NC State 78 Northern State 71

Link to N&O’s game story

Link to Box Score and play-by-play

Link to Section Six’s statistical breakdown that we love

NC State scored 78 points on about 76 possessions, which is a mediocre 103 pts/100 possessions. As you can see from State’s eFG%, shooting wasn’t the problem; it was the high turnover rate that killed the offense. Lowe promised a more up-tempo style, and for this game at least, that’s what we got.

* NC State shot 50% from the field but struggled with 30% from the three-point line

* Engin Atsur didn’t play

* Gavin Grant had 26 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and a steal while playing point guard for the injured Atsur.

* Ben McCauley stepped up with 19 points and showed some versatility with a mid-range jumper

* Courtney Fells made up for offensive struggles (1 of 10 shooting) with excellent play in other facets of the game tallying 6 steals, 5 assists and shooting 6 of 6 from the line.

* Mixed reviews on Brandon Costner in his first game in a year. He look uncomfortable as he shook off the rust while racking up six turnovers and 4 personal fouls. He performed very well on the boards – snagging 8 rebounds. This is very good news as the Pack is going to need a lot of help rebounding this year.

* Brian Niemen – remember the name – stepped in and contributed legitimate time tonight. ( Click here for Neiman’s biography.) At 6 feet 6 inches, Nieman played 31 minutes and contributed 13 points, including 3 of 5 from behind the the three point line. Neiman served as the catalyst for the Wolfpack to end the first half with a 20-0 run to erase an 11 point deficit. You read that correctly; a 20-0 run.

* Dennis Horner played 12 minutes and contributed with good defense. He scored eight points.

We are not going to try to make much of this win for obvious reasons. But, we will say that the offensive production of Ben McCauley and Brian Nieman were very welcome surprises. Before this game, we believed that State would HAVE to have strong offensive outputs from Gavin Grant, Courtney Fells and Brandon Costner to have any chance of winning individual games. To see the Pack find a way to win (regardless of the opponent) with only one of these three players having an adequate night on offense is a pleasant surprise. Factor in the absence of significant impact of the absence of Engin Atsur and there is little to really be upset with here.

Some visitors have posted some comments about the game in this entry and (as of Saturday morning) are now sharing thoughts in the comments section of this entry.

‘Wallacepack’ went through some individual critiques that we are including below:

Fells: He had a tough shooting night, but was great defensively. Only made one shot from the field. His 12 points came from 6/6 free throws and got 6 steels.

Costner: Tough shooting night as well, but got 8 rebounds and a block and a steel. He was the only one that I thought seemed tired. He needs to get back in shape sitting out all last year.

Grant: If he gets injured we are doomed.

McCauley: 19 points, 2 blocks, 4 steels, 6 rebounds. He and grant Garried the team.

Nieman: Wow, great game comming off the bench. 13 points and good defensive presence.

Horner: Got in foul trouble but played well of the bench. 6 points.

Albritton: Albritton started the game but then only played 5 minutes.

I assume Lowe wanted him to handle the point, but then decided to have Gavin run the point instead. We had quite a few unforced turnovers that were due to either careless or rushed passes. I think the team just needed to settle down a bit and get use to the new tempo. There were definately a lot of nerves on the court, and on the sideline. It was great to see Sidney out there. He looked a bit nervous (said he was in the post game interview). Glad he was able to win his first game tonight. Northern State made some great shots and executed well, but we did not execute well for the most part.

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06-07 Basketball General

26 Responses to NC State 78 Northern State 71

  1. MatSci94 11/03/2006 at 11:32 PM #

    “You read that correctly; a 20-0 run.”

    I know what that is. Thats where we don’t score for 10 minutes…wait a minute…WE were the 20 part?? sweet. 🙂

  2. WolfPup35 11/03/2006 at 11:36 PM #

    Workin’ out the bugs, workin’ out the bugs…….Let’s go on and shock not only the ACC, but the nation!!

