NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Three Points: Warren bounces back, classic Booker and black uniforms
1) Winning with the changeup
There’s winning without your fastball and then there’s winning without your fastball, curveball or slider. That’s what N.C. State did on Sunday.
C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown scored six points each and the Wolfpack’s veteran quartet finished the game with fewer combined field goals (10) than Clemson’s Devin Booker (13) had by himself.
The constant for N.C. State this season is the play of senior forward Richard Howell, who turned in another double-double (11 points and 12 boards) and the variable is senior guard Scott Wood (see: The Rule of Four). But it’s Leslie and Brown who usually make State go.
That wasn’t the case on Sunday, which makes the win unusual, to say the least. Where would State have been without 21 points from freshman T.J. Warren off the bench?
“We did a good job on Scott Wood and all their main guys really,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Credit T.J. Warren for a phenomenal night.”
Warren was scoreless in Wednesday’s one-point loss at Maryland and motivated to bounce back on Sunday.
“I really thought about it, if I would have had two points in that game (Maryland), we would have won,” Warren said Sunday.
Fellow freshman Rodney Purvis also rebounded from an off game at Maryland with 11 points, nine in the first four and half minutes on a trio of 3-pointers.
Warren and Purvis were a combined 1 of 13 against Maryland and 13 of 18 against Clemson. (You think location might factor in a freshman’s psyche?)
It wasn’t all Warren and Purvis against Clemson. A late defensive switch to a zone helped in the second half and Howell and Wood made the necessary plays in the final moments.
It was the first time since the Oklahoma State loss on Nov. 18 that Leslie failed to reach double-digits in points. He only took seven shots (and made two) in 35 minutes.
“We need to get him the ball more,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said.
For all of the ups and downs in Leslie’s career, he has only had seven (out of 37) ACC games in single digits and N.C. State has won four of those games.
Clearly, when Leslie and Brown are rolling (see the Duke game), N.C. State is at its best but it’s a sign of progress it found a way to win without the fastball from either. Not that Gottfried is concerned he’ll have to win too many more games with those type of numbers from Leslie or Brown.
“I think they’ll be fine,” Gottfried said. “I don’t worry about that.”
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Two-in-three a challenge for Wolfpack
N.C. State has a short turn-around for Tuesday’s trip to Wake Forest. The Wolfpack lost the back end of both of its two-games-in-three-days sets last season.
The Wolfpack beat Clemson 66-62 on Sunday at home and will play at Wake Forest on Tuesday.
Last season, the Wolfpack beat Miami on Jan. 26 and then lost at UNC on Jan. 28. It then lost an emotional game at Duke on Feb. 16 and got flattened at home by Florida State on Feb. 18.
Four teams pulled off two wins in 13 two-in-three situations last season, two lost both games and there were seven splits.
It’s the only time this regular season N.C. State will have to play two games in three days and one of 14 on the ACC schedule.
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Pack hopes for better result on quick turnaround game
Working in N.C. State’s favor is the relatively easy travel to Winston-Salem and its recent dominance of the Deacons (9-8, 2-3 ACC). N.C. State (15-3, 4-1 ) has won five straight against Wake, including the last two trips to Joel Coliseum by an average of 30.5 points.
N.C. State embarrassed Wake Forest 76-40 last January in Winston-Salem. Wake’s leading scorer, Travis McKie, was held to two points and was ejected in the second half after throwing an elbow.
The game in Raleigh was much closer, an 87-76 N.C. State win, which is what the Wolfpack expects on Tuesday.
N.C. State, the preseason ACC favorite and one of three top 25 teams in the league, has taken on a new role this season. A 51-50 loss at Maryland last Wednesday and Sunday’s four-point win over Clemson illustrated that point to senior Richard Howell.
“It’s obvious that there’s a target on our back, so we have to bring it every night,” Howell said after Sunday’s win. “We just have to keep our confidence up.”
