It wasn’t very pretty after the NC State jumped out to an impressive 32-9 lead with 8:23 in the first half, but the Wolfpack managed to advance to 9-3 with a 68-52 win over Winthrop at the RBC Center.
The Pack found range again from the three-point line shooting 10 of 20 for the night from the arc; and a total of 52% from the field overall.
GoPack.com has a nice, quick game story that can be viewed here.
A balanced scoring attack – and a five-minute scoring spurt in the first half – allowed NC State to cruise by Winthrop Tuesday night, 68-52, at the RBC Center.
During the game’s most decisive streak, the Wolfpack outscored the Eagles 30-7, with most of the damage coming from the 3-point line.
Freshman Scott Wood started the streak by hitting a 3-pointer from the corner, and Tracy Smith followed with a traditional three-point play. Sophomore C.J. Williams and Wood hit back-to-back 3-pointers, to push State’s lead to 13-3, and Smith followed his own miss with a dunk.
Three players – one by Wood, two by senior Farnold Degand and two by senior Dennis Horner – hit 3-pointers on five consecutive possessions, increasing the lead to 21 points. And freshman Jordan Vandenberg hit a crowd pleasing left-handed hook shot with 8:23 remaining in the first half to give the Wolfpack its biggest lead of the night, 32-9.
It was as good a half as Sidney Lowe’s team has played all year. Not only did the Pack make 15 of 30 field goals and 8 of 14 3-point attempts, it also dished out 13 assists on 15 field goals.
One observation I have is related to turnovers – while State committed 14 for the evening, the Wolfpack was only able to generate 7 turnovers from Winthrop. This differential coupled with State’s solid field goal shooting (limiting the need and opportunity for offensive rebounds) provided Winthrop ten more shot attempts than State generated for the evening.
Make no doubt about it, the Wolfpack is going to lose at least one game this year because of free throw shooting. Tonight, State shot an embarrassing 6 of 15 for only 40% from the free throw line.
State now turns its sites to three non-conference games in a six day span. After a New Year’s Eve game vs UNC Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum, State plays host to Florida in the RBC on Sunday at 3pm in what has become a very important game that could have post-season implications when March arrives.
If one were to presume wins over UNC-G, Holy Cross on (Jan 6) and North Carolina Central (Jan 30th) then the Pack would be 12-3 (not including the Florida result) before launching into the main part of the ACC schedule with another ‘must win’ hosting very beatable Virginia on Saturday, Jan 9th at noon. At the end of the year, 18 wins could be enough to earn an NIT berth; and non-conference wins over both Marquette and Florida could be differentiating factors for the Wolfpack.