Alternative Title #1: Do you think Tracy Smith is worth one basket?
Alternative Title #2: Is there some rule against blowing the whistle in favor of NC State in the last five minutes of a ball game?
NC State 74
Free Throw Attempts
NC State 10
This one really stung. State showed a lot of heart and determination by fighting back and making a game of it after trailing by as much as ten points. Javi Gonzalez deserves a ton of credit for leading the charge.
NC State led 61-60 with 3:43 in the game and couldn’t find a way to score for the next three minutes which ultimately led to a 69-61 Arizona advantage before Julius Mays hit a three pointed with 37.5 seconds remaining to bring the Pack within four points. State ultimately scored an impressive thirteen points in the last 37.5 seconds of the game.
If anyone has this game on DVR, do me the favor of going back and telling me how many calls went NC State’s way in the last 6 to 8 minutes of the game? I’m not kidding. It was like there was only one team on the court. For example:
- On the important sequence where Javi Gonzalez was called for a five second violation the official closest to Gonzalez was literally making the separation signal with his arms signalling a re-set of the five second count when another official blew the whistle. <br>
- Jordan Vandenberg’s fourth foul was called by – you guessed it – Karl Hess from twenty feet behind the play as the official closest to the play under the basket didn’t call anything (since there was no contact and there should of have been no call). <br>
- Dennis Horner was called for a bullshit ‘charge’ by – you guessed it – Karl Hess on an offensive rebound and a key put back when Arizona’s POINT GUARD took an obvious flop. Did Horner really need to lean into Nic Wise to gain an advantage? Whenever I see bullshit like that I ask myself one question that serves to just infuriate me more — would Tyler Hansbrough have been whistled for that exact same call if he were in that position?<br>
- Javi finally got to the free throw line with less than a minute to go on a foul called on a drive for an old fashioned three point play. Problem is that he got fouled on three consecutive drives and was able to muster getting but one call.<br>
- In fact, on the last drive of the game that tied the game, Gonzalez was hacked by Nic Wise who was playing with his fourth foul. No call. If the call is made, at the very least Wise is out of the game and we have time to set our defense after Javi’s free throw…which, if he makes would put us up one. Of course, there is no call.
* Arizona really needs to find someone competent (or unbiased) to run their clock. After what happened the other night one would think they would be focused on accuracy. After Nic Wise’s game winning shot the clock ran down to 0.9 seconds before NC State in-bounded the ball. There should have been approximately 1.6 seconds on the clock after that basket. Since State didn’t call a time out to set up a play it didn’t make much of a difference. But, it could have been a big deal.
* How the @*#) does Sidney Lowe not have a more definted rotation by this point in the season. Seriously. The perpetual substituting is mind numbing. This is not the NBA. If you are going to play that many kids for that many different minutes then you need to be pressing and playing 94 feet of tough defense.
* Similar to the Marquette game – the Wolfpack found a way to drastically reduce turnovers after a horrible first 15 minutes with the basketball.
* Dis-similar to the Marquette game – the key to this turnaroud was not Farnold Degand who was either injured or relegated to the dog house again as he was not given much opportunity to play despite Javi Gonzalez’s struggles in the first half. Does CJ Williams really provide that much more than Degand gives you? I’m not pushing Degand over CJ; just asking the question since one of our biggest weaknesses is Javi & Julius’ inability to stop penetration from opposing point guards.
* One player that is not ready to log the number of minutes that he is getting is DeShawn Painter.
* One player that is clearly ready to play is Jordan Vandenberg. Vandenberg is a huge difference maker for the Wolfpack at the defensive end of the court where we are particularly weak as our guards have a very hard time slowing/stopping dribble penetration.
* Richard Howell made nice contributions tonight. It is nice to see him find his footing. Which makes me wonder why we didn’t see a little more of him near the end of the game.
* Dennis Horner didn’t give us anything tonight. Horner was only 3 for 11 tonight. Which speaks to the strong collective effort that the rest of the team turned in.
Some folks on our message boards were really down on Sidney Lowe during the conversations about this game and I must say I’m a little confused. I don’t know many people in their right mind who expected to win a game on the road on the west coast at 10:30 pm EST that ended on Christmas Eve without our best player.
Sure some things could have been different. But, I actually give the coaches and the players a lot of credit for almost pulling that out.
I readily acknowledge there are a lot of arguments against Sidney’s coaching abilities; but I don’t think I would hang my hat on this performance to make that point.
At the same time that I was logging this entry tobaccordshow was logging his own. We’ve merged that one over to hear for convenience:
Tied at 61 with 3:06 to play… I could feel the collapse beginning. Painter body checks Nick Wise for a blocking foul. A 96% free throw shooter, Nick Wise converts the first half. 62 – 61. As fate would have it, Wise misses the back end, but Vandenberg is called on a lane violation… And what does the Arizona senior do next? Of course he hits nothing but the net. 63 – 61.