  3. PhiPackaWhacka 11/04/2006 at 12:00 AM #
  4. BorntoHowl 11/04/2006 at 12:25 AM #

    Absolutely Sidsational! That all important W in the first game (for Lowe) is behind us. Had to follow the game from the StateFans message board. Never once was anything mentioned about a scoring drought! Halleluja! The first game jitters (missed layups and 3’s) will start improving. With Atsur and Ferguson (and hopefully Degand) waiting in the wings, we should have some good upside this season. Looks like Grant and McCauley have taken a special likin to the non-Princeton offense.

  5. HungryLikeTheWolf 11/04/2006 at 12:44 AM #

    “Fells: He had a tough shooting night, but was great defensively. Only made one shot from the field. His 12 points came from 6/6 free throws and got 6 steels”

    Hmm… I don’t think it’s possible to get 12 pts from 6 free throws and 1 made shot from the field.

  6. BJD95 11/04/2006 at 1:08 AM #

    I’m so very glad Sid won his first game (even an exhibition). It would have been a bad headline in the paper tomorrow. I did find myself listening to 3/4 of the game on the radio – something I didn’t do for many REAL games the last few years.

    Sounds like we have our own version of Wake’s Michael Drum. We sure needed him tonight.

    It appears that Costner was a bit lost on the offensive end, but hopefully that will change as the rust wears off. And he did a fine job getting some rebounds.

    Gavin Grant is going to be a one-man show quite often this season. He is going to average around 39 minutes a game.

  7. brown pelican 11/04/2006 at 1:21 AM #

    good start—especially considering how shorthanded we are—check the box score—braxton albritton is the seventh man—a good high school player from broughton who was a will roach type walk-on when he joined the pack—let’s keep our expectations in line with our current roster—go pack!—congrats to el cid and monte

  8. Lock 11/04/2006 at 4:56 AM #

    I will say this…it really, really is nice to be on the GOOD side of a 20-0 run. Excellent to hear…bit disturbing that I didn’t find out about it sooner.

  9. Gene 11/04/2006 at 9:19 AM #

    Transition defense seemed pretty bad. We had way too many turnovers. We had some lazy passes against Northern State’s press, which a more athletic team would’ve probably picked off. Hope this game is a kick in the pants to this team, so the younger players realize how much effort they need to put into every game, in order to win and we can’t expect to win by just showing up.

    Anybody know why Bartosz Lewandowski didn’t play? McCauley played 40 minutes. I can understand if we were going try and redshirt Lewandowski, but I don’t think that will be the case this year.

    I hope our main players don’t run out of gas, if they play too many minutes early on.

    Genuinely impressed with Lowe getting some very good minutes from Nieman.

    Costner seemed to settle for too many long jump shots and wasn’t looking to even try and post-up. Hope this changes, because we need all the easy, close range buckets, we can get this year.

    If the team can play really good defense, like we did during the end of the first half, than we can compete with most teams. If we play good defense for 40 minutes, than this’ll be a very frustrating season.

  10. Gene 11/04/2006 at 9:20 AM #

    Last sentence in above should read: If we don’t play good defense for 40 minutes, than this’ll be a very frustrating season.

  11. choppack1 11/04/2006 at 10:02 AM #

    First off – I think this is a solid win – considering what we’re up against – and that’s no Atsur or Ferguson to provide extra depth and better ball handling.

    It’s nice the Nieman stepped up, but we should watch this w/ caution. Drum was a key player for a miserable WF team last year. Guys like him have had good years in our conference, but usually for bad teams. If he’s a solid reserve for us this year, we may end up having a decent season. If we’re relying on him for offense, look out.

    Hopefully, Costner will improve – last night was his first real game in about a year and a half, so we need to be patient w/ him.

    Bottum line – we’ve got some good players, just no depth, where we’re really in trouble is the post and lack of any kind of speed in the backcourt. Our incoming recruiting class has already addressed both of these issues. Hopefully, Ferguson and Atsur can negate the speed thing w/ some solid outside shooting. It sounds like Sid’s gonna have to get creative in the post.

  12. PackGirl 11/04/2006 at 11:10 AM #

    Sloppy play but very exciting game. Sidney was very animated – he’ll lose some weight this season I bet. Gavin Grant seemed to be very juiced up. Couldn’t believe that cheerleader move he made after falling down after a shot (he sprang back up feet first).

