Pack Gets Lackluster Win (Updated 10 am)

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 — all six of them — 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.

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06-07 Basketball General Sidney Lowe

64 Responses to Pack Gets Lackluster Win (Updated 10 am)

  1. Jamie 12/16/2006 at 6:52 PM #

    Maybe they were looking ahead tonight? Gopack says that Trevor and Engin will be available Wednesday. Hope so…

  2. NCStateDud92 12/16/2006 at 7:27 PM #

    Having Trevor and Engin will make us a completely different basketball team. Can’t wait!

  3. Metalhead 12/16/2006 at 7:33 PM #

    I agree, having 8 players is a WHOLE lot better than having 6.

  4. Metalhead 12/16/2006 at 7:34 PM #

    and I didn’t mean that sarcastically.

  5. scoots 12/16/2006 at 7:50 PM #

    I thought Coach Lowe looked a bit frustrated w/ his team’s effort tonight…but I’m attributing that “lackluster” performance, at least in part, to just coming out of exams. Hopefully, they’ll be fired up (& the crowd too) Wed. night against Bama.

  6. stejen 12/16/2006 at 8:12 PM #

    I think there are many things to consider here. When you are thin in the ranks as the Pack is now you have to play conservatively and, lets face it, they had to play “not to lose” instead of going for the win. You have to give these boys a break because they had a lot put on their shoulders the past few weeks. Now that all of that is behind them they can become more aggressive and play more like Lowe would like them to.

  7. #44 17 24 12/16/2006 at 8:23 PM #

    Dont forget, exams dont end until Tuesday.

  8. PackGirl 12/16/2006 at 8:31 PM #

    Where was the crowd today? This seemed to be one of the most poorly attended games yet (seemed worse than Savannah St.). I don’t understand why – good weather, afternoon game, cushy seats…I guess everyone was Christmas shopping (poor excuse). Sid and the kids deserve more support than this.

  9. Lee Fowler 12/16/2006 at 8:46 PM #

    Its time to face the facts that there is a problem with the RBC as our home venue. Quite frankly, it has been that way since the beginning. It is too far from campus for students to routinely show, and it is a pain in the ass for commuting fans. It would make more sense to play 6 or 8 “big” games at the RBC and the remainder at Reynolds, sort of like what Ga Tech does w/ Philips Arena and Alexander

  10. crackdog 12/16/2006 at 9:10 PM #

    Maybe ticket prices are a probem- Face on mine (1 rows from the top, across from the visiting bench) is $19.00. Most folks don’t want to pay that to sit so far away from the court and watch a team picked to finish last in the ACC, no matter how nice the arena. I obviously look at it differently than that, but I bet many people look at the cost through that prism. For a family of 4, thats a total cost of nearly 80 bucks plus $4 drinks and $6 hamburgers. Ouch.

  11. Woof Wolf 12/16/2006 at 9:11 PM #

    Yes, we had a few problems. Defensive rebounding continues to be a major concern, but we were really getting pushed around tonight. They got away with a lot of stuff. We got beat down the court a few times, but that guy was really quick and they were running screens on Gavin all over the court.

    Their game plan was obviously to foul us hard and get us to retaliate and get in foul trouble. Understanding our situation, I thought we did a great job of playing under control.

    All six guys scored in double figures. We shot 56% from the field and 38.5% behind the arc. Costner had a bad shooting night. If you remove his numbers, the rest of the guys were 69% from the floor and 50% from three point land.

    Anyone who thinks we had a mental lapse coming out of exams week obiviously missed the first ten minutes. Did we have a few problems after that? Absolutely. We may have not been in tip top physical shape because of the layoff.

    When (if) we get eight healthy bodies we will be better? Yes. Will we be great? No. Anytime we win by 15 points, no matter who we are playing we should be dancing in the streets.

    This was not a great team we beat tonight, but they only lost at West Virginia by 8.

  12. NCStateDud92 12/16/2006 at 9:15 PM #

    ^the students showed up more than the rest of the fans. W/o all those YMCA kids and the elementary school classes it would have been a LOT worse. There were parts where the crowd was just, straight up dead. I don’t buy the “too far from campus” argument. It is next to C-F, and nobody says that place is too far from campus. I know it is a different situation but it is not that much more of a drive.

  13. Lee Fowler 12/16/2006 at 9:36 PM #

    A Saturday game at Carter Finley is a destination. An any day of the week game at the RBC is a pain in the ass.

  14. c6by66 12/16/2006 at 9:38 PM #

    The place looked about 50%…maybe 30%…but the crowd (me included) seemed like 20%. The post about the first 10 minutes was right on…They guys looked great. They had good transition and got a lot of points by getting the ball down court quickly. It was good to see Neiman get in double figures…that is one kid with HEART…I know we will be better with Engin in the line-up…but as one who watched a lot of the games in ’83 when Whitt was out…the PT that Gavin is getting now is GREAT….McCauley looked like Monster Man…

    Maybe it was the Saturday blahs…but we need to get some noise in the place. St. M was a scrappy little bunch…I thought one time that they were going to keep sending in players to foul just to keep us on the foul line.

    SID did a great job of controlling the tempo and also making sure that things did NOT get out of hand (do you recall when we were DOWN to lesser teams earlier in the year?). When Neiman took the hit in the face and had to go to the locker room, Horner came in and was a Trojan.

    If you listened to the pregame, as we did on the way in, 4 of our starters are in the top 5 based on minutes played. You can NOT take off a week and NOT suffer.

    Alabama will be interesting…but I’m still excited about the team…Love to hear Ole McD and Hungry Like the Wolf.

