Sunday when the Wolfpack goes to Clemson, a place it has traditionally struggled.

“We’ve just got to stay together, that’s the main thing,” said senior forward Scott Wood, who tweaked his groin during the first half Thursday. “Sitting at 5-5, it’s not a great place to be. But you’ve just got to look at the things you as an individual can do better and make sure we stay together as a team.”

Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Bad First Half Dooms NC State In Durham

Scoring 1.21 points per possession should be enough to win on the vast majority of occasions–it should be enough to win by quite a lot in most instances. But there are always outliers like this, and NC State got totally buried by an incredible first-half shooting performance by the Blue Devils. It’s tough to overcome a barrage of 10 three-pointers in one half, and Duke finished the first 20 minutes with an effective field goal percentage north of 77.0.

The second half was almost a complete reversal from a shooting percentage perspective, and State outscored Duke 48-40, but the thing that allowed the Blue Devils to stay at arm’s length was its ability to get to the line–they shot 28 free throws, 22 of which they made, in the second half. They made just nine field goals over the final 20 minutes, none of which were threes, and they were still able to win comfortably thanks to that huge advantage at the free throw line.

Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
First half barrage buries NC State

“We didn’t match that intensity at the beginning of the game,” said NCSU senior wing Scott Wood, who played with a groin injury during the second half. “We let Curry and Plumlee get going, which you can’t do when you play against them.”

Plumlee scored 15 points in each half, and lived at the free-throw line, going 12 of 16 in helping foul out NC State senior center Richard Howell and junior power forward C.J. Leslie.

Howell picked up two fouls and went to the bench with 14:07 left in the first half, making it even easier for Plumlee to work on the interior. Howell bounced back in the second half and carried NC State. He knocked in an array of mid-range jumpers and worked hard around the basket for a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds.

“I thought he [Howell] was really good and Plumlee played off him a little bit,” Gottfried said. “He respected his ability to bounce it once or twice. He made a lot of jump shots. He rebounds like he does every night.”

Leslie also found his offensive rhythm in the second half, scoring nine of his 16 points to form a strong one-two punch with Howell. NC State shot an impressive 19 of 29 for 65.5 percent after halftime.

“Howell is the unsung great player in our league,” Krzyzewski said. “He can play for anybody. He puts up amazing efficient numbers.”

NC State’s perimeter defense also improved after halftime. Duke went 0 for 7 in the second half, but the damage was done.

“We just weren’t chasing them [in the first half],” Wood said. “We said all practice that we have to chase them. We can’t try and run over the screens, which we got caught on a couple of times, and they made us pay for it.

“Any time they run those baseline screens and you don’t chase them, you are in a world of hurt.”

MULTIMEDIA/PODCASTS

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WRALSportsfan.com
Gottfried: Need to build on positives

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said the team needs to build on some of the positives and make sure they are getting better.

WRALSportsfan.com
Leslie: We have to fight a little harder

NC State’s CJ Leslie said the team needs to fight a little harder than they did against Duke.

WRALSportsfan.com
Howell: We didn’t come out with intensity

NC State’s Richard Howell said the team didn’t come out with intensity against Duke.

WRALSportsfan.com
Lewis: Seemed like they couldn’t miss

NC State’s Tyler Lewis said it seemed like the Duke team couldn’t miss Thursday night.

WRALSportsfan.com
Wood: We have to stay together

NC State’s Scott Wood said the team needs to stay together following their loss to Duke Thursday.

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

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78 Responses to Friday Farrago

  1. 1.21 Jigawatts 02/08/2013 at 6:37 AM #

    So how’d I do on my pregame predictions?

    1. Howell & Leslie will foul out playing 20-25 minutes.

    Leslie = 5 fouls in 36 minutes
    Howell = 5 fouls in 29 minutes

    2. Wood will have 4 fouls and 6 pts.

    Wood = 2 fouls & 14 pts.

    3. Lewis will think he’s playing the TSA and is on the no fly list.

    Lewis = 39 minutes, 13 pts, 6 assist, 0 turnovers.

