Different night, same story for NC State.
The Wolfpack hit just one field goal in the final ten minutes against the Terps, allowing Maryland to erase a 10-point halftime deficit and pick up a nine-point win in its third game in five days. The Terps (18-7, 8-3), led by Greivis Vasquez, climbed into second place in the ACC with Wednesday night’s win and pushed NC State even deeper into the bottom of the conference standings.
Vasquez scored 26 points (17 in the second half) and dished out six assists while freshman Jordan Williams tallied 19 points and 11 boards. Dennis Horner led NC State (14-13, 2-10) with 19 points and ten boards, but only one other player, Tracy Smith, scored in double figures for the Pack.
“Like him or not, he’s a tough guy. He’s tough mentally and he just took the team right on his back and led them in there,” Sidney Lowe said of Vasquez. “That’s what good players do. I think we have a guy that can lead from a scoring standpoint but I don’t think we have anyone on the perimeter or anywhere else that will lead.”
Freshman forward Scott Wood, who scored nine points in 26 minutes, summed up NC State’s loss simply.
“Bad shots, turnovers, no defense, no energy, you want anymore? Just a lack of execution, coaches can’t do it for us,” he said. “They give us all the right stuff and it seems like we don’t want to do it.”
Maryland’s 22-5 run to end the game completely erased any hope for an NC State victory even after the Wolfpack played well enough to take a 10-point lead into halftime. NC State played as well as it had since the victory over Duke Jan. 20 before faltering in the second half. Lowe said he was pleased with the effort in the first 20 minutes but completely confused by the team he saw during the second 20 minutes.
“Two totally different halves. I thought we played real well both offensively and defensively. I thought we were very aggressive, I thought we executed offensively the way we wanted to and in the second half we came out and turned it over the first time we had the ball,” he said. “We got away from what we did in the first half. As a result we didn’t shoot well in the second half.”
Wood said it’s frustrating to go through stretches like the last 10 minutes of the second half, especially after playing so well for a good part of the night. NC State scored just 21 points in the second half after putting up 37 before the break.
“I don’t want to say it’s a mental block but it’s definitely in your brain and it’s frustrating when you play that well in the first half and you play well in halves and you play well in spurts and you just can’t put it together for 40 minutes,” he said. “We’re just going to have to keep working. Every fan in the stands saw what we can do in the first half so if we could just put it together we’ll be fine.”
Lowe also commented on the potential of the team but said it’s frustrating to repeatedly see the same types of problems keep NC State from winning games.
“I’m not sure where their pulse is. I know they were disappointed in there, one guy looked like he was going to cry, a lot of guys with their heads down but you know the question is what are you going to do about it? That’s the question,” he said. “I’m frustrated because I’m trying to teach something. it’s not just about playing the game, it’s about how you play the game. To go over time and time and time again and talk about how you ply the game the right way, and making the right decisions and making the right plays. To do it in one half and not do it in the other is frustrating.”