  13. BladenWolf 11/04/2006 at 11:23 AM #

    I’m pleased with our first effort, even if an exhibition game. But we should all take this game for what it is. We played good in some phases (50% from the field) while reckless in other phases (waaay too many turnovers). Any ACC team would have eaten us alive last night after coughing up the ball so many times.
    McCauley surprised me with his offensive output and hopefully will continue to produce like he did last night, however, as I stated in posts before, Fells (1 of 8 shooting) and Costner’s (6 TO’s and 4 fouls) play concern me for exactly what they showed last night, completely uncomfortable with our style of play and unsure of what they need to do on the court to help the team.
    Overall I am happy that Sid and Co. are making progress, but not naive enough to believe this will be anything but an incredibly long and often times frustrating season.
    Give Sid a couple of years to recruit (and get) the players he wants and I think we’ll be okay. Patience is the key. The journey will be long and arduous.

  14. class of 74 11/04/2006 at 11:39 AM #

    They have no depth at all which is NOT Sid’s fault but he must deal with it. This squad has potential but no room for any errors, injuries or foul trouble.
    A winning record would be excellent given what we have now, but the future is sounding very positive on the recruiting front.

  15. BladenWolf 11/04/2006 at 11:45 AM #

    class of 74-
    Couldn’t agree more. I think a winning record would be an incredible achievement given our lack of depth and given the conference schedule we face.
    That’s why it is crucial to have patience as Sid builds HIS squad and the up-tempo concept is absorbed by the players.
    I think if we have a solid (as in winning) season, the recruits will come, and we will once again have fun watching the Pack play basketball.

  16. partialqualifier 11/04/2006 at 11:49 AM #

    It was a moment that I will remember for a long time. Much like when Jim Valvano shuck my hand and posed for a picture many years ago. To sit across from the court from Sidney Lowe & Monty Towe was a great thrill. To look down and see Chris Corchiani just in front of me…I felt like I had died and gone to Wolfpack Heaven! We won the game, but played like I expected us too. Nervous, unsure. At times we looked lost and confused. At times we looked pretty good.

    This team will not be very good. We all know that (even tho I heard some fool scream we want Herb just before we went on that 20-0 run to end the half….he was mysteriously silent after that!). What I am happiest about is the return of NC State basketball in the truest, simplest form. Lowe, Towe, Quinton Jackson, Levi Watkins. These were players from an era where it meant something to wear the Red & White. They all HATE Carolina, and they remember when NC State beat Duke just as often as Duke beat them.
    That means something to me that I could never translate into words. After 15 years of watching this horrible Athletic Department run away from all that was great about NC State basketball, I cant tell you how rewarding it is to see that those who made NC State great are being honored again. I can only imagine that Jimmy V was looking down last night with that amazingly coy smile of his. He had to be thinking….”that lifetime contract might be made good after all.”

  17. BladenWolf 11/04/2006 at 12:02 PM #

    partialqualifier –

    Another good post this morning. I agree that we need to clean out the AD office and return to the time when people were actually proud to wear the Red and White and didn’t beleive we were second rate cousins to UNX and Dook. I was in the seats directly behind our bench at most games (Owen Dorm block seats) my freshman year… 1983 I believe it was… ah yes… 1983. So I am accustomed to winning and I do not apologize to anyone for thinking we can do it again (and getting pissed at those who don’t).
    But now we have Jed Clampett for our AD and a host of other ingnorant baffoons that have no clue about our history and heritage. They simply aquiesce to any pressure and call their own fan base lunatics. How nice. Once we purge these cancers from our system, I think the future for ALL Pack sports will be much brighter.
    Then Jimmy V will be looking down and smiling indeed.

  18. sksr97 11/04/2006 at 1:05 PM #

    As the season goes STATE will do decent as long as we don’t have injury problems. Fells didn’t do bad at all, just missed some wide open jumpers. Costner on the other hand was a liability on defense. That’s where he looked really lost, especially in help-side defense.
    Nieman is going to be a great surprise. He played extremely smart. His defense on and off the ball was excellent and he was very selective in the shots he took (3-5 FG and 13 points). If Nieman can be consistent off the bench that will be huge!!
    Ben Mc scored 19 pts and should have had 30. He missed about 3 dunks and 3 layups!!! He will have trouble with bigger, quicker post players but as the season goes he will get better.
    Ben and Courtney would be a lot further along if they had played significant minutes last year!!!!!!!

