Larry Hunter‘s return to Raleigh was SIGNIFICANTLY closer than the score indicates.
JJ Hickson shot 10 of 11 from the floor en route to scoring 33 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and blocking 3 shots to lead NC State to a come from behind victory over another directional school in the state of North Carolina. Additionally – Brandon Costner played much better than he has recently; Javi Gonzalez might as well be invisible and was overshadowed by the defensive and play making efforts of Marques Johnson. FWIW, Johnson played 23 minutes and Gonzalez logged 17.
The Pack never led in the first half and trailed by nine points at the half. State started with lethargy that fat bastard would appreciate as the Pack turned the ball over on our first five possessions and did not attempt a shot until more than three and a half minutes had elapsed. WCU shot an astonishing 7 of 10 from the three point line in the first half (and was 5 of 5 before finally missing).
Stat of the Game – Western Carolina scored 15 points on NC State turnovers in the first half; the Catamounts scored no points off of Wolfpack turnovers in the second half.
The N&O’s ACCNow Blog deserves some major kudos for already posting a game summary that can be seen by clicking here. There is no reason for us to re-hash the blow by blow. They followed their first entry up with a second entry shortly after the game. Thanks, guys!
State scored 19 of the first 23 points of the second half and Hickson was unstoppable in the final 20 minutes. When he didn’t score from the floor, he was fouled and converted from the free-throw line, hitting 13 of 16.
It is worth nothing charger17′s observation in our comments section:
I watched the second half on ACC Select. They extended their zone way out and we had some trouble passing around it. When we don’t use McCauley at the high post position against a zone we make long, predictable passes. We need to be passing in and back out–that causes them to have to guard very quick ball movement.
The first half was so scary that we broke into a ‘live update’ mode with our posts and with our comments. You can read it for yourself.
3:45 Update – The lead is down to 3, but only because Western is really cold. We are still playing like crap and generally half-assed.
3:53 Update – Horner bricks a 1-and-1, and we still haven’t led all game. 45-44 at the second media timeout. If Western starts hitting again, we’re sunk.
3:58 Update – A little sigh of relief? 51-45 State after 2 Hickson FTs.
4:00 Update – Western buries a 3. They are killing us on out of bounds plays – a problem area since Sendek’s days that has not gone away.
4:09 Update – Tie game.
4:11 Update – MJ forces a 5-second call, then makes long outlet pass for Hickson dunk (after Fells block). 58-55.
4:15 Update – Under 4 left, State still up 3 with Western on FT line. Nobody is scoring but Hickson, and Western is hot again. Doesn’t look good.
4:20 Update – 5 point lead, Fells to the line. Brick. Swish. Pack by 6.
4:21 Update – Pack inexcusably gives up 2 offensive rebounds, but gets ball back with 2:20 left. Hickson fouled again.
4:23 Update – Lead up to 8. Hickson has 31.
4:25 Update – Hickson has new career high. Has scored 33 of State’s 72 points.
Final Score – NC State 74, Western Carolina 62. 33 and 13 for Hickson, and the Pack survives.