    SPREAD THE WORD….the Mini Packs are still on sale…they are $100 for 4 games…Eat before you come…before I purchased the LTR seats, I bought both packs each year for my wife’s Christmas (SHE is the BB nut…not me)…

    There were a whole lot of youngsters there…maybe some of the fans with Christmas committment (I passed on a family reunion tonight in the Western part of the state to go to the game) gave away their tickets…

    There is still enthusiasm…we just need to stroke it and keep it alive…This year has been a breath of fresh air…No offense to the Herb Man….but he did NOT generate any excitement….

  15. Clarksa 12/16/2006 at 11:49 PM #

    The game wasn’t that bad in person…yes the rebounding was an issue, but the hustle wasn’t. We also seem to have a problem focusing for an entire game but we put together scoring runs well. We also have to realize we are only playing six, and today, all six scored in double figures.

  16. tvp 12/17/2006 at 1:20 AM #

    Honestly, we are probably just trying to survive right now with 6 guys. I’ll take any win over anybody.

  17. Sw0rdf1sh 12/17/2006 at 8:37 AM #

    I’m not sure I would agree with lackluster, but it could use improvement. With 6 players I’m pretty pleased.

    And again McCauley is schooling. What a blessing after Brackman and Simmons gone.

  18. NCSU4LIFE 12/17/2006 at 9:16 AM #

    7-2 with 6 players we should be estatic. Add a couple of more players in the mix and this of where we could be? We should not expect miracles but what they have done so far is nothing short of amazing.

  19. wolfonthehill 12/17/2006 at 9:38 AM #

    I’d rather be lackluster when we can afford to be lackluster, and sharp this Wednesday night…

  20. legacyman 12/17/2006 at 10:31 AM #

    Be thankful for what we have under the circumstances. Sidney has been a breathe of fresh air and it shows on the court. I doubt if very many coaches could have come in here and be 7-2 at this point. Thank you Sidney, assistant coaches, players and loyal fans.

  21. BJD95 12/17/2006 at 10:53 AM #

    Lowe certainly sounded miffed at our play in his post-game interview.

  22. NCStateDud92 12/17/2006 at 12:12 PM #


    I would love for us to play games at the old gym, but if it is too big of a hassle than give your tickets to somebody else for those games that are a pain to get to.

  23. Lee Fowler 12/17/2006 at 12:25 PM #

    We reluctantly cancelled our season tickets two years ago. Paying $450 per season for two tickets in the 3rd level behind the basket, while having to pay $8 per game to park in the SS Luffenwagen parking lot was a bit much for my family after our son was born. Now we live in TN so it is inconsequential.

  24. Lock 12/17/2006 at 12:44 PM #

    Personally I loved the RBC center. A beautiful basketball venue. Proud to call it home. Never had a problem getting to the games as a student either. But then, basketball season was the highlight of the year for me.

    Somehow I doubt, as much as I love Reynolds, that it would attract many recruits.

  25. ShootingGuard 12/17/2006 at 2:01 PM #

    This was your classic “flat” non-conference game. The crowd sucked, and the players came out and gave what the fans who did NOT show up deserved more than the fans who were there—much less than their best effort of the year…

    Fortunately for us, this came against a team we should beat every time…

    Unfortunately for us, we really don’t have the numbers—even with Engin and Trevor—to come out flat and handle too many teams without fear of suffering one of those bad upsets. If just one of our “key” guys comes out flat and picks up a couple of stupid fouls, the team goes from pretty good to challenged even by lesser teams due to the thin numbers and injury problem.

    I am sure we will come out and play with a lot of energy vs Bama—and, hopefully, the fans will bring their “A GAMES” as well for a matchup with a TOP 10 team…

    I actually worry more about some of those “lifeless” game possibilities vs teams like UNCW than I do how we will compete vs Bama and others like that…A key for me this season is to win all of the games vs the “no names” (although I think UNCW is very capable) while, hopefully, pulling some upsets here or there vs a team like Bama, a BCS school like Cincy on the road, and some ACC teams (considering we were picked dead last).

    It will be nice to get to an 8 man rotation with Engin and Trevor, but keep in mind that Engin will be coming off of injury and will be playing with the type of injury that can easily be reaggravated and/or cause him to play very cautious. Also keep in mind that our “key” players (which is really every one of them) are going to wear down over the season playing the minutes they are despite anyone’s delusions about conditioning because other teams are going to purposely pound on and run our guys to get the advantage (as even MSM’s coach said was his plan coming in). For example, I don’t fault Costner for his effort so much yesterday. He came out early in the second half, even after the halftime rest, totally exhausted and dehydrated. Grant was visibly worn holding his back and leaning over at every deadball for most of the second half. Fells had similar problems at Reynolds, and we will see others struggle similarly throughout the season—you can’t go from playing zero minutes one season to playing close to 40 minutes everynight without a toll being taken on your body. Although, don’t take that as an excuse for the total game yesterday—the guys clearly came out with less than their best mindset and effort.

    That said, I can’t wait for Wednesday vs Top 10 Bama—especially if Engin and Trevor can contribute.

    It should give everyone some serious perspective on our team when you get so excited about the return of a one-legged warrior and a skinny transfer who has never played college ball to “fill out” a rotation of 1 guy playing completely out of position for the good of the team, 3 guys who never really played last year, 1 skinny freshman, and 1 walk-on…But, hey, I am sure Lowe will take an 8 man rotation, at this point, any way he can get it…If nothing else, it certainly bodes well for the future as these “old” guys will certainly welcome the “new” guys coming in next year with open arms and be more than happy to spend some time on the bench for a change while those guys get their chances to play!!

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