The following was posted at halftime of Saturday’s game:
Halftime: Miserable, State down 19
It is halftime of the Wolfpack’s ACC home opener vs Boston College and State trails 37-18.
State’s year-to-date formula of playing weak defense and staying in games with offense has failed as the Pack has been unable to shoot well against defense that is better than what we have faced in the first half of the season. Additionally, the first half was just one of those cold spells that happen to teams and our offensive drought was enhanced by a failure to get some of the foul calls (particularly with McCauley) that we have come to rely upon in games against weaker opponents.
Add to the offensive woes the fact that the first half of this game was a microcosm of all of the bad things that we saw in November and December and were hoping wouldn’t bite us once conference play began:
* Poor defense all around. Especially on the perimeter where Boston College, like Wofford, ECU, Cincinnati, West Virginia, UNC-G and others had record performances from the three-point line. BC is shooting 50% (5 of 10) from the three point line, significantly better than their 10 of 27 on two-pointers.
* But, a lack of commitment to rebound from whomever is on the floor not named McCauley and Costner has allowed the Eagles to score points even with poor shooting. State was outrebounded 29-14 in the first half! That is effort and heart. Not a skill problem.
* Brain farts and weak fundamental play from the guy that is postured as the leader of the team, Gavin Grant. You people that only look at boxscores and don’t understand basketball need to give up the stat sheet and start watching someone who fails to block out effectively, mentally zones out on the floor, takes two bad shots for every one good shot, and who doesn’t consistently maximize his physical gifts on defense or on the glass. We’re not trying to be too negative on Gavin…but, if he wants to be the leader that he and others say then he needs to show it by exhibiting 100% effort as much as he can.
The following is some post-game follow-up after Saturday’s game:
* State played better in the second half. Particularly, Gavin Grant played better in the second half. A trend is definitely developing on the Pack’s team – McCauley and Costner are solid rocks who are going to consistently contribute to the best of their ability in every game. Courtney Fells is still developing as a player but is not breaking out yet. All of this means that, ‘as Gavin Grant goes, so goes the Wolfpack’. This doesn’t necessarily mean that as Gavin scores, so goes the Wolfpack. Grant had a poor first half; State had a poor first half. Grant had a much better second half; State had a much better second half.
* The N&O pointed out that Engin Atsur was shaking-off offensive rust on Saturday (while he was simultaneously dealing with foul trouble on the floor). Even though Atsur’s shot wasn’t falling, he played 31 valuable minutes and led the Pack with an impressive 10 assists. The N&O piece was insightful and included some of the following quotes:
State coach Sidney Lowe figured Atsur was operating at about “40 percent,” but 40 percent of Atsur is an asset for a young Pack team needing a leader and a sure ball-handler.
With him in the lineup, the Pack made nine turnovers, a significant reduction from its 16.5 season average.
While Atsur wasn’t the remedy for the migraine headache BC caused, his presence provided a boost to teammates, particularly Gavin Grant. “With Engin back at point, I was able to do a little more,” said Grant, who scored a team-high 22 points operating at forward.
BC outrebounded the Pack 50-30, grabbed 23 offensive boards and scored 19-second chance points. On two separate possessions, they got five shots, scoring on the fifth attempt each time.
ONE SHINING MOMENT: When State switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense in the second half, the Pack went on a 9-0 run. But the Eagles eventually adapted by attacking the gaps and regained the momentum.
TEACHABLE MOMENT: Atsur said older, experienced BC taught his team a lesson: In short, get tougher or get beat. “We have to learn what it takes to win [in the ACC],” he said. “They pushed us around. We should have been much tougher.”
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