Last night, the youthful Pack falls at home to the #25 Mizzou Tigers out of the SEC.
All things considered, that sentence doesn’t sound all that terrible. In spite of recent successes, I hadn’t (and still haven’t) built up any undue expectations of this team, as I know they are still a work in progress. Nor did I have any expectations for last night’s contest in particular. A win was most definitely NOT expected.
Even at home, a loss to a ranked opponent out of a BCS conference, especially by a young and still developing team like NC State, shouldn’t be one that is still sticking in my craw the following morning.
So then, why is it?
Our young Wolfpack showed flashes of brilliance last night. The emergence of Kyle Washington was wonderful to see (10 pts, 2 blks). TJ Warren was his normal wonderful self (24 pts, 13 rebs), aside from becoming overly enamored with his own 3pt stroke (that’s not your game TJ….please stop that).
They also showed flashes of inexperience, as Vandenberg, Barber, Freeman and Anya all but disappeared on the big stage (though one can easily argue that Vandy and Cat had some help of the striped variety for their disappearing acts).
The Pack held a 53-43 advantage with 8:56 to play and then were outscored 25-11 the rest of the way. Missouri executed down the stretch, the Pack, generally speaking, did not.
Wolfpack Falls to No. 25 Missouri 68-64 (GoPack.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. - NC State sophomore forward T.J. Warren scored a game-high 24 points and tied his career high with 13 rebounds, but the Wolfpack could not pull off the upset, falling to No. 25 Missouri 68-64 on Saturday night at PNC Arena.
Warren notched his sixth career double-double (his fourth of the season) but the Wolfpack could not overcome a hot-shooting Missouri team that closed the game by connecting on 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and 5-of-6 from the free throw line over the final eight minutes of action.
“Missouri made some big time plays at the right points in the game,” NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. “That was the difference in the game. They made three big three pointers that really changed the game. I thought we were in a position to win the game, but we have to do a better job. We have to rebound the ball better. Whether it’s getting defensive rebounds, not giving up a three, executing your offense to make sure you get the right shots, or not making foul shots, you put all those things together and right there at the end of the game, Missouri made a couple of big shots and that changed the outcome of the game.”
Late comeback gives No. 25 Missouri a 68-64 win at NC State (NewsObserver.com)
RALEIGH — N.C. State had Missouri and another win, right up until it didn’t.
The Wolfpack controlled the game and the 25th-ranked Tigers for more than 36 minutes on Saturday night.
What the Wolfpack couldn’t do is close out Mizzou. Junior guard Jordan Clarkson wouldn’t let them.
Clarkson’s clutch scoring, 21 points in all, and junior guard Jabari Brown’s 3-pointer with 55.1 seconds left lifted Missouri to a 68-64 win over N.C. State at PNC Arena.
The loss snapped N.C. State’s seven-game winning streak. It was the first loss of the season for the Wolfpack (9-3) in a game it had controlled, and led by as many as 10 points in the second half.
But not much time to wallow in this one as the Pack moves on to face a not too shabby UNCG squad on the road (Monday 12/30, 7pm, G’boro Coliseum, ESPN3) while hopefully learning a little something from the one that got away last night.
Then, in less than a week now, the ACC grind begins when State welcomes Pitt to Raleigh (1/4, noon) to kick off conference play, and then makes a quick turnaround for a road game to South Bend to face Notre Dame 3 days later (1/7, 9pm).