Open Thread – Duke Post-Game

I don’t have much blogging energy right now, but please share your thoughts in comments. In short, I thought it was a magnificent game plan to stick it to Duke inside. We damned near pulled it off. Play like that the rest of the way, and we don’t lose again until POSSIBLY the ACC finals.

The angry expression on Big Ced’s face in the last minute – despite having just played the game of his life (so far) – leads me to believe that great things are possible for this team.

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

68 Responses to Open Thread – Duke Post-Game

  1. Chris 01/18/2006 at 9:29 PM #

    We played straight up with the #1 team in the country for 34 minutes. You can’t be dissappointed with that. But if we had had average performances by Atsur, Evtimov, and Bethel we would’ve won. Ced played like a senior and those three played like freshman. Even Grant had 12 points and he’s usually not that good. One very big positive we can take from this is that we can win without shooting the three. The way Ced played tonite and the way he looked after the game…..he’s going to be a special player. This team could go deep into the tourney.

  2. TVP 01/18/2006 at 9:33 PM #

    I just got home from Cameron.

    I concur big time on the gameplan. Duke was focused on denying the 3, so we just kept blowing by them on the drive. Frankly, I was shocked at how much more athletic we were than Duke – there was absolutely no one that could guard Gavin Grant (who played maybe his best game of the year).

    Our boys were not in the least bit intimidated by the crowd. For most of the game we were the aggressors.

    That somewhat flukey sequence that resulted in a 6 point posession for them was really the backbreaker – but even then no shoulders slumped or heads hung…6 points was just too much to overcome in the last 3 minutes.

    I really, really, really wish we had a return game with them – we’d win. No way Duke goes undefeated: We just showed the gameplan on how to beat them.

    Thank God JJ Redneck will be gone after this year. I am so sick of him. Despite the ton of attention we paid to him, he still scored a ton.

    The only real downside (besides losing) is that I’m afriad NBA scouts are going to take serious notice of Ced now. Please, we can’t afford another Josh Powell!

  3. smile 01/18/2006 at 9:47 PM #

    The inside game was a real surprise. But, like UNC game, folded when it mattered….no field goal last 6 minutes or something?

  4. Slader4881 01/18/2006 at 9:47 PM #

    If we could just play well in the last 5 minutes of the game we would be undefeated. Surprisingly I am not mad at all. I’m really proud of this team and I think we learning a lot from each loss. If anyone wants the book on how to beat Duke they will watch this game film. Our D was great and JJ did not beat us which is the name of the game in playing the Dookies. Duke caught some lucky breaks in the 2nd half and it was just the way the ball bounced literally. I see great things from this team if they continue to grow. This game showed that Ced is our horse. If we can play well around him and keep him on the floor it is real tough for us to lose. I know Shelden is the media’s best big man in the ACC, but Ced is right there and even out played him tonight. If we play them again I see another tight game coming down to the end. One more thing, I really want to give props to Gavin Grant tonight. He was playing how he should’ve been playing all along. He was aggressive when he needed to be, but was also under control. Herb has this bunch of guys going in the right direction.

  5. Rick Jernigan 01/18/2006 at 10:13 PM #

    Dang good effort tonight. Duke really defends us differently from other teams and this makes for a very different type game. I thought missed free throws in the second half hurt us again much like the UNC Chapel Hill game.

    Did anyone catch the elbow thrown by Eric Williams in the Wake vs. Georgia Tech game? An intentional foul was called but he wasn’t tossed from the game. I doubt it but he could be suspended for our game.

  6. VaWolf82 01/18/2006 at 10:15 PM #

    Since I asked for dribble penetration earlier today, it would be silly to complain now. Dribble penetraton is not State’s strong suit, and it showed at times. However, based on watching a good number of Duke losses since Sendek but in this offense, I still think that the game plan was sound, State just came up short.

    This type of offense would also work against the defense that UNC played in Chapel Hill. Toinight’s game plan will give Roy a few more things to have to prepare for before they travel to Raleigh.

    I can’t say enough good things about the big guy in the middle. What a player! It’s a shame Big Ced didn’t come along in the 80’s when you could virtually guarantee that everyone stayed at least three years. I hope he comes back to Raligh. But if he does, it will not be because he has to. Cedric passed a huge test tonight….he has two more big ones against the other Williams….Eric.

