Pack Holds on in Tuscaloosa

It’s pretty hard to summarize tonight’s 68-64 win over Alabama. It was a strange game, with the Pack not getting to the free throw line at all in the first 39:40 of action. Obviously, that will have to change if NC State is to have a truly successful year. But the team played with a great deal of confidence and poise, answering run after run, never allowing the Tide to take the lead. Tougher opponents and louder venues await, but this was a step in the right direction.

Please post your thoughts on the game in the comments section. I’m off on vacation until December 30. Merry Christmas to all of our readers.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

General NCS Basketball

26 Responses to Pack Holds on in Tuscaloosa

  1. TVP 12/22/2005 at 11:07 PM #

    What a huge win for us. Seriously. If we go on to have a great season, we may well point to this game as the spark.

    To say we were jobbed tonight wouldn’t begin to describe it. I have never seen such one-sided officiating in a game not involving Duke and a directional school.

    If we can win this game on the road with the deck stacked entirely against us, we can beat anyone anywhere. Tremendous poise.

    It’s a good thing Herb coaches this team instead of me. I would have been thrown out at the 12 minute mark.

    Screw Ted Valentine.

  2. PACDADDY 12/22/2005 at 11:10 PM #

    “Obviously, that will have to change if NC State is to have a truly successful year.”…now that’s funny

  3. packbackers 12/22/2005 at 11:31 PM #

    What a huge non-conference road win for the Pack. State did all the little things (going after loose balls, not turning the ball over, etc.) that it takes to win these types of games. I won’t even get into the sorry officiating, if you can even call it that. They showed tremendous poise in not letting the calls (or lack thereof) affect their focus. This is the type of win we have failed to pull out in years gone by…this could be a special team.

  4. J.R. 12/22/2005 at 11:38 PM #

    It’s only “huge” because we typically lose this game, even with Hodge. Nice win, but even ND beat them. Couple quick thoughts: Gavin Grant needs to penetrate more and shoot the 3 less. Brackman needs to do what he did on that dunk at the end more often, he is timid around the basket offensively. Evtimov is really looking like a gunslinger this season and I can’t wait to see hiws matchup with JJ Reddick. Unfortunately, we only get Duke once.

  5. JeremyHyatt 12/22/2005 at 11:47 PM #

    I didn’t see the game because i don’t get FSN South in Boston (although i had a chance to jump a sooner flight to Raleigh last night but didn’t). So I was keeping track of it on

    Well then, we beat a recently top-25 team ON THE ROAD. Sounds like we had matchup problems from the foul trouble and their 4 forward lineup. I think this plays into my comments early in the week of establishing at least one more inside presence besides Ced (and if that means gradually working Ben into the rotation or putting Brackman on a 1/4 inch nails-only diet to to toughen him up, so be it). I’m sure the ACC is full of 6-8 bangers that will wear us down inside, and this matchup issue will show up again. But maybe what I’m saying isn’t pragmatic, (because of our offense system)? I read an article recently about how last year Cedric was frustrated last year and didn’t think he fit, but is glad now he stuck it out. Hmmm..

    Anyway, nice win, go pack. but who is going to replace Julius? just kidding.

  6. SaccoV 12/23/2005 at 1:40 AM #

    What no one has mentioned which is still the biggest concern for the team is that NO ONE scored a basket during the last two minutes of play. Four free throws will NOT get it done consistently against tough opponents like Alabama.

    To comment on the officiating, horrible. Ted Valentine is a joke as referee. I cannot believe that Alabama for five straight possessions upon dumping the ball inside came up with either a two-shot foul or a three-point-play opportunity. I know that State’s big guys are not the best low-post defenders. That being said, there is no way that a 25 to 4 free throw differential can be justified. I knew that Alabama would get the benefit of the free throws as the home team generally does. 25 to 4 is more than lop-sided. It’s atrocious.

    Overall, a nice win and State seems to be improving its road play. George Washington is right around the corner and I’m hoping we carry this success into another tough non-conference at home.

  7. Mr. O 12/23/2005 at 8:25 AM #

    I was able to make the trip to this game. Skip the orginial Dreamland if you ever make it to Tuscaloosa. The Dreamland in Atlanta is much better. I was pretty amazed that a place can make it on selling ONLY spareribs and white bread. No sides. No pulled pork sandwiches. Nothing.

    As far as the game, I thought it was a very good win. We were in control most of the game and we handled their runs with runs of our own every single time. I thought Herb managed our foul trouble well and that he had the team completely composed. That was probably the most impressive thing about our win. The team was completely under control and we had a lot of players make big shots for us.

