A Collapse Narrowly Averted

One made field goal in the last 10:35 will ensure a dramatic finish, even when nursing a 15 point lead in a low-scoring game. Fortunately, Cam and Gavin kept State alive to get to the 2nd OT, where Miami ran out of gas. Despite blowing the big lead, it was great to win a close road game against a good conference opponent.

Can anyone who has the “U” tell us how it LOOKED, as opposed to how it sounded?

Fun nugget – watching SportsCenter before the game, David Thompson made ESPN’s all-time best dunkers’ list at #5. Ahead of him were Vince Carter, Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, and one other guy whose name escapes me.

UPDATE: Dr. J was #2 on the dunking list. How could I forget him?

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

78 Responses to A Collapse Narrowly Averted

  1. choppack 02/09/2006 at 9:35 AM #

    “Do these people not watch any other college basketball games?”

    I think some do. But I also think others probably watch all the state games and little of other stuff. That’s why I pointed out Duke and WVa. I don’t want to put us in the same category – we haven’t earned it yet – but a “W” is a “W” is a “W”. Hopefully, we’ll improve a little bit. I also think that the last 4 games – at Clemson, UVa and UMd at home and at Miami – were hard fought games 3 against teams who can hang w/ anyone….I’ll take 4-0 in that stretch.

  2. Herb is the Word 02/09/2006 at 9:40 AM #

    DELETED – Crap like this has no place here. Contribute to a reasonable discussion, or go back to the sandbox.

  3. Clarksa 02/09/2006 at 9:47 AM #

    Everything changed when Miami switched to the 4 guard offense. That limited Brackman’s time on the floor and we had troubles on defense with that lineup. Everyone of the Miami guards could take us off the dribble, and they hit some “JJ” like threes with a hand in their face. As well as Grant played on offense and the free throw line, he gave up some baskets at the end of the game because the Miami guards are so good. In the end, I think it was more of an “incredible comeback” for Miami vs a “meltdown” by NC State.

  4. choppack 02/09/2006 at 10:06 AM #

    Clark – I’d be tempted to agree but for a couple of items:
    1) The FG drought in the last 10 minutes of the game.
    2) The 2 key TO’s at crucial moments – Ilian’s long pass to Atsur that was picked off and Grant’s errant pass when Atsur was wide open.

    I do think our D has improved signficantly the last 4 games.

  5. Chief93 02/09/2006 at 10:26 AM #

    We really took away their threes most of the game until right at the end. In the first half, the guy flashing off the screen wasn’t staying close enough to the screener or something and they were splitting it a lot. They didn’t get much out of it, but it did kind of create some mini 4 on 3 type situations. I didn’t notice it as much in the second half.

    They didn’t defend us very well on the perimeter, and the price you pay for giving us a lot of open shots is that we might hit them.

    In the second half we were really closing out on their three point shooters and giving up the drives. In the late comeback, they finally started exploiting that. Unfortunately, we stagnated on offense about that same time, so they came back.

    Coming in, I was worried about King on the offensive glass, but I didn’t really notice him killing us until one of those last couple of possessions in regulation and the first one in OT. Those were big, but for the most part it seemed we did a good job on him.

    Another good game for Gavin. A lot of minutes in crunch time. Terrible backdoor pass in regulation redeemed by the great one in OT.

  6. Rick 02/09/2006 at 10:31 AM #

    I am in shock over our record.
    I am in even more shok at how we have gotten there.
    We are not playing well and still winning. If we can peak at the end of the year we could be a dangerous team.
    But in order to do that we have to play 40 min and quit playing not to lose.

  7. Mr. O 02/09/2006 at 10:47 AM #

    The only thing I don’t undestand is the comments about us not playing well last night. We most definitely did play well. Did we pound Miami into the ground? No. But going into the game we were actually underdogs on the road against a good team. Winning the game shows that we did actually play well.

  8. BJD95 02/09/2006 at 10:48 AM #

    Rick described the real conundrum here – it’s a two-edged sword. If we can compile this record while not necessarily playing that well (certainly not in all aspects of the game or for 40 minutes), then what are we capable of if we pull it all together? On the other hand, if we don’t pull it together, what happens in the NCAAT, when after Round 1, we will be playing teams significantly better than Maryland, Clemson, Virginia, and Miami? It is also certainly fair to say that other top teams have had similar lulls (especially Duke).

    I am glad to hear from people who could watch the game that the defense looked better again. That was my take against MD, which would make a 2-game trend of better defense (IMHO, Virginia hust couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean, and our transition D was bad). So, at some points this season, we’ve played good defense, shot well from outside, run the floor when the opportunity presents itself, run good interior sets for Big Ced, and shot FTs extremely well. If we can put that together and play relatively consistent for 40 minutes…

    And to clarify, in case anyone is confused – we are not having this discussion to glorify or bury Herb Sendek. This is a discussion forum to critically analyze a team that will be in a position to make a serious post-season run. If you just want to revel in “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” land, there are plenty of other forums out there for you.