On the ensuing possession, our senior, Dennis Horner, gets a chance at a wide open three and bricks hard off the back of the rim.
Coming up the floor, Wise gives a quick no look pass to Williams for an easy jam. 65 – 61.
Julius Mays then dribbles around aimlessly until the clock winds down to 8 and passes. He gets the ball right back and heaves a three that doesn’t fall, but Horner is there and quickly goes up while being defended by Wise, who has 4 fouls. Wise falls to the floor and a charge is called. Looking at the replay, Horner does needlessly dip his shoulder. Reminds me of the play against Wake where he gave a quadruple fake while under the basket with not a single Deacon jersey within 50 yards.
1:47 Sean Miller calls a timeout. Dribble penetration (something we can’t seem to do) with 8 on the shot clock and we get lucky as Dennis Horner hauls in a rebound off of a shot that probably should’ve put the game out of reach.
Our next possession sees a quick feed to Horner from Mays and Horner is literally thrown to the floor and not a whistle can be heard. Maybe this is what Tracy Smith was talking about? Horner can’t dip a shoulder but he can be gang mugged by two Arizona players… Meanwhile the announcers call it a “clean block.” Sure.
Now we have to foul. And who do we foul? 96% shooter Nick Wise. Just stay out of the lane please! Converts the front end of the one-and-one. 66 – 61. And he does the same on the back end. 67 – 61.
Horner is again fouled while shooting. No call as Arizona pulls down the rebound. And we foul. 69 – 61. Now it’s officially out of reach with 53.6 to go.
Gonzalez misses a three. Offensive rebound. Mays misses a three. Offensive rebound. Mays finally gets a lucky bounce. The last time we scored was off of a Scott Wood 3-pointer with 3:43 left to play. I’d like to know where our time outs were as not a single one was called in a late game drought… the type that will not be kind in ACC play. 64 – 69.
Full court press. We foul immediately. 70 – 64. Desperation time.
Javi goes coast-to-coast with a layup and-1. 30.4 to play. I’m screaming at the team in the locker room over that foul if I’m Sean Miller. We get lucky. 66 – 70 with Javi going to the line. Javi converts the free throw to make it a one possession game 67 – 70.
Foul with 28.1 to go. But again it’s Nick Wise on the receiving end of the foul. Wise misses the first (his third one of the night) but makes the second. 67 – 71.
Javi tries the coast-to-coast thing again but is blocked pretty fantastically. Redemption though as Javi receives the inbounds pass and hits a HUGE 3. What is this? A one point game?? 70 – 71.
Foul immediately with 18.5 to play.Finally, we foul Soloman Hill, a 76% shooter. Hits the first. 70 – 72. And the second. 70 – 73. A forlorn Tracy Smith looks on helplessly.
Javi again goes coast-to-coast tripping and falling and throwing the ball up. And somehow it goes in. 72 – 73 with 13 seconds to play.
We foul. 1 for 2 on the line. 72 – 74. Coast to coast again? Hah. Yes. This is reminiscent of Mazzone ball. 2 swing passes? How about 1 more on 3rd-and-long. Except Javi again comes up clutch without a single Arizona defender in his way to tie the game. 74 – 74!
But… We get a dose of our own coast-to-coast medicine and despite forcing Arizona to a circus shot, it is Nick Wise who writes the Packs demise… The hard thing to swallow here is that there are 3 Pack defenders around Wise. I know a foul is a tough thing to force here… but still a tough way to lose.
With fractions of a second, Julius Mays heaves a full court shot and almost makes it…
This leaves me with wondering what the coaching staff was doing during our 3:00 drought where we couldn’t buy a shot and when we weren’t shooting, we were giving the ball away. Oh well. Probably should get used to this feeling.
Our community had a lively discussion about tonight’s game. And as always, our readers seem to provide some rather keen analysis:
I think you are right about the team growing up w/o Smith our freshman have played decent and we certainly have not given up
Richard Howell certainly had a coming out game tonight with some very key plays in the second half. Scott Wood and Deshaun Painter also contributed key plays. It’s nice to see some of the new guys playing and performing well in tough situations. With Tracy Smith, who knows how this one falls as we will ride the rest of our few wins on Tracy’s back. Nonetheless, our freshmen were given a shot in Smith’s absence and, for all intents and purposes, they played well.
The officiating was horrible at times. Hey Sid, are you going to suspend me too?
Javi definitely gets the game ball as he single handedly – and sometimes not purposefully – fueled our late game drive.
“Quit” is not a term in this team’s vocabulary. But just because you don’t quit doesn’t mean you still don’t lose. The past two games have shown a very ugly – yet very scrappy Wolfpack team. Perhaps this is a pleasant observation as, coming into this season, I was just expecting ugly.