  19. StateFans 11/04/2006 at 1:27 PM #

    AWESOME POST, partial qualifier!!!


  20. Gene 11/04/2006 at 1:44 PM #

    As Grant gets comfier handling the ball and with Atsur in the line up, look for turnovers to be cut down. What is the biggest concern for me is the defensive lapses, especially transition defense. NS got back down the court in a hurry and had several uncontested shots. I try to picture if NS was UNC, and the way we played, we’d have been run out of the building. We need to do a better job getting back and not allowing the other team to get easy baskets.

    The half court defense was lackluster for spurts and than was very good for others. We need to play hard on defense every minute of every game.

    I like Coach Lowe’s post game comments, when he said wants to emphasize defense. I hope he can do a better job, as the season progresses of getting his team to play good defense the entire game.

    As our defense goes this year, so goes the success / failure of this team. We don’t have enough scorers to off-set bad defense.

  21. redfred2 11/04/2006 at 1:50 PM #

    Partial, great post, THANKS!!!

    Something is back that cannot be easily summed up in words, or explained to those who don’t know.

    It will take time, but it will return.

  22. dthompson44 11/04/2006 at 2:01 PM #

    Thanks to everyone for their interesting and astute posts on this topic–I concur heartily….

    As a real old-timer (came to NCSU in ’74 in time to see DT’s senior season), I look forward to Sid’s energy, passion, and commitment restoring the Wolfpack program back to the point where, when asked who we root for, I and all StateFans can simply (and proudly) say, “STATE!”
    No explanations, excuses, or apologies need be attached.

  23. Woof Wolf 11/04/2006 at 2:03 PM #

    I just finished watching the game on Pack Pass. I listened to it last night live.

    In the pre-game interview last night Sid talked about Atsur. He practiced on Thursday and looked pretty good. They decided to give him yesterday, today and tomorrow off and then see how he is on Tuesday. He did say it is chronic condition that Engin has lived with for years. He also said that going straight from last season to the Turkish National team and practicing and playing all summer probably aggravated it. He was hopeful that after this rest he would be okay and ready to go on Friday, but also said it may be something we have to manage and treat all season.

    I think all of us believe that if Engin misses a significant number of games or cannot play at almost full speed, we are in big trouble. Sid tried to give Grant a rest last night and we turned the ball over in the backcourt three straight times. Grant had his one minute break and was back in the game.

    As everyone has said, Grant was everything we could have hoped. McCauley was impressive but I’m not sure he’s ready for Hansbrough. Fells played well but could not get his shot to drop. He even blew a couple of dunks. I sure hope that’s a temporary condition. Costner looked lost most of the time. He has talent and I think the coaches will fix whatever is wrong. Horner looked like an inexperienced freshman, but he has talent and I think he will contribute off the bench. Hell, if Costner doesn’t get better real quick Dennis may have to start.

    Nieman was a pleasant surprise. He played good solid defense and shot well when open, but he showed no ability to create his own shot. He wasn’t involved that much in the offense. He hung around the perimeter and hit the shot when someone drove and passed out to him. And remember he was playing against white guys that can’t jump and they weren’t very quick either. I think Nieman will be a solid contributor off the bench, But if we have to depend on him for thirty-one minutes against the more talented teams, we are in trouble.

    If Engin comes back healthy and no one gets injured, we will be eight deep when Ferguson is eligible at the end of December. I agree that a little better than .500 will be a great year. If next year’s class turns out the way we think it will, we could be very good by tournament time next year.

  24. Graywolf1 11/05/2006 at 1:19 AM #

    So will there be any surprises next week, during the signing period? Thomas, JJ, Smith (?) and anyone else? I will be happy if this team plays hard each night and can stay in games…beat teams that are around their level and just learn what Sid wants from them… Get better each week…

    Great job everyone with the comments on the game…

  25. packbackr04 11/06/2006 at 12:00 PM #

    Signing pd starts this week? what is the latest word on SMith>?

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