Take THAT ghost of Chris Paul and the decade where NC State couldn’t win a close game if our life depended on it!
BEFORE the last play of the game, I had already written the following for the postgame entry -
Player of the game – Ben McCauley. He did a lot of things in the second half that were obviously huge…but he also made a ton of decisions that don’t show up in the box score. The little things like not rushing in-bounds passes that result in turnovers. Like not only coming up with loose balls, but immediately making the right play with the loose balls that he recovers.
Then…the last play of the game happend. UNBELIEVABLE!! UNBELIEVABLE!!
Some quick bytes:
There are a lot of differences between NC State’s basketball program under Sidney Lowe compared to Herb Sendek – some of them good; some of them not as good.
But, nowhere is the difference between the team more evident than in two areas that were highly evident today: (1) NC State’s sudden ability to win close (and exciting) games, and (2) NC State’s sudden ability to beat Wake Forest.
* Coach Lowe extended his record to 3-0 against State’s Big Four rival as his program is now a respectable 5-5 against Big Four competition since taking over the program.
* In a year and a half, Coach Lowe has amassed half the number of regular season wins over Wake Forest as the Wolfpack’s previous coach did in an entire decade as he compiled just a 6-14 regular season record against the Demon Deacons.
* NC State advances to 10-5 in games played on Super Sundays.
* NC State advances to 13-7 and 3-4 in the ACC. The win improved the Wolfpack’s RPI improved to #43 against the 34th toughest schedule in all of America. State hosts surging #63 Virginia Tech (14-8, 5-3) on Tuesday night with a chance to even our ACC record at .500.
* I REPEAT the comments that I made after the big Miami win earlier this year.
What I am about to say is actually pretty sad, but unfortunately true — I think tonight’s win over Miami [insert Wake Forest] may have represented the most exciting win in ESA/RBC Center history. Last year’s win over Carolina clearly ranks as the “best” win by nature of their national ranking, the style & excitement in which the game was played and the fact that it was Carolina. But, tonight’s win at the buzzer bests anything else that I can remember in the RBC. Others that immediately come to mind would be Justin Gainey’s shot to beat Maryland and the ESA’s opening night against Georgia.
* From 2000-2006 I tried to tell some of you that ACC Basketball should be more fun than it was for NC State and I was castigated. From 2000-2006 I tried to tell some of you that NC State’s record in close games and inability to compete in clutch time was abnormal. From 1993-2006 I tried to tell some of you that the prominence of Wake Forest’s basketball program compared to NC State’s was unacceptable and completely out of step with decades of history. I would like to thank Coach Lowe and the entire team for giving us fans some actual success in the midst of challenges and close games and for making home games FUN for the fans again!
* Javi Gonzalez continues to improve exponentially. I could only imagine what kind of surprises this team could pull if Degand was healthy and had Gonzalez backing him up.
* Wake Forest’s Harvey Hale not only WALKED when he slid with less than 30 seconds to go in the game, he also DOUBLE DRIBBLED as he used the ball to stop his fall then recovered and then dribbled to his left. That means that the ball hit the floor. Stopped. And was put back into play. Ultimately the Demon Deacons couldn’t convert and JJ Hickson rebounded and stepped to the free throw line (and missed two big ones).
* FREE THROWS, FREE THROWS, FREE THROWS – Gavin Grant and JJ Hickson combined to go 1 of 4 from the free throw line with less than a minute to go and ultimately alllowed Wake Forest to tie the game with a drive to the basket with 5.2 seconds left.
* We had first half comments in this entry. The key comment was the first one as the second half of today’s game marked a buge different
Simple reason why NC State is not winning this game – SHOOTING. It’s not just that State only hit 2 of 11 three pointers (both by Courtney Fells. It is that State missed/bricked multiple WIDE OPEN threes – at least three of which were from the top of the key where it doesn’t get any easier. If the offense creates wide open threes then the guys have GOT to hit them.
…More to come…