    The thing that stood out to me immediately, was that State wasn’t setting up on offense at the halff-court line. Too many games in the past, State’s players would try to back up and get away from the defense….but Duke’s players would just keep following. Then a telegraphed pass would be picked and returned for a dunk. Tonight’s turnovers were easier to take in that most of them didn’t lead to layups.

  7. JeremyHyatt 01/18/2006 at 10:16 PM #

    i missed the first half due to class, imagine my surprise when i checked the score at halftime to see we were leading by 1!

    I don’t want to say it is a pattern or may be a pattern, but what is up with us not scoring in the last few minutes of the game, like Chapel Hill. It may be a Duke thing, they have a way of pulling away towards the end against Wolfpack teams.

    There was an article on cnnsi with a quote of where someone asks Sheldon Williams what he thinks about Cedric Simmons and answered “who is that?”. I hope you remember who he is when you see us again in the ACC Tournment you fathead. omg he looks like a burn-out who should have turned pro last year. I laugh at him. I saw a series where Ced let him go by, and then blocked his shot from behind.

    Where was one series where Grant pulled down the rebound from a free-thorw but then lost it, i believe it was right before the 6 point trip. I knew it was a deciding moment and cringed, and was thinking he is a good raw player but need more body control. the fact you guys are saying he played good in the first half gives me hope.

    I think this team will learn alot from this loss, will get even more hungry, and run over the rest of the ACC schedule. But damn so close yet so far away..

    It is just me or is Ced’s stock rising from game to game? See you Saturday vs. Wake Horrest.

  8. SaccoV 01/18/2006 at 11:16 PM #

    Tough loss because the guys played so well despite Duke defending the 3. To reiterate, my biggest concern is scoring down the stretch. Whether it’s the line or the three, this team needs to find a way to get some points late in the game. I’m not totally concerned with scoring from the field, IF we’re driving to the basket (as we did successfully the entire game). Consequently, this team will be a tournament team and could be a Final Four threat if they play with this type of poise for the rest of the season.

    Word is now out and Duke is vulnerable. Off the drive, teams with solid drivers can get Williams into foul trouble and create opportunities for shooters. Miami and Ga Tech will give Duke some fits later in the year.

    Lastly, take a good look at Cedric Simmons. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be seeing him for much longer in the Red and White!!!!

  9. NYBri 01/18/2006 at 11:16 PM #

    Let me say right off that I’m a Duke grad. ’74, and am a fan…but State played a great game and exposed a weakness that can be taken advantage of in the future against my team…INSIDE…INSIDE….INSIDE. State is to be congradulated for a fantasic game and had it not been for a three by Sean Doughtery and a following three by Melcheoni….they might have walked off with a W.

    If this game had been played in Raleigh, it would have been different.

    I think we’ll meet again in the ACC finals. Great game, Pack. My nail are bitten to the nub.

  10. blpack 01/18/2006 at 11:29 PM #

    Great game plan executed by the Pack for 35 minutes. It is hard for this club to get over the hump vs. good competition when trailing. By the same token State is hard to catch when in the lead. Duke did a good job of taking away our 3s. Ced was great tonight and the other sophs were good too. Outscored 19-4 down the stretch. Maybe one day. I’d like to play Duke again. We have the team to finish at least 2nd this year and use those wins to gain a good seed in March. We’ll see if State can get it done.

  11. JeremyHyatt 01/19/2006 at 12:16 AM #

    Hmm.. I am tired of hearing people hint that Simmons will leave for the NBA after this year. It would be stupid. If he continues this he will get recognized but this is his first productive year. If it is the matter of “striking while the iron is hot”, believe me the iron will get hotter if he sticks around. Plus he would benefit from the seasoning, and move even higher up in the draft. I think the longer he stays, the longer and more prosperous his career will be in the nba. Look to Timmy Duncan, not Josh Powell.

    I love how cnnsi’s articles are talking again about how Dockery come up clutch and they are still unbeaten and wonderful. Not how NC State was the second team this year to give them a serious run for their money. Oh well we’ll keep that to ourselves.

    Not to be a hater, but I will be rooting for UNC when they play at the Dean Dome.