    4. Warren will shoot 20%

    Warren: 5/12 = 41.7%

    5. Duke will attempt at least 35 FT’s.

    Duke = 41 FTA

    6. Duke will jump out to a quick 10 point lead and build on it by raining 3′s. (10 3PTM in 1st half)
    7. Plumlee will have a career game = 30pts, 9rbs
    8. Final Score will be 85-65
    9. Karl Hess will officiate – No King Karl.

    So all in all not too bad on the predictions. The one’s I got wrong, most of them, were in the positive.

  2. graywolf 02/08/2013 at 6:43 AM #

    Call me chicken little but until I see different the sky is falling.
    Little John awaits where we have not had a great deal of success historically for some reason.
    If we go 5-6 then we are in a real down hill spiral to who knows where…..
    Time for this coaching staff to go back to psychology class and defensive school!

  3. Wulfpack 02/08/2013 at 7:32 AM #

    Anyone that thinks the Clemson game will not be tough has not been paying attention.

  4. TLeo 02/08/2013 at 7:37 AM #

    I keep hearing the same old things from coach and players but this statement from Wood is a prime example of the problem……

    We just weren’t chasing them [in the first half],” Wood said. “We said all practice that we have to chase them. We can’t try and run over the screens, which we got caught on a couple of times, and they made us pay for it.”

    There is the problm right from a player’s mouth. They are being prepared and told in practice by Gott and staff what to do and what to expect but come game time , they will not do it for some reason.
    I expected a loss last night but I really thought this team would come out ready and keep it tight the whole way. Ialso thought that this year a home/away split with Duke an UNC was a reasonable expectation but never thought this team would just fail so often to show up ready to go.

  5. sjmac11 02/08/2013 at 7:37 AM #

    We should all be doing nothing but praising Tyler Lewis. TYLER BY GOD LEWIS, even my wife pointed out….”who is that small white kid and why is he the only one running his ass off like he wants to play?”. Great observation babe, the rest of them (minus Richard Howell) are disinterested until something can benefit them. Head cases, said it from day one, head cases. I’ll give Purvis a break, off night for the kid. TJ is playing like Sidney Lowe recruited him, lost.

  6. Rochester 02/08/2013 at 7:38 AM #

    “When guys are playing not to foul, it makes them susceptible to a lot of things.”

    This can explain Howell. Leslie, however, doesn’t play defense like he’s afraid of fouling. He plays it like he’s allergic to playing defense. All he does is gamble for a steal or block, which never happens, and puts himself so far out of position that anyone with any ability has an easy layup/dunk. He needs to score 25 every night to make up for the 24 he gives up on the other end of the court.

    Duke didn’t really slow us down offensively. Our sh#t start was self-inflicted. If we played defense we could have won this game. Obviously hurt not having Zo out on the perimeter, but he could have only guarded one player. Who would have slowed down the other four?

  7. Rochester 02/08/2013 at 7:43 AM #

    sjmac11, spot on re: Lewis. I didn’t get to watch the Miami game, so this was the first time I saw him really play. I was disappointed in the game, but felt a lot better about next year and the next three years watching him. On a team that lacks a leader, he stands out. I could see him wearing a “C” on his chest as early as next year.

    And I’m a little befuddled by TJ lately as well. He’s hopeless on defense right now and his body language sometimes makes me wonder what he’s thinking.

  8. Pack Leader 02/08/2013 at 7:47 AM #

    We should all be doing nothing but praising Tyler Lewis. TYLER BY GOD LEWIS, even my wife pointed out….”who is that small white kid and why is he the only one running his ass off like he wants to play?”.

    +1

    And did anyone else hear the,”hows your Grandmaw” chant at Lewis? Apparently his Grandmother passed away last friday, talk about no class….