    Personally, I think the improvement of our sophmore class this year is going to determine how good we can be. Grant, Brackman and Simmons aren’t playing anywhere near their potential, so I still think we have a lot of upside to our play. Atsur, Evtimov, Bethel and Bennerman give us a lot of experience and leadership on the court.

  8. Rick 12/23/2005 at 8:41 AM #

    Great win. We would have lost this game in the past.

  9. Trout 12/23/2005 at 8:42 AM #

    ^ Mr O: thanks for making the trip and supporting the Pack. Herb mentioned the small # but spirited Pack fans that were at the game in his postgame comments, so he appreciated it.

    Positives: On the road win against a solid team. Overcame poor officiating to win. Never trailed in the 2nd half (or first?).

    Negatives: Late game run by Bama put them in position to tie the game. Turnovers and poor rebounding on a FT attempt were the main cause.

    Good win for NC State.

  10. Jim 12/23/2005 at 8:55 AM #

    The refs took us totally out of our game by putting B-rack and Ced (and eventually Ev.) in foul trouble. As great a win as it was, and it was huge, you can’t talk about it without mentioning the refs, who were at best horendous and at worst crooked.

    The line was Bama by 2 or 2.5 on most books. Hmmm. I’m not saying the refs were doing anything illegal, but if there ever was a game where refs were doing something illegal, THAT was the game. Dozens of borderline to bad calls, all going Bama’s way. Whistles blowing at the end before the ball even touched Ingin’s hands. An absurd “jump ball” called at a crucial late juncture. Our key inside guys put in foul trouble, to a large degree by phantom or ticky tack fouls. Our guys getting fouled underneath with never a call (IIRC bama was *never* called for a foul under their basket — think about that). As a team we actually get to the line quite a bit. We are a team that shoots an above-average amount of free-throws per game, notwithstanding what the announcers were saying. It was all very, very odd.

  11. Mr. O 12/23/2005 at 9:14 AM #

    Trout: I wasn’t close to the bench, so Herb wasn’t talking about me. To be honest, I didn’t see many Pack fans at the game, but I am sure there were several in the area behind the bench. There were some Pack fans walking out of Dreamland right when I was walking in at about 6:00 central time.

    Alabama’s campus is very nice. All of the architecture is similar. They have a lot of trees. The basketball arena was also cool. Very lit on the outside. There is a long walk up to the front and the outside blends in with the rest of the campus. Once you get inside the arena, it had an old gymnasium feel to it. It was shaped like Cole Field House (airport hangar). The seating was like Reynolds except imagine the court running perpendicular in Reynolds. The end zone seating was right on top of the court and it didn’t have that many row, just like the sitting on the sides in Reynolds. The sides had a lot more rows, just like the old ends of Reynolds. My guess is that it holds somewhere around 15k.

  12. Jeff 12/23/2005 at 9:36 AM #

    Great win! I’ll take anything on the road at a named opponent that I can get. We NEVER TRAILED. That is two straight games (against fair opponents) that we totally controlled. That is very nice.

    Flashback to Bama BBall Fans Fall Short

    Just curious…since our fans are to blame for so many of our problems…do our fans get credit for the win since we are obviously better basketball fans than Alabama?

  13. TVP 12/23/2005 at 9:37 AM #

    “It’s only “hugeâ€? because we typically lose this game, even with Hodge.”

    I completely disagree.

    It’s huge because the way we had to play in order to win. Just read this quote from Bennerman:

    “In the past, we’ve struggled in these kind of games,” State senior Cameron Bennerman said. “But this has to be good for this team, to know we can come on the road and overcome this kind of adversity. It’s the kind of game, and win, that should pay dividends when we get to the NCAA Tournament.”

  14. Jeff 12/23/2005 at 9:38 AM #

    ^ Aren’t those generally saying the exact same thing? Jeez…we can’t even aree about WHY something is nice/huge.

  15. Mr. O 12/23/2005 at 9:55 AM #

    That is a thread from UNC basketball. We are getting a lot of respect from them.

  16. J.R. 12/23/2005 at 12:12 PM #

    Why would u completely disagree? Jeff pointed out how similiar the comments are. I’m sorry, but being ranked #19 and beating an unranked team doesn’t constitute a huge win. We are better than Alabama, we should beat Alabama 9 out of 10 times, and if our program is headed where we all want it to go then wins like this should be expected, not deemed huge. Like I said, it’s only huge now because we typically have lost this kind of game.

