State Shows Moxy vs Tigers

In 2004, N.C. State lost at Clemson while ranked #15 in the country. Today, State entered LittleJohn with an indentical record and found a way to pull away in the second overtime to win at Clemson, 94-85. The Pack has now won 8 of its last 9 games against Clemson, and 4 of the last 5 in Littlejohn Coliseum.

The stat sheet looks a little weird as the Pack shot a very nice 50% from the field despite Cedric Simmons only attempting six field goals (and shooting 2 for 6) in fifty minutes of play. But, going 15-29 (51.7%) from the 3 point line can work wonders.

The win improves Herb Sendek’s record at Death Valley to 5-5 and State improves to 3-3 on the road for the season. Over the last decade, Sendek is now 11-7 against the Tigers’ program, traditionally the worst in the ACC.

Two trends collided today and one had to bite the dust. Clemson entered the game rated #58 in the RPI — a rating against which Herb Sendek teams traditionally do well (compiling a 44-19 overall record against teams finishing #51-#100 prior to this season). At the same time, the Wolfpack has struggled in close games under Sendek. Today, the “good trend” of being able to beat teams non-NCAA Tournament Teams rated #50 to #100 in the RPI thankfully won out.

With the win, the Wolfpack improved to 5-2 in the ACC and claimed sole possession of second place while improving to +2 in the home v road balance of the ACC. State is 16-4 on the season as the team continues to try to produce better results than the 2003-2004 campaign in hopes to generate a signature season for Coach Sendek. That team lost at Clemson.

General NCS Basketball

69 Responses to State Shows Moxy vs Tigers

  1. VaWolf82 01/29/2006 at 4:24 PM #

    Tough game….good win. If Clemson could shoot FT’s, they would probably be an NCAA team come March.

  2. Chico 01/29/2006 at 4:49 PM #

    Yep. A very good win.
    I think we lose this game if we beat Seton Hall. Seton Hall gave us a needed wake up call. We came to Clemson and matched their intensity today—we might not have had this had we beaten Seton Hall.
    (Props to the Clemson fans for applauding their teams effort at the end of the game—there are not many teams that Clemson plays where that would have happened).
    So lets be glad we are 5-2 with a loss to Seton Hall and not 4-3 with a win over the Hall.

  3. TVP 01/29/2006 at 5:15 PM #

    We got lucky, but we took advantage of the opportunity.

    On two occasions we are down on our last posession and managed to extend the game into an OT, where eventually our superior free throw shooting took over.

    I have to give a ton of credit to Atsur, Bennerman, but especially Evtimov. That was a ballsy move to throw the alley to Ced but it was the right play.

    Clemson would be a great team if they weren’t so horrid from the line.

  4. VaWolf82 01/29/2006 at 5:37 PM #

    Jeff, I think that you meant so say that State was ranked #15 in 2004….I find it hard to believe that State was ever ranked that high in the 2003 season.

    Another trend that seems to missing this year, is the cold start at the beginning of the second half. There have been several games, including this one, where the Pack come out smoking hot after the break. Now if we could just do something about the scoring droughts and the record against the RPI Top 50 😉

  5. Jeff 01/29/2006 at 5:42 PM #

    ^ You are correct. I need to fix that!

    “I have to give a ton of credit to Atsur, Bennerman, but especially Evtimov.”

    All three seniors.

  6. BJD95 01/29/2006 at 7:34 PM #

    I take full credit for this win. I was at the museum with my family all day, and taped the game. I came home to an agitated voice mail from my father, asking if I could “believe this (crap)” – I assume he called with Clemson up 2 and headed to the free throw line to salt the game away. I called back to find out that we had indeed won. Look forward to watching the tape later tonight.

    But, back to the credit. I also taped the end of the CC Harrison miracle in Littlejohn (wife wanted to do something else) – where he missed the free throw intentionally, and the refs didn’t call his blatant lane violation to follow up his miss. That was also an OT win – maybe another 2OT win? Anyway, when I eschew watching live and tape us on the road at Clemson, good and memorable things happen.

    As today proved, it’s going to be damned near impossible not to get 11 or 12+ ACC wins. The question is whether we can max out our potential and be playing our best going into the ACC and NCAA tournaments. A subpar March would be a big letdown.

  7. Sammy Kent 01/29/2006 at 8:44 PM #

    Herb Sendek got away with being an idiot today. This entire game was played the old Herb Princeton style, and we should have gotten smacked. We were lucky today. This game really torqued me off. We could have blown Clemson out by 25 but instead played that stupid spread offense with Simmons nine miles from the basket. Herb never learns I guess. If he keeps this up we’ll be lucky to go .500 the rest of the way.

  8. choppack 01/29/2006 at 8:46 PM #

    I’m surprised no comments on the Mike Wood T on Cam. IMHO, this was huge and totally unjustified.