N.C. State Insider (accsports.com)
Wolfpack Responded Well After ‘Beatdown’
Gottfried Not Worried About Depth
Style points aren’t important for N.C. State, which imposed its pace on Georgia Tech by scoring in the 80s and managed to pull out a low-scoring game against Clemson. Regardless of tempo, Gottfried is comfortable using a short bench, even more so than last year, when reserves DeShawn Painter and Alex Johnson played about 20 minutes per game.
Gottfried believes college players are in good enough shape that they don’t need many breaks, and it held true in 1995, when he was an assistant for a UCLA team that won the national championship with a seven-man rotation. Getting into the meat of the ACC schedule, he has been giving only 6-8 freshman T.J. Warren extended minutes off the bench.
Warren can carry a team offensively, as he showed against Clemson, but he’s struggled at other times, notably against Georgia Tech and Maryland.
More and more, Gottfried appears willing to use combo guard Rodney Purvis as the backup point guard when Brown flirts with foul trouble or needs a rest. Tyler Lewis, one of the highly touted freshmen, averaged 12.0 minutes per game during the non-conference schedule but didn’t play against Maryland after seeing only two minutes of action against Duke. In that game, Lewis shot once without making a pass to get the Wolfpack into its half-court offense. He was then slow to switch on a dribble handoff, allowing Seth Curry to hit an open three-pointer in front of N.C. State’s bench.
Gottfried said Lewis is working to become stronger, and he’ll have to prove he can hold his own defensively to become more than a fringe member of the rotation as the season continues. Jordan Vandenberg, the 7-1 junior, is in a similar position of trying to turn the handful of minutes he receives into eight or 10.
Gottfried will rely mostly on his experienced veterans, as he should. They understand what it takes to win in the ACC, and the challenge can become even greater when a ranking is attached.
“I feel like every time we go somewhere, the team’s getting up to play us,” Howell said after the narrow home win against Clemson. “We need to start expecting that so we don’t come out like we did against teams like Oklahoma State and lose games like that.”
One beatdown was enough to learn that lesson.
No. 18 NC State (15-3, 4-1 ACC) at Wake Forest (9-8, 2-3 ACC)
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 | 7 p.m. | Winston-Salem, N.C.
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (14,665)
SERIES RECORD: NC State leads 136-99
LAST MEETING: NC State, 87-76 (2/4/12)
Play by play: Steve Martin Color: Mike Gminski
When NC State and Wake Forest meet on Tuesday night in Winston-Salem, the Wolfpack will square off against one of its oldest rivals. It will mark the 236th meeting in the rivalry, which is tied with Duke for the most games NC State has played against one school.
Most recently, the Wolfpack (15-3 overall, 4-1 ACC) has won five straight against Wake Forest, its longest streak in the series since Jim Valvano led the Pack to six straight wins from 1985-87. Legendary NC State head coach Everett Case twice had 10-game winning streaks over the Deacons, from 1949-52 and from 1954-57.
If the Wolfpack were to post its sixth consecutive victory over Demon Deacons, it would be off to its best start after 19 games since the 1975-76 team began the year with a 16-3 mark.
In last year’s meeting between the two schools in Winston-Salem, State posted a 76-40 victory. The 36-point margin of victory was the second largest road win by the Wolfpack since it defeated Clemson by 40 (112-72) in 1954. Lorenzo Brown led the State charge with 20 points with C.J. Williams adding 15 and Scott Wood contributing 12.
Earl Vaughan Jr. (FayObserver.com)
Basketball, education bring Sidy Djitte from Africa to Fayetteville
Djitte had originally come to America and enrolled in Thomasville Prep. “It was not a good learning environment,” Lattimer said.
The AAU coach knew Northwood had enrolled an African player before and had programs in its curriculum designed to help them. Djitte enrolled at Northwood last season, but was not eligible to play basketball right away.
“It was the third week in January,” Lattimer said. “He came over and sat behind the bench. It was tough for him to watch games.”