  9. Rick 02/08/2013 at 8:04 AM #

    Did I see the stats right.
    Did Duke shoot 41 FTs on 22 State fouls?
    So virtually every foul resulted in FTs? How can that be? I have never ever seen that before

  10. tractor57 02/08/2013 at 8:05 AM #

    Some very good comments here – Lewis proved to but up to the challenge, mostly the same old comments in the after game interviews. This team can be very, very good when everyone is on point, plays hard and smart. Often we see the same issues – late start, apparently uninterested defense and other than Howell seemingly little interest in rebounding.
    Regarding Warren and Purvis – for high flying frosh the second pass in the league is usually difficult. There is now some evidence of their games from the first round added to the “the wall” that first year players often hit. Maybe Lewis escaped that by not playing so much until the last 2 games.
    I have not given up hope but I also recognize this team will only go as far as they will through their efforts. Sounds a bit trite but so far when playing near their abilities no one has beaten them.
    Seems to be an issue with cranial-rectal inversion.

  11. Wolfpack93 02/08/2013 at 8:10 AM #

    Part of me thinks that had we not started this season inflated by the media, we might not be so critical now. We’re not taking the crown this year, but Jimmy V would be proud as we don’t give up (at least not the players).

    Lewis is fantastic. Warren is great on offense but needs to work harder on defense and my greatest criticism of a fresh is Purvis who doesn’t pass the ball once he has it. Sometimes that pays off big, but often he takes a bad shot instead of getting it to a team mate who’s open.

    I like this team. Wonder how I would do if people tweeted about all my miscues? No one’s perfect, but I’ll still wear my State gear proudly. Let’s stop trying to be the team the media thought we were supposed to be and start being a team that is improved over last year. That goal is still very much achievable.

  12. ADVENTUROO 02/08/2013 at 8:21 AM #

    Jig,
    I DID think about prediction during and after the game. Have you got any stock picks or can you pass along tonight’s winning lottery numbers.

    ALL,

    My wife made the comment about the Freshmen hitting the wall.

    Last year, Brown had that “deer – headlights” look in Cameron and other venues…..sometimes a home.

    Maybe it is just around the corner for Tyler, but I am totally blown away by him.

    Some of the crew around me would moan and groan when he woud come in early in the season. It will be interesting to be in the PNC at the NEXT home game and see if they are wearing their TL jerseys.

    NOW…..the outrage of the day. When I went to bed, there was a forum about the Cameron Crazies and their antics.

    I googled it and it appearts to have some truth. Did the Cameron Crazies REALLY chant…..

    HOWS YOUR GRANDMA or HOWS YOUR GRANDMOTHER

    when Tyler had the ball.

    Most folks know that Tyler is from Statesville and his grandmother passed away on Friday before the Miami game or perhaps even early on Saturday and he immediately left campus to be with his family. The reports that I read said he was also very close to her. I think that Coach G. made some comments about it.

    Again, what was posted in the forum was that Vandy and Rodney confirmed (Twitter?) that it happened.

    If you Google Tyler Lewis Grandmother Duke Cameron Crazies or something close to that, you get pages of hits.

    If this is remotely true, then I think the Cameron Crazies have raised the bar….maybe set an NCAA record for lack of class.

    I know that nothing can or will be done, but if there was any spine in the AD’s backbone at Duke, he would “ban” or pull the student’s tickets at the next home game. Of course I am dreaming and have not yet had my morning quart of Tequila….

  13. wolflane74 02/08/2013 at 8:28 AM #

    I am growing tired of the coach’s BS after every loss. “We played hard, etc.” In reality, most of the team did not play hard where it really matters, on the defensive end of the court. CJ is still a head case, Purvis is selfish, and most of the team thinks they can play on one end of the court and get by. NIT here we come.

  14. Khan 02/08/2013 at 8:36 AM #

    I think we should blame the refs for screwing us. And blame the disparity in FT attempts for screwing us. And blame the contstant over-the-back by Duke for screwing us. And blame Plumtree for being in the lane for 10 seconds for screwing us. And blame Swofford for screwing us. And blame the guy standing behind the basket shaking the goal every time we shot for screwing us.