    I know enough about the inner workings of our program to know that Herb will try to do things the right way. He’ll send a tape the ACC office and ask about this call – and why the always seem to be going against. Of course, Herb – wrongly IMHO – thinks that these refs will change their stripes w/out being humiliated. IMHO, he should call for an investigation into the officiating publicly – suck it up and take the fine. He should be relentless on these officials until we start getting a fair shake. The team, once again, overcame tremendous adversity – and won a game previous teams would have lost.

  9. JeremyHyatt 01/29/2006 at 8:47 PM #

    Cardiac Pack !

    Talk about escape artists, I’m sure we all have negative things to say if we had lost, which was a very real possibility, but the pack would not be denied. Again Evtimov shows how he’s instrumental to this team, and Bennerman is putting his signature on this season. Might we have a go-to guy now? I’ll save my Grant-deportation jokes for next time.

    Nice pulling through on a very important game.

  10. TVP 01/29/2006 at 8:48 PM #

    ^I think that comment is a little off base. To be honest, Simmons didn’t play that well when we did get him the ball. I don’t think we win by 25 no matter what we did – hell we barely won making a ton of threes. I agree that we should have tried inside a little more after Akingbala went out late.

    Herb made a few unusual coaching moves today. Not starting Ced (I presume to keep him out of foul trouble); playing some 2-3 zone (which IIRC had mixed results) and getting Fells some minutes early (I liked it). I have the feeling we may go to a 9 man rotation as it seems Herb is becoming more comfortable with Fells and McCauley.

    Also, anyone else notice that Costner was dressed out?

  11. JeremyHyatt 01/29/2006 at 8:59 PM #

    Sammy – This is just a guess, but maybe Herb wanted to go back to what worked, after being embarrassed by Seton Hall. Notice he also shook up the lineup with Brackman starting and Fells playing early.

  12. choppack 01/29/2006 at 9:00 PM #

    In the post game Herb mentioned that Grant and Simmons were late for breakfast, so they volunteered to be benched.

    I was glad to see Fells get some minutes though.

    Like Jeff mentioned – thinking to next year – we lose a lot. IMHO, the loss we’ll experience after this year, will trump our previous losses. Ilian is pretty solid in the clutch – as are both Cam and Bethel.

    This will be bigger than losing Arch and Grundy, Powell and Crawford, Scooter and Melvin, and Hodge, Levi and Jordan.

  13. paul 01/29/2006 at 9:01 PM #

    i thought that was costner who was dressed out but wasn’t completely sure.

    i liked the early minutes for fells although his production left a bit to be desired (missed double clutch shot and a missed dunk on an offensive rebound put-back attempt). still, it’s good to see him getting some minutes. clearly this means he’s coming along defensively since we all know herb wouldn’t play him if he felt the defense was lacking. mccauley continues to get a couple minutes a game — the game experience could mean a lot down the stretch if ced or brackman get in foul trouble and we need to steal a few minutes in a big game.

  14. paul 01/29/2006 at 9:15 PM #

    just looked over the box score. here’s one to research — when was the last time nc state had two players with a double double? ev went for 22/10 and ced had 12/10 today.

  15. JeremyHyatt 01/29/2006 at 9:17 PM #

    choppack – I’m not so sure. (and by the way, i don’t know if we noticed Levi and Jordan missing really, besides Jordan’s size)

    For one Atsur will still be here leading the team as point guard and with tremendous shooting. Given that Brackman sticks around, the frontcourt will still look very healthly with contributions from Simmons and Costner. And also add this and next year’s freshmen providing alot of depth (e.g. Evtimov Clone Werner, shooting guard Davis). Bennerman and Bethel have been great, but it took their senior season to be healthy and show a developed game. Maybe I am being unnecessarily optimistic, but I think things will be ok. I think it starts with the recruiting, and as long as that continues to incrementally improve we will presistent as an upper-tier ACC team.

  16. BJD95 01/29/2006 at 10:02 PM #

    If it’s “what worked” then we’re in a world of trouble. We needed OVER FIFTY PERCENT shooting from three to beat CLEMSON in 2OT. That’s not sustainable against ANY opponent, and we will face better ones in every round of the NCAA tourney.

    Seton Hall didn’t happen b/c we got away from the princeton crap. It happened b/c we were flat and lifeless.

    Evtimov’s passing was much better today. He played under control, and he is a very good player when he does so.