He began this fall as a senior. It didn’t take Lattimer long to see that the 6-foot-10 youngster was gifted. “You could tell he had all the physical attributes of a very good player,” he said. “Size, speed, strength. He needed to learn some of the skill sets. Footwork. Post moves. Understanding the game a bit more.”
Lattimer felt the months Djitte spent sitting behind the bench not playing were invaluable to him. “Had he just come and played right away he might not have been able to concentrate on course work,” he said. “Just getting used to American life and culture, putting basketball in the back seat first may have been helpful.”
He was just nominated for the McDonald’s All-American game.
College coaches have frequented Northwood games this season. Djitte already has gotten offers from N.C. State, Connecticut, Clemson, Cincinnati, Old Dominion and Coastal Carolina.
“Everybody watches,” Djitte said. “That’s what I wanted. I have to take my time.”
He is in no rush to make a decision for college. While he feels rebounding and defense are the strengths of his game at the moment, he doesn’t think that’s enough to win him a scholarship.
“I need to work on everything,” he said. “I’ve had good people around me, and they’ve helped me.”
Undecided on college
As far as where he will go to college, he’s open on his choice. “I’m looking for the best choice,” he said. “I want to play, though.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
BEYOND THE ARC: Low scores, crowded courts and a surprise league leader
1. Post Blue blues: N.C. State suffered its inevitable post-Duke hangover on its first 11 possessions, shot a season-low 31.1 percent and failed to box out Maryland center Alex Len on the final shot Wednesday while suffering a 51-50 loss to the Terps. The loss dropped the Wolfpack’s record to 1-13 in games immediately following a win against either Duke or UNC over the last 20 years.
3. License to turn over: Maryland’s Pe’shon Howard played only 14 minutes at UNC on Saturday, but in that short time he still managed to turn the ball over seven times. Combined with no points and no assists, he achieved a stat line that – at 007 – was described by a colleague in the media room as a “James Bond.”
DEVELOPMENT OF THE WEEK
Great defense or inept offense? The answer is probably a little of both. The one thing that can’t be debated is that ACC teams are struggling to score this season. In the first 26 games of the league schedule, there have already been 18 instances in which a team scored fewer than 60 points. That includes five games in which neither team got to 60. Tuesday, Wake Forest mustered only 44 in a loss to Clemson. But that was an offensive explosion to the paltry 36 Florida State put up at Virginia on Saturday. Maryland, meanwhile, has scored in the 50s in each of its last three games, the first time that’s happened since the shot clock was introduced. Maybe the low scores really are just a product of superior defense. But even if it is, it’s been hard to watch.
STAT OF THE WEEK
N.C. State is on the verge of becoming only the ninth team in ACC history with four 1,000-point scorers on the roster at the same time in the same season. Scott Wood (1,242) and C.J. Leslie (1,109) have already reached the milestone. Richard Howell needs just five more points to join them while Lorenzo Brown is only 10 points shy of the 1,000 mark.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Those balls sucked. … There’s no excuse by any means because you will play with 3,000 balls throughout your career. It is what it is, you just have to knock down shots, and we didn’t do that.” N.C. State forward Scott Wood on the UnderArmour brand balls used by Maryland. Most schools and the NCAA tournament use Wilson balls.
Lauren Brownlow (accsports.com)
Three To Look Back At/Three To Look Forward To, Jan. 21
Maryland 51, N.C. State 50
This had “letdown game” written all over it after N.C. State’s big win over Duke last week, but Maryland’s defense shutting down N.C. State’s offense had plenty to do with that letdown. The Wolfpack didn’t score for over six minutes. N.C. State trailed by 10 with 9:34 to go, but it took a three-point lead with 4:35 left. After that, N.C. State scored two points. Maryland has had offensive struggles of its own, and did for much of this game, but in the end, the Terrapins’ defense (and N.C. State’s lack of offensive execution) was too much to overcome. The game, as it turned out, probably said more about N.C. State and the mental hurdles the Wolfpack have to overcome to become elite.