    The fact that only two players showed up to play with any sort of intensity for every minute they were in there had nothing to do with it. The fact that we can’t hit jump shots as a team had nothing to do with it. The fact that we only have one or two players who have any sort of defensive instinct and ability and commitment have nothing to do with it. The fact that we have neither the quickness nor the ability to set proper screens and use them to get shooters open had nothing to do with it. The fact that we can’t finish around the rim had nothing to do with it.

    Just wanted to throw that out there before someone else did.

  15. Khan 02/08/2013 at 8:42 AM #

    Now that the sarcasm is out of the way, there was no way we were going in there and win. Duke shot lights out….but you know what, when their good shooters are open, that’s what they’re supposed to do.

    Lewis is for real and I’m very happy for him. He is one of the few that has the right mentality about competition and leadership….at least that’s what he’s shown so far.

    We need to learn to finish close shots. We miss way too many of those. We seem to play so small around the basket.

    It’s unfortunate that we only have a couple of players that can shoot mid-range jumpers.

    Not having good defensive form and quickness and commitment is a very, very big problem and is what will prevent us from winning any kind of post-season tournaments.

    And the fact that we can’t seem to play with consistent intensity for 40 minutes is probably the biggest issue of all. Until that changes, we are who we are today.

  16. Classof89 02/08/2013 at 8:55 AM #

    I am really starting to feel good about this team. The regular season grind in the ACC can really a downer for a team (like ours) that is learning about the level of consistent effort it takes to be a championship team, but the stage is set for a really strong finish to the regular season and ACC tourney. I like our chances if we meet Duke again in the ACC tournament. I like the way we got off the floor in the 2nd half in one of the most hostile environments in college hoops and silenced the nerdy little twerps.

  17. Lumpy 02/08/2013 at 8:59 AM #

    If you just look at the stats, you would think this was the same old screw job at Cameron. Lots of whistles for Duke, make up calls at the end, etc. but the truth is that this was a winnable game for State well after Duke had hit everything they threw up in the first half.
    When the lead was down to 14 with a little over 8 minutes left we proceeded to: miss the front end of a 1 and 1 (twice), Purvis misses a layup, we let Duke get position and an offensive rebound as the shot clock ran down. Also twice. In the same possesion. They ran 1:20 off the clock before scoring on a putback.
    The refs made some atrocious calls, to be sure, but one of the reasons Plumlee was able to play foul free until late in the second half was us refusing to challenge him early by feeding Leslie and Howell down low. We settled for jump shots when Howell could have owned Plumlee early in the first like he did in the second. Maybe if we had done that, Howell and Leslie wouldn’t have been the only ones in foul trouble.

  18. Semper_WolfPack 02/08/2013 at 9:15 AM #

    On the Duke inbound play where Wood was pushed (around 2:00 left, don’t remember which Duke player was called for the foul), why was Wood not put on the line? Both teams were in the double bonus. I checked the NCAA rule book and found no exceptions pertaining to this. I’m not trying to blame the refs or that one play for our loss, I’m just curious.

    EDIT: I discussed this with some other folks, and it seems this is deemed an offensive foul (even though it’s a loose-ball/away-from-the-ball foul). Apologies for the ignorance. GO PACK!

  19. TheCOWDOG 02/08/2013 at 9:16 AM #

    Kudos to Kersey and crew. They may have earned themselves a spot in the dance with the way they called last night’s game.

    I’d surely like to see those 3 again in the Dean Dome. There may be hope for NCAA officiating, yet.

    I may be forced to drop Kersey from my Showgirl list if this continues.

    Shame that State’s first half play sorta wasted a good game by the zebras.

  20. coach13 02/08/2013 at 9:19 AM #

    We win 7 of next 8 and win the ACC tourney, make it to the Elite 8 minimum. That’s my prediction.

    Nice thing is, we have Lewis for 3 more years. For 3 years this guy is gonna be a major pain in the arse for our rivals.