  9. BJD95 02/09/2006 at 10:54 AM #

    O – don’t get caught up in the whole black/white mode of analysis. Every game is not either “good” or “bad” – there are shades of grey. People found positives and negatives from last night, and are discussing both. That’s what critical analysis is all about.

    The offensive coma/scoring drought was not good. The Evtimov turnover (just hold it and get fouled!) was not good. Blowing a huge lead was not good. But it was very good to keep our wits and win the game. Cam and Gavin stepping up and taking the team on their backs for awhile was exceptional. As is becoming a recurring theme, previous Sendek teams would have lost that game. An essential part of being a great team is finding a way to win when the performance is somewhat flawed. But that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t point out the flaws, and hope they get corrected come March. Because I think we all see that this can be a Final Four/Elite Eight team if we do pull it all together. The parts are there.

  10. Eric 02/09/2006 at 11:17 AM #

    Keeping Miami clamped down on their home floor all game would have been a hell of a trick to pull off. They threw everything at us in the last 10 minutes and we still held them off. I would expect their guard play will give Carolina fits, if UNC’s trip to Uva is any indication.

  11. class of '74 02/09/2006 at 11:19 AM #

    Beyond the maddening aspects. When Miami went to the four guard lineup that seemed to give us problems. Does this sound like the Seton Hall scenario redux? Or the Clemson 2nd half? Or Virgina game?

    The quick teams with good guard play seem to be our toughest challenge. If we could fix that aspect then a decent run is possible.

  12. Trout 02/09/2006 at 11:24 AM #

    ^ I think that’s why many hope we are not in Villanova’s path in the NCAA.

  13. choppack 02/09/2006 at 11:33 AM #

    “On the other hand, if we don’t pull it together, what happens in the NCAAT, when after Round 1, we will be playing teams significantly better than Maryland, Clemson, Virginia, and Miami?”

    Well, I’m not sure if those teams are significantly worse than what we’d face in the round of 32. You’re forgetting this conference “worked” the big 10 – as usual -yet somehow they are the 2nd best conference in the land. I think Miami’s guards can hang w/ any in the nation – as can UVa’s. UMd – they’re just a reflection of their coach – rough around the edges – but never quitting and scrappy. I actually think that these are the exact kind of teams we’d face in the 2nd round of the NCAA tourney if we get a high seed. Hopefully, we’ll make those one or 2 plays that have kept us from closing out these games in a less stressful fashion.

  14. Rick 02/09/2006 at 11:43 AM #

    “The quick teams with good guard play seem to be our toughest challenge. ”

    Agree 100%.
    It is a flaw in our recruiting philosophy.
    Speed kills.
    I wonder if we will need more of it to get to a championship caliber program.

  15. Mr. O 02/09/2006 at 11:48 AM #

    Evtimov’s turnover was on an inbounds pass right? He threw a baseball pass down the court. It was a bad pass, but holding it wasn’t an option. You certainly don’t want to see that from a guy with as much experience as Evtimov…a timeout would have been the right call.

    Rick wasn’t talking about a few minutes of a single game. He said that we are not playing well and still winning. That addressed our play overall. That is why I didn’t understand the comment. Did we not play well against Md, UVa and Seton Hall? No, we played horrible actually. But we definitley played well last night as we looked nothing like we have in those three games. We ran circles around them at times.

    As far as critical analysis, Miami went to a 4 guard offense and scored on 14 of their last 17 possessions. In their comeback, they shot 75% from the floor and made 11 of 12 free throws. I understand critical analysis. But in analyzing the situation, there is another team involved with how you play. It isn’t just about what you do and don’t do.

    But, here is what we did once the lead hit 15 pts for the 2nd time at the 10:33 mark:
    Bethel Missed 3
    TO (evtimo)
    Atsur Missed 3 (forced long 3 at the end of the shot clock)
    FG Simmons
    1/2 FTs Simmons
    Missed layup, off. rebound, missed layup
    Missed FG (Evtimov from the left elbow early in the shot clock)
    2 FTs Bennerman
    2 FTs Bennerman
    TO – Evtimov’s inbounds pass
    2 FTs Grant
    2 FTs Grant
    TO Grant – missed Atsur on cut to basket, tough pass and almost hit him
    1/2 FT Atsur
    Missed layup to win the game.

    Results of our last 15 possessions:
    Scored 12 points on 7 possesions
    3 TOs.
    1/6 FGs with one on an offensive rebound

    So many times people look at droughts without us making a FG. We only took six total FGs in the final 10 minutes and 2 were on the same possession. The only bad shot we got the entire time was Atsur’s forced 3 because the shot clock was going to run out. Evtimov’s shot might have been a little quick in the shot clock, but it was a good look from just behind the left elbow so I can’t fault him there. We only turned the ballover 3 times in this 10 minute stretch which is less than our average per 40 minutes of play.