  17. nsj 12/23/2005 at 12:55 PM #

    A hard-fought (against two teams!) victory for the Pack. I was really looking forward to actually seeing it, until…

    (Drifting off topic a bit — please forgive.)

    Did anyone else have trouble with this game been (IMO, unnecessarily) blacked out? I’ve got the ESPN Full Court Package and all of the FSN regional channels and I live almost a thousand miles from the closest ACC school… and for some reason, this game, along with the Wake/Richmond and Florida/Miami games, were blacked out on FSNS and FSNFL.

    Is this a league office thing? Or is FSN just trying to give me a stroke?

    (Back on topic…)

    It was great to see (hear!) the Pack pull this one out. It takes a lot of poise to overcome a recently top-25 team on their home court with officiating that, at best, left a good bit to be desired. I’m fine with letting ’em play, but you have to let ’em play both ways. IIRC, the fouls were running 19-3 in the game, against, with a minute left in the second half, and that’s just ludicrous.

    I did like seeing Herb start to work the officials a bit more in the last couple of games, and I hope that will continue. Coach K doesn’t get the benefit of so many calls because he’s a nice guy — he’s not afraid to work the refs, and over time, that builds up. You can’t ever take the human angle out of this game.

  18. Mr. O 12/23/2005 at 12:59 PM #

    JR: One thing I noticed in the rafter last night is all the banners they have. They have an SEC championship as recent as 2002. They have four straight NCAA appearances with the highlight making the Elite 8. We have 4 straight with the highlight being a Sweet 16.

    I remember thinking that their program is very similar to ours. I wouldn’t describe it as one that we should beat 9 out of 10 times at all. They have an NBA draft pick and one of the top freshman in the country.

    Here is what they have accomplished:
    This(2005) is Alabama’s 18th NCAA tournament appearance. Alabama advanced in 1975, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2003 and 2004 previously. Alabama has a 19-17 overall NCAA tournament record. Its deepest run in the NCAA tournament was in 2004 when it advanced to the Elite 8. Alabama ahs made the Sweet 16 eight times, in 1976, 1982, 1985, 1986, 197, 1990, 1991 and 1992.

  19. Tom 12/23/2005 at 3:30 PM #

    I recall watching (in person) Alabama playing a Sweet 16 game against UNC in Reynolds in 1982. Didn’t we play them in the NCAAs in 1985? If we did then we probably defeated them in the sweet 16.

  20. Class of '74 12/23/2005 at 4:46 PM #

    Not bad at all, a road win over a talented SEC squad. Bama has great athletes but doesn’t play smart at all. With the officiating as one sided as it was Bama should have won but Herb’s boys did what they needed to do. Congratulations and maybe this is the start of something really good.

  21. choppack 12/23/2005 at 5:42 PM #

    I wish we/the refs didn’t make it so exciting…am I the only who is really suspicious about the way some of these games are officiated? In the first and second half when we were looking to pull away, the whistles starting blowing left and right on us. Granted, ‘Bama was in a passive zone, but is there a good reason why the disparity was so great?

    Also, we are now 3-1 against “majors.” 2 of those games were on the road, 1 at home, 1 at a nuetral site. While none of these 4 are big time programs – all should be respectable.

    Finally, any road win against major conference opponent is good.

  22. bcudd17 12/23/2005 at 10:15 PM #

    This was a very good win against a team that proably will finish in top 3 or 4 in there repected conference.officating was horrible but we should be used to that in the acc.I think we need to develop more driving to basket and less 3 point shooting but cant complain overall.ced has to continue to improve his very average post moves.Can herb please teach him to turn left for a change.very easy to scout him at this point.for right now,he is only going to score on put backs and loose balls.I am looking for a special season this year

  23. Jeff 12/24/2005 at 9:50 AM #

    The officiating really did struggle. Go figure, Ted Valentine was on the court. All the more reason to be pleased with the win.

  24. blpack 12/25/2005 at 1:33 PM #

    We’ll take a win on the road vs. a good team any time we can get it. Bama is not great this year, but they will win their share of games. State showed some composure and other than the scoring dought at the end of the game, was consistent in putting the ball in the basket. Still a long way to go, but State looked a ton better than at Iowa and that was what I was looking for. Maybe we should schedule these road games more oftern?

  25. TVP 12/26/2005 at 9:50 PM #

    After rereading, I think I misconstrued your comment. My apologies. Happy Holidays! 🙂

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