    This is Gott’s 2nd year. We got a pleasant run at the end of year 1. he brought in some talented but with faults freshmen. He is still working with Lowe’s head case kids which have gotten better but still have issues.

    Gott & Co have still not put THEIR full team on the court, and want for another year. The players they have been looking for both talent and mentality wise.

    Yet this team has been one of the more entertaining teams to watch in a while. Full of faults, sorry defense at time but can score. Remember when we couldn’t score? Wasn’t that long ago.

    I get pissed. I’m used to the disappointment. And we are all disappointed sitting here in the ACC at 5-5. But I can see it. I see we are better. Still full of faults, but we are better. In spite of infamous State-sh1t that always happens, I still see a better ending coming this year.

    Put it in the bank. We sweep UNC this year. 3-0. Suck on that baby!!!!

  21. VaWolf82 02/08/2013 at 9:21 AM #

    Why anyone ever pays attention to “coach speak” is beyond me. What the coach says to the media is worth absolutely nothing. What he says to his team is what counts and we can judge that talk’s effectiveness by the results.

    Anyone who thought preseason that State would win in Durham was delusionally optimistic. Anyone who thought that State would win without Brown is certifiable.

  22. Thinkpack17 02/08/2013 at 9:22 AM #

    Purvis is selfish? I’d like to hear the reasoning behind that. I think he plays for his coaches, teammates and fans almost to a fault. He’s just now stopped trying to take every charge there is to be had. He’d dive on the floor for loose balls there seems he has absolutely no shot at and would be better served to get back on D.

    I’ve seen him on Twitter twice already taking the blame for losses. He’s a great kid…he’s a winner and I think he’s one of the few sparkplugs we have.

  23. PoppaJohn 02/08/2013 at 9:34 AM #

    I think it is time we take our medicine. Lets face it, we are not as good as we think we are. The “when we get it all together we’ll be ferocious” mentality is just wrong.
    We have excellent offensive skills, but that is just a part of basketball and not enough to be a great team.

    Clearly, TJ & Rodney have hit the freshman wall. TJ was an unstoppable offensive force early in the year but never much defensively. He’s just worn down, this is a different level of intensity that he has to acclimate to. Same for Rodney, he was ‘Mr Energy’ a month ago, lately he has disappeared.

    Luckily, Teen Wolf hasn’t played much, so still probably has 20 games left in him.

    So I suggest we start Zon & TW at guard, and the regular three bigs. Then Rodney & TJ come off the bench for a spark.

    We’ve got to try something different – we are close to losing the season.

  24. rtpack24 02/08/2013 at 9:35 AM #

    Our defense in the first half was pitiful. Howell’s first foul was Wood’s fault for letting his man dribble right past him. Lewis and Howell were the only two players playing with any intensity at the beginning of the game. Hopefully these guys can pull it together. I will be the first to admit that Lewis has played great much to my surprise.

  25. DC_wolf 02/08/2013 at 9:36 AM #

    Wow, did the people who wrote those columns see the same game I saw? That 1st half was atrocious. I felt like I had been transported back to the last 1 or 2 years of the Lowe era: no defense; bad body language, no heart – no fight; generally disinterested. I do appreciate the Fayetteville Observer pointing out last year’s record @ this time: 7-3. I had forgotten that, & this year we actually have THREE more McDonald’s All-Americans??

    wolflane, I’m in agreement w/you: the coach speak is nauseating – & from both sides, Coach K calls that “a great ACC game”? Maybe for you, hoss but hopefully not anyone proudly wearing the red & white. And that was positively the worst prepared Pack team to take the floor under Gott I’ve seen thus far… He better be saying more in the locker room than just “we’re going to keep trying…”

    I think the only reason we came back at all in the 2nd half was that duke actually cooled off from the field (they had to), plus, they stopped jacking up 3s – for whatever reason. Not taking away anything from Rich: he started to catch fire in a big way; add to that several fastbreak layups & we were able to crawl within a respectable distance. But don’t kid yourselves – duke was a few field goal percentage points from hanging 100+ on us & beating us like some preseason cupcake.

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