    We averaged .8 points per possession. IIRC, Dean Smith used to say that anything over 1 is good, so we were not up to par. However, we also weren’t terrible either.

    For folks that didn’t even watch the game, it would seem that this type of information would be key to analyze what really happened last night and how we actually performed.

    I do agree with what your assessment towards the end. The parts are definitely there. We can play at a very high level for stretches…a level high enough to beat anyone in the country IMO. However, every team is going to have its highs and lows in games. As far as last night’s game, it wasn’t evidence at all that we aren’t playing well. It was evidence that we have a real opportunity in front of us this year.

  16. class of '74 02/09/2006 at 12:15 PM #

    ^If we “ran circles around them at times” how the heck did it take two OT’s to put them away? We got complacent and as others have said played not to lose and our team is not that superior to get away with that mentality.

  17. BJD95 02/09/2006 at 12:19 PM #

    I only had Tony Haynes’ radio commentary. It seemed like Evtimov threw it downcourt from in play, but it’s hard to contextualize based on radio alone, and our crew isn’t great at painting verbal puctures.

  18. Trout 02/09/2006 at 12:27 PM #

    “Speed kills.
    I wonder if we will need more of it to get to a championship caliber program.”

    Supposedly, Chris Wright is a jet on the court.

  19. choppack 02/09/2006 at 1:07 PM #

    The team speed thing is a huge concern – however, w/ Bethel in the starting line-up now, I think we are a faster team than we were heading into the NCAAs last year.

    Let’s look at who has beaten us this year – Iowa – not incredibly athletic, UNC-Ch – above average, Duke – not incredibly athletic, and Seton Hall – very athletic. OTOH, I’d consider UMd, GW, Alabama and Miami fairly athletic teams.

    My biggest concern is moderate height and but above average quickness at the 3 and 4 spots -see UNC-Ch. This is where we lack speed in our starting 5. As we saw last night, Grant’s role will be huge if we play teams w/ fast personnell – he’ll likely have to move the 4 spot -either moving Evtimov, Simmons or Brack out of the rotation.

  20. Mr. O 02/09/2006 at 1:09 PM #

    Class of 74: We built a 15 point lead against a team that we were underdogs against on the road. During that stretch, our offense was executing to perfection. Back doors, wide open shots, etc…if you notice I used the term “at times”.

    It changed when Miami went to the 4 guard offense.

    We weren’t favored to beat Miami by 15 points, so all in all things evened out as should have been expected against a good Miami team on their homecourt. Basketball is a game of runs typically.

  21. Ken Babb 02/09/2006 at 1:10 PM #

    I got to see the game from about 7 minute mark of the 2nd half to the end. I tend to agree with O’s comment that the comeback was not based on failure by the offense. We could not keep Miami from scoring and from trading 3 for 2. We scored about 10 points during the last 7 minutes of regulation. Scoring at that rate for the game would put you rignt around 60 points for the game. We had 65 points at the end of regulation so our scoring rate did not drop off that much at the end of the game. From the box score and what others have said some of the scoring would have been 3’s earlier in the game, but U’s fouling us kept us from scoring 3 points in any one trip. Meanwhile they were able to bomb in some miraculous 3’s and make up the difference.

    One last point. We ran an absolutely beautiful last play at the end of regulation. Bennerman posted up inside; when he was doubled he dropped it off to an open Ced right under the basket. Ced was a little slow going up for the shot and the UM big man was able to recover and block it from behind, but the called play was perfect.

  22. Clarksa 02/09/2006 at 1:17 PM #

    “1) The FG drought in the last 10 minutes of the game.
    2) The 2 key TO’s at crucial moments – Ilian’s long pass to Atsur that was picked off and Grant’s errant pass when Atsur was wide open.”

    True for the most part, but we did score during the last ten mintutes and the the TO’s were magnified due to the fact it was at the end of the game. Overall, I still think the comeback had to do more with Miami’s good play vs our bad play.

  23. choppack 02/09/2006 at 1:19 PM #

    I thought that Atsur penetrated and threw the good pass to an open Ced?

    That really was a great block by King. I’ll also say that while I thought that the officials played a crucial role in getting Miami back in the game – w/ a flurry of questionable calls – they did a pretty decent job in the last minute or 2 and OT. They swallowed their whistle – which is what officials should do in the wanning moments of a game. Don’t call anything unless you’re sure of it and an advantage is gained.

  24. class of '74 02/09/2006 at 1:21 PM #

    Most of the pundits had us favored not underdogs last night Mr. O. Miami is seen as a dangerous team and place to play not a great team. By the way they did not even fill a 7K arena for us. Miami has a long way to go my friend.

  25. RickJ 02/09/2006 at 1:36 PM #

    74 – not sure what pundits you mean but the ones that have real cash on the table had Miami a 1 to 2 point favorite. The official attendance was listed as 5,179 and our radio crew said this was really inflated.

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