Special shoutout: Lorenzo Brown.
Yeah, it was a losing performance, but the N.C. State point guard took over the game in the second half, scoring 15 of N.C. State’s 34 second-half points (and assisting on five points). Against a tough defensive team, he proved why he is arguably the Wolfpack’s most important player, as he very nearly won N.C. State a game it had no business winning, all on his own.
N.C State 66, Clemson 62
After a loss at Maryland on Wednesday, surely the Wolfpack would blow out a struggling Clemson team at home, right? Not exactly. The Bruising (Brad) Brownells fought valiantly, as they usually do, but had one too many failures down the stretch offensively to capitalize on N.C. State’s inability to pull away. Devin Booker went off for 27 points, but he didn’t take a shot in the final seven minutes as the N.C. State zone defense flummoxed Clemson. Still, the angst in N.C. State’s PNC Arena was palpable, as the fans on hand would have gone into DEFCON-1 in the event of a loss. Fortunately for the Wolfpack, the @PNCWetSpot struck again: Clemson point guard Rod Hall slipped and couldn’t handle the inbounds pass with seven seconds left and N.C. State up just three.
Special shoutout: T.J. Warren.
N.C. State had no bench points against Maryland. T.J. Warren had no points against Maryland. Clearly, he was being sent a message against Clemson as the talented freshman wasn’t even the first N.C. State player off the bench (that honor went to Jordan Vandenberg), and it took Warren nearly 10 minutes to see the floor. Twenty-five minutes and 21 points (on 9-of-11 shooting)and six rebounds later? Yeah. I see you, T.J. Warren.
North Carolina at N.C. State, Saturday, 7:00 p.m.
This game went from intriguing in the preseason (hence the ESPN College GameDay set-up) to a likely N.C. State win, and now suddenly it’s intriguing again. Both UNC and N.C. State have a game in between now and Saturday, but assuming both win (certainly not a given for either team), it should set up a North Carolina team that might be getting better(?) against an N.C. State team that might have hit a midseason wall. Don’t forget, Roy Williams would rather beat State than eat. And in the event of an N.C. State loss, some intrepid soul will be brave enough to ask senior Scott Wood how frustrating and eighth straight loss UNC feels.
Player to watch: C.J. Leslie.
I sometimes wonder if the planet that C.J. Leslie wanders off to in his head during games is the same one that Clemson’s Milton Jennings ends up on, and if so, do the two see each other when they’re there? What do they talk about? (Side note: I watch too much ACC basketball.) Leslie was seemingly mentally elsewhere against Clemson on Sunday and finished with just six points. It was his second single-digit output of the season (the other was in the blowout loss to Oklahoma State), and it was his lowest point total in a home game all season. But Leslie generally shows up for the big games. And Saturday is, indeed, a big game.
Stephen Schramm (FayObserver.com)
ACC Power Rankings: Duke moves back to No. 1
1. Duke (16-1, 3-1)
Last week: 2
My take: Coming very late in the season, Ryan Kelly’s foot injury derailed the 2011-12 Duke basketball squad. Back then, there was too little time to effectively adjust to losing such a vital piece. If there’s a silver lining to Kelly’s injury this season it’s that it happened so early that the Blue Devils may be able to find a way to work around it. Wednesday night’s meeting with Miami will show just how well that process is going.
2. N.C. State (15-3, 4-1)
Last week: 1
My take: N.C. State looked somewhat listless in the two games since it knocked off the top-ranked Blue Devils. I don’t expect that to be an issue for much longer as North Carolina heads to PNC Arena on Saturday. There might be some energy in the building for that one.
3. Miami (12-3, 4-0)
Last week: 3
My take: Remember how we all said that Reggie Johnson’s thumb injury would knock the Hurricanes out of the league title picture? Yeah, about that…
4. North Carolina (12-5, 2-2)
Last week: 4
My take: Not only is it tough to predict which North Carolina team will show up at any game, it appears it’s also a half-by-half proposition too.
