Well, the one benefit to staying inside wrapping Christmas presents was the opportunity to listen to the Pack’s 80-65 win over Mount St. Mary’s.
Hopefully, it was just an exam-related hangover, because the Pack was mostly sloppy and ineffective. State’s transition defense sucked, and the defensive rebounding (against an undersized and poor rebounding team) was even worse. After falling behind 20-6 early, the Mountaineers actually outplayed the Wolfpack for most of the rest of the game, getting as close as 3 before NC State pulled away late.
The always-analytical Section Six tells us that Saturday’s game was Bryan Neiman’s best statistical game of the season and Brandon Costner’s worst of the year.
Is there a pattern to the team’s performance as it relates to Gavin Grant’s workload? This is something I’ll be keeping an eye on. I’m not putting any stock in these numbers yet, because Gavin’s high workload games have come against the toughest part of the schedule, but here’s what we’ve got so far:
Grant %Poss Under 30.0: 4 games (Woff, Del St., Sav St., Mt. St. Mary’s)
Grant’s Average %Poss In These Games: 24.7
NCSU Average Offensive Efficiency In These Games: 118.5
Grant %Poss Over 30.0: 5 games (Valpo, G-W, Mich, UVA, WVU)
Grant’s Average %Poss In These Games: 32.5
NCSU Average Offensive Efficiency In These Games: 105.2
The N&O’s blog said:
Every N.C. State player â€” all six of them â€” scored at least 11 points in the Wolfpack’s 80-65 win over Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. Courtney Fells led the Pack (7-2) with 16 points, including a critical 3-pointer when the Mountaineers (2-7) made it a three-point game early in the second half.
The Mount gave State trouble with a 2-3 zone and on the offensive glass. They finished with 20 offensive rebounds, compared to eight for State, and with an overall 39-34 rebounding margin.
The Pack made up for the boards discrepancy by shooting 56.3 from the floor (27 of 48) and by making 21 of 28 free throws, compared to seven attempts for Mount St. Mary’s.
Saturday marked the fourth straight game senior guard Engin Atsur missed with a hamstring injury. That’s why the Pack has had to go with just six players.
Even though State shot fine from the floor (on Saturday) without Engin Atsur, the Turk’s return and ability to shoot the three will play a major impact on the Wolfpack’s ability to combat zone defenses. The N&O also ran a very nice blog entry on the importance of Engin Atsur.
One silver lining – Sidney Lowe will have no problem getting his team’s attention heading into Wednesday night’s home tussle against #9 Alabama. Hope to see everyone there and hear you get loud.