  17. J.R. 01/29/2006 at 10:05 PM #

    I agree with Jeremy. While losing 3 seniors as good as those guys, we certainly have enough returning to be a top 5 ACC team next season. Now of course this hinges on Simmons & Brackman both returning, which I think they will for 1 more year. We have 3 good freshman coming in, plus the transfer from Pitt (Ferguson). Atsur will be a great senior leader and hopefully Grant will add some smarts to go with that awesome athletic ability. I know someone mentioned the missed Fells dunk, but did you see that kid get up. I didn’t realize how explosive he was. If this years freshman continue to improve, and next years freshman are as good then we will really be in good shape. I feel our recruiting is getting more consistent, and I’m certainly feeling much better about basketball then I am football.

  18. choppack 01/29/2006 at 10:15 PM #

    BJ – I view ACC road wins much w/ the old golf saying – there are no pictures on the scorecard.

    I agree that our D hasn’t been up to snuff so far this year. Don’t know why, but it just hasn’t. However, I think our D was pretty good the last 10 minutes and all of OT this game. Hopefully, that’s a trend that will continue.

  19. TVP 01/29/2006 at 10:36 PM #

    The ACC probably won’t be much stronger next year. Duke won’t suck but they won’t be nearly as good losing JJ, Therapist Williams, Dockery and Melchionni. Maryland has significant losses. Miami probably loses Hite and Diaz. Wake will suck flat out.

    Only GT, UNC, and UVa are sure to be better.

    We’ll need 2 or 3 guys out of Fells, Costner, and the freshman class to play serious minutes.

  20. Sammy Kent 01/29/2006 at 10:59 PM #

    Jeremy, if Herb wanted to go “back” to what worked, he could have looked at the GW game and really, almost every game this season except Iowa. The Seton Hall fiasco was 90% mental and emotional preparation. Today we had the Prince Herb offense we’ve come to know and hate for the last five years–complete abandonment of an inside presence and totally eschewing any fast tempo in favor of a halfcourt set that passed the ball around the perimeter, and depended entirely on backdoor cuts and threes. The sameold sameold lousy game plan that actually was executed about as good as it can be. That should tell you how much it sucks. At its best it will allow a weaker team to stay close…NO MATTER WHICH TEAM IS USING IT.

    Mark my word, if he continues to have Simmons play away from the basket and goes back to this idiotic “five point forwards and spread it out beyond the arc” scheme, this team is going down the tubes in a jumping jack flash.

  21. TVP 01/29/2006 at 11:08 PM #

    “totally eschewing any fast tempo”????

    No offense, but at this point I have to ask whether you even watched the game. We were playing too fast much of the time.

  22. DDrye 01/30/2006 at 1:51 AM #

    Next year’s concern for me will be a backup for Atsur at point guard. I don’t like Grant with the ball and we can’t lose Engin to injury. I do think with Fells and Grant starting, our rebounding problems will go away. Both are outstanding rebounders for wings, an upgrade over Cameron in that area.

    If Grant can gain some poise as a junior and serve as a backup to Atsur, I think the potential is there to have another good year with what could be one of the top frontcourts around.

  23. JeremyHyatt 01/30/2006 at 4:00 AM #

    DDrye–Yes, good point. I see Fells filling that role. Re: Grant, i think we all hope he “gets better”, he plays very out of sync at times. I would also like to see what Larry Davis can do, but that conversation is for another day. Also don’t forget 6-5 “true” combo-guard freshman transfer Trevor Ferguson. (Fells and Grant are both 6-6 in height).

    I just hope we can get some international talent for the class of 07; it just won’t seem right without someone from Bulgaria or Turkey on the hardwood wearing red ; }

  24. class of '74 01/30/2006 at 6:29 AM #

    There are no bad wins but we were fortunate no doubt. A loss could have been devestating and set off one of our patented mid season losing streaks. We have to learn to eliminate the senseless turnovers because we can’t depend on 3 pointers or opposition to miss free throws to bail us out.

  25. Mr. O 01/30/2006 at 7:48 AM #

    Simmons got the ball in the post often. He had trouble with his matchup and he wasn’t very successful down there.

    Of course, if you have a team that can shoot 50%+ as a team from the 3 point line, then only an idiot would not play to that strength since we would have to shoot 75% from inside the arc to match it.

    We shot better than 50% for the first 4 ACC games and then against Clemson. All the Clemson coach talked about after the game was how their strategy was to take away our threes. Taking away our threes, as Duke did, seems to be the strategy that most teams employ to try and slow us down.

    A win is a win so I am not going to nitpick a gutty performance in a tough place. Clemson has a good homecourt advantage as I was quite impressed with their crowd support and near capacity crowd.

    What concerns me most is our defense and rebounding. We rebounded well in the 2nd half, but we have got to figure out how to keep guys in front of us and quite giving up drives in the lane. We aren’t nearly as good defensively as I thought we were early in the season. It has to improve.

    Still, it looks like we will finish the first half at 6-2 and 17-4. I don’t know how anyone can’t be happy with that record. We are in a great position.

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