  12. class of '74 01/19/2006 at 7:02 AM #

    Went to the game last night and I came away with 3 thoughts:
    1. We can go toe to toe with ANYONE.
    2. Ced Simmons will be our next All American. He played a complete game both ends of the floor. So nice to have a productive inside game for a change.
    3. We lack that true point guard that can set the table in crunch time. This is the only negative in a night with so many positives.

    Am I disappointed? Yes, but certainly not discouraged. The team showed a lot of determination fighting toe to toe with a very good Duke team.

  13. Jeff 01/19/2006 at 7:30 AM #

    I was at the game last night…am a little too busy right now…will have something later.

    I’m torn…not sure if I can promote the “good effort” mantra when we ultimately lost by 13 points because of a collapse at the end in a loss to one of the better teams that we play on our schedule. Sound at all familiar after 10 years?

    We must prove our toughness by bouncing back vs Wake. Going 0-3 against the Big Four (used to be) completely unacceptable.

  14. Mr. O 01/19/2006 at 7:55 AM #

    Jeff: We played a Duke team that is off to their best start in the history of their program. We do need to beat Wake, but even that 1 single game isn’t all that important.

    What is important is for the team to continue developing to be ready for March. With that goal in mind, I don’t see how anyone can’t be proud of our effort last night and excited about the rest of the season.

  15. BJD95 01/19/2006 at 7:57 AM #

    Down the stretch, we didn’t panic and start jacking up wild 3s (which is what I expected). Shelden made a great individual play to block Big Ced’s shot, then Ced had another good shot rim out. Duke made their FTs and went up 8, and it was lights out from there. The final score was quite deceptive. I admit this is more subjective than I like my analysis to be, but it didn’t look like the typical NC State collapse, and was not in the same category of the last 3 minutes played at UNC.

    Bottom line – we need to come out and shit-can Wake on Saturday, like we are entirely capable of doing. And we can get our revenge when it really counts – in March.

  16. Mike 01/19/2006 at 7:59 AM #

    Congrats Pack on a great game. I do not believe in moral victories, but going toe to toe with #1 in their barn, Cameron no less, shows the ability of this team. Final score does not show the effort or the chance we had to win this game. We are not supposed to win at Duck. Heck, look at the entire conference – any win on the road in the ACC is a good win, no matter the opponent. Gave Duck all they wanted and more – we win that game in Raleigh. No shame in that loss, we were not supposed to win. I guess Williams knows Ced now. And I agree with Hyatt, Ced please for YOUR sake stick around. Half a season does not make a solid NBA player. Continue to improve and work hard, play 2 more years, and after your 4 years at State, you will be ready for a long career in the league. Leave now, you might still have a long career, but just as easily could have a cup of coffee and be gone. 4 years in college, Ced could be another Karl Malone type player at the next level.

  17. Mr. O 01/19/2006 at 8:11 AM #

    BJD95: Not to mention, we had a rebound on a missed free throw that Gavin and Ced fought over and lost the ball to Duke. Then Duke made the 3 pointer, almost air balled the free throw that bounced off the front of the rim directly back to the free throw shooter and they made another three.

    Ced missed a shot down low against McRoberts that was key and then Shelden made that nice play on the block.

    I don’t think we played bad at all, Duke just has veteran all-american players ready to win those games. The guys on this team aren’t quite there yet. Getting there is a learning process and sometimes you have to lose these games before you can win them.

    Duke is essentially a team of McD AAs. One of their best players is a walk-on at Duke after receiving a scholarship offer from Herb Sendek. How much of a luxury is it that you can get key players like Lee Melchionni to walk on to your team and take recruits directly from your key rivals.

  18. Eric 01/19/2006 at 8:26 AM #

    Ced really played great last night, but Len Elmore correctly pointed out one of his weaknesses. He let Williams set up too far down on the block. He’s going to have to start forcing other big men to set up further out. BTW, thank God for no Dick Vitale, I could actually leave the sound on while watching.

    However his post moves on offense are getting better literally every game, and he’s got soft hands and can hang onto the ball in the post really well.

  19. Alpha Wolf 01/19/2006 at 8:41 AM #

    Games are forty minutes, two sets of twenty. They are not 37 in Chapel Hill, or 34 in Durham.

    What I saw was the same ole same ole — a State team collapsing down the stretch and not finishing what it started.

    Yes, they played well for the vast majority of the contest. But moral victories are for losers and State lost last night…so enjoy the moral victory if that’s what gets you through the day. Further, the Wolfpack missed a great opportunity for the basketball program to step up and announce that they have returned to the national stage and are to be reckoned with.

