Watching the Pack come all the way back from a 21-point first half deficit to get within one point of the Tigers was a lot of fun and showed me a lot about the character of this year’s group, but it still stings to lose another close game, especially at home.
Here’s the box score. The most glaring thing from the box is the performance, or lack thereof, from Javi Gonzalez and Dennis Horner. Two points, two assists and four turnovers, combined. Thanks for showing up guys. Sheeessshh.
Here’s some other things I noticed from today’s action. Some of this stuff has me more positive while some of it has me raising my eyebrows.
Julius Mays and Farnold Degand are no longer liabilities.
I must admit, I didn’t see this coming whatsoever. At the beginning of the year I thought both Mays and Degand would see limited action backing Javi Gonzalez up and sparing CJ Williams here and there. In the last few weeks the exact opposite situation has unfolded. Degand and Mays have played consistently again and again and have earned the minutes they’ve gotten recently. They are both still good for a bonehead play here and there, but who on this team isn’t? It is NC State, right?
Something is up with Javi Gonzalez.
Gonzalez hasn’t played very well for a couple of weeks now and didn’t again today. Actually, let me rephrase that. He played awful and what’s even worse is that he didn’t looked like he cared all that much. In his post-game interview Sidney Lowe hinted that something has been going on but said he didn’t know what it was. He also said he didn’t feel comfortable having Gonzalez or Dennis Horner on the court during NC State’s run in the second half. Javi needs to play better because State needs all the depth it can possibly have, especially at the point guard position.
Richard Howell is turning into a player, quick.
He’s not quite there yet, but he’s getting closer every game. His double double performance today — 13 points and 12 boards – was an impressive thing to watch and his defensive effort against Trevor Booker (who is most certainly a first-team All-ACC player) was commendable. Once Howell gets a bit stronger with the ball and more confident on the offensive end, he has a chance to be special.
There is the potential for quite a bit of fallout from today’s game with regard to the starting lineup. Lowe changed things up with the insertion of Farnold Degand last week and more changes could be on the way. I would not be shocked if Mays and Howell start Wednesday night against Duke. In reality, why shouldn’t they? IMO, they deserve to.