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.