    Until State wins this sort of game, they are not back. No matter how good the defense, no matter how raucous the crowd, the PAck simply must fill the net the last 300-odd seconds of the game. That they have not in their most important two road contests of the 2005/06 season does not bode well for the future and rest of the season, but the contrary — State is not finding a way to win in the face of adversity.

  20. Mr. O 01/19/2006 at 8:42 AM #

    Ced doesn’t have a lot of mass to force a guy like Shelden off of the blocks.

    Ced’s post moves to his left hand are what has me afraid that he is a top 10 pick already. He has improved so much this year already.

  21. Sammy Kent 01/19/2006 at 8:44 AM #

    I’ll be honest, fellas. I can’t comment on the game. I was at church last night and got home in time to watch the last five minutes, which were apparently the worst five of the game, since we got outscored something like 14-3 during that span. After the game I rolled back the video tape to the beginning of the second half, and watched about seven minutes before having to conk out for the night. Frankly, at least for those seven minutes, I didn’t see anything wrong with the playing or coaching or attitude or nothing. I was extremely pleased and impressed with what I was seeing (except for a couple of calls, but that’s normal). I’m really looking forward to watching the game. In the meantime, I’ll just read what y’all write.

  22. Mr. O 01/19/2006 at 8:46 AM #

    Also, Gavin Grant’s play gives me a lot of hope. He might be the toughest matchup on our team of any of our perimeter players. He can finish with either hand like Julius and he is a very good athlete. He played great last night.

    It will be interesting to see if Grant and Brackman start to take more of Evtimov’s time as the season goes on. The improvement of our sophmore class might be the key to the team this season.

  23. Big Skid 01/19/2006 at 9:18 AM #

    Great performance last night but again in crunch time Herb clams up like a Chesapeake CLAM. Does Herb have any set plays at the end of the game for players like CED who was having an all american game? There is a reason Herb is below 30% against UNC, Duke and Wake. And you saw a repeat of that last night. Maybe Herb can petition the NCAA to cut off the last 3 min of the game? Huummm?

  24. BJD95 01/19/2006 at 9:20 AM #

    Mr. O – you are right. They do need to take more of Evtimov’s time. As the level of competition increases and the game speeds up, Evtimov’s production (assuming heavy minutes) declines. You’re more likely to have no hiccups vs. Sisters of the Poor or the lower rung of the ACC with Evtimov playing 30-35 minutes. But against top teams, and in order to make a deep run in March, Grant and Brack give us a better chance.

    The problem with being too down based on the loss is that there aren’t enough data points this season – the rest of the ACC after Duke and State isn’t legitimate Top 25 material, IMHO (and thus, we won’t get to see if this “not finishing the deal” becomes a running trend for THIS team). And I will give you that we gagged down the stretch in Chapel Hill. That was a bad loss. In THIS game, we did all the right things, and just came up a bit short. It was the kind of game that makes you a much better team in March. And in basketball (given that you’ve sufficiently taken care of business early – which we have done this year, for a change), that’s what really matters. It’s why I don’t have fond memories of the 2003-04 “meltdown” season where we had twin chokes against Maryland in the ACCT and Vandy in the NCAAT.

    The players on this team seem to have much more mental toughness than past Sendek teams. As long as THEY aren’t treating the game like a moral victory (and indications are that they aren’t), I won’t get too worried. And there’s a big difference in calling last night’s game a “moral victory” (which I don’t) and trying to keep a single January loss in proper perspective. Trust me, I’ll be plenty critical if NC State flames out in the first weekend of NCAA play or reverts to passive “live and die by the 3” offensive play.

  25. VaWolf82 01/19/2006 at 9:23 AM #

    There are problems and lessons to be learned from wins…and often there are brignt spots in losses. Everyone has touched most of the bright spots and problems. Two bad finishes in close games is the start of a trend that I really don’t like. Going inside to Ced is one that I do like….a whole lot.

    But it’s way too early to draw far-ranging predictions from either the good or the bad. Those people predicting double digit conference wins, did not include @ Cameron as a win. However, I expect that most people would project a win agaisnt WF in Raleigh.

    Speaking of WF….they showe me more last night against GT than I have seen so far this season. Should be a good game.

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