10. Wake Forest (9-8, 2-3)
Last week: 9
My take: The list of the most painful losses of the Jeff Bzdelik era at Wake Forest already has quite a few entries. Saturday’s one-point setback at Virginia Tech has to be up there. Wake Forest should have had that one.
Andrew Jones (FoxSportsCarolinas.com)
ACC Power Rankings: Duke reclaims top spot
Offense must have been against the law in the ACC this past week.
It was a light schedule to begin with, as only eight league games were played, but half (eight) of the point totals were below 60 points, two teams were right at 60 and only Duke (73 points) scored more than 66.
Virginia scored a really nice win over Florida State to right its ship, North Carolina took more steps forward and Maryland split with NC State and UNC — the first game a victory in dramatic fashion.
Here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Duke (16-1, 3-1 ACC)
Seth Curry was fantastic in draining 6-of-7 3-pointers to lift Duke over Georgia Tech in a so-so performance by the Blue Devils. In part, it was so-so because Duke is still learning to play without Ryan Kelly and adapting to what Amile Jefferson gives them.
2. NC State (15-3, 4-1)
The Wolfpack didn’t fall to second because of their 51-50, last-second loss at Maryland, but more for not playing well in a four-point home win over Clemson. The Wolfpack’s mantra should have been to blow out the Tigers, who earlier this season lost at Coastal Carolina by 27 points. If not for freshman T.J. Warren’s 21 points, NC State would have lost twice this past week.
3. Miami (13-3, 4-0)
The Hurricanes dodged one at Boston College, winning 60-59. A lot of pundits are expecting Miami to have a “stupid” loss, and that would have qualified. But picking up the W also signals this team is more prepared to keep pushing forward than in recent years.
4. North Carolina (12-5, 2-2)
For the second-consecutive game, the Tar Heels played with passion and intelligence in beating Maryland 62-52 on Saturday. They weren’t strong in the second half, but that’s an easier lesson to get through than trying to get a team to start strong, as that reveals preparation, approach and focus. Reggie Bullock (24 points) and James Michael McAdoo (19 points, 11 rebounds) were mostly excellent.
10. Wake Forest (9-8, 2-3)
Wake Forest is probably better than Virginia Tech, but still found a way to lose on the road in Blacksburg by a point. In part, blame the fact that the Demon Deacons don’t handle close games very well, and for the remote progress they’ve made, it just hasn’t been all that measurable.
Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com)
2013 NCAA College Basketball Tournament Bracket Predictions
NC STATE FOOTBALL
JOSEPH PERSON (N&O)
With Glennon, NFL scout busy sizing up N.C. State QBs again
Questioning former N.C. State quarterbacks about their size has become a rite of mid-winter in lower Alabama.
Last year the Senior Bowl buzz was that Russell Wilson was too small to succeed in the NFL. This year critics are wondering whether Mike Glennon is too tall.
The long and short of it: Glennon isn’t worried about his height hurting his draft status.
“I didn’t miss one snap my two years of starting from injury,” Glennon said Monday following the first day of practices. “I know they hit harder in the NFL. But I’m a tough guy, and I didn’t miss any time. As far as too tall, I don’t think that will be a problem.”
Moments after Glennon checked in at nearly 6-foot-7 inches and 220 pounds at Monday’s weigh-in, armchair personnel directors filled the Twitterverse with opinions about how Glennon would be sawed in half the first time he’s hit by a blitzing linebacker.
“I’ve heard it my whole life,” Glennon said.
But offsetting his 17 interceptions were Glennon’s 4,031 passing yards and 31 touchdowns. He is the only quarterback in ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.’s current list of top 25 prospects.
“I definitely need to make some better decisions with the ball. But we also threw the ball a ton this year. I threw over 500 times,” said Glennon, who believes his greatest asset is his arm strength.
“I can put the ball just about anywhere,” he said. “It comes off my hand real well.”