Tonight’s Big Game Evolves into Survival Mode (Updated 4:45pm)


The theme that we have attached to basketball this past week is one of major importance for NC State. Sunday night’s win over Cincinnati basically allowed the Wolfpack to hold serve while waiting for tonight’s opportunity to strengthen our NCAA Tournament resume’ with a road game at (RPI #25) Seton Hall.

Over the last two games against Davidson and Cinicinnati, a more energized Wolfpack team showed great significant improvement as point guard Farnold Degand became more effective on both offense and defense while helping the Pack with effective three point shooting when the open shot was available (8 of 16 for the year). But, Degand’s season ending knee injury has thrown water on our parade and now we don’t necessarily know what to expect when the Pack takes the court.

Pack Pride provides some preview information calling the game “HUGE” and Wilmington’s Andrew Jones says that Gonzalez is now the Wolfpack’s key and says,

Unless Gonzalez proves he a vastly different player from the one I’ve seen so far, State is in trouble. In 111 minutes, the Miami native has just nine assists.

Gonzalez, however, has only made a few plays worthy of an ACC point guard. He’s been extremely hesitant, almost timid at times, and hasn’t played with confidence. Gonzalez doesn’t shoot well, almost never penetrates into the lane, and starts the offense way too close to midcourt.

Lastly, ACCNow is discussing the improtance of this ‘home game’ for Brandon Costner; but – as ususal – Gavin Grant steals the spotlight in the ‘quotable’ department.

Asked if the game had special significance for him, Grant quickly quipped, “Nah, I live in the Bronx, man. We don’t even associate with Jersey.”

WRAL-TV has a report on tonight’s game with a focus on Grant but I can’t figure out how to do this damn embedding BS so you can view it by clicking this link.

Updated 4:45pm
Two new links worth posting:
(1) Section Six’s always informative preview

Well, this should be interesting. Of Seton Hall’s top five minutes-getters, no one is taller than 6-5. How they’ve managed the OR% they have, I do not know…probably just a function of the early season schedule seeing as how none of the short guys are very good rebounders at that end of the court; they had a similarly short team last season, and as you can see, they didn’t rebound well offensively…

SHU’s 2FG% defense ranked 292nd last year and currently sits at 259th this season.

Protecting the basketball is going to be huge for us in this one, as that’s really the only leg they have to stand on defensively; they don’t force misses and they give up plenty of second chances, so if we keep the mistakes down we’ll be in good shape for a nice day.

(2) ACCNow says that the Wolfpack is starting a new season tonight in light of Farnold Degand’s injury.

It also might be time to take another run at the Gavin Grant Experiment. Grant, a senior, ran the point with mixed success in Engin Atsur’s absence last season.

Lowe laughed this summer when it was suggested Grant get another turn at running the offense. But if Grant, Courtney Fells, Brandon Costner, Ben McCauley and J.J. Hickson represent State’s five best players, then they should be on the floor at the same time.


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07-08 Basketball

206 Responses to Tonight’s Big Game Evolves into Survival Mode (Updated 4:45pm)

  1. wufpup76 12/27/2007 at 11:12 PM #

    great win!

    lots of positives from this …

    – we beat a big east team on the road (their first home L of the season), and we did it with two young, inexperienced point guards going against a team that presses very effectively

    – both javi and marques had their postive and negative moments, BUT THEY DID A NICE JOB AGAINST THE PRESS … neither player turned the ball over much at all … this is BY FAR the most important thing for this team – our young guards not to turn the ball over

    – we will need for more production as far as points and assists from our young point guards, but this team as a whole has really improved over the last 4 games and our point guards will get nothing but more experienced and better as the season progresses … as long as they are not turning the ball over we can stay in and win games

    – yes, brandon had a subpar game, but he hung in there and got some key rebounds including an important putback … i’m not a brandon apologist, but some of you are overly harsh on the guy and i’m sure you were’nt saying the same disparaging things during last season’s ACC tournament … we do need more from him and his playing time should go down if he’s not productive, but don’t forget WE WILL NEED HIM AND HIS PRODUCTION when he gets it all together … it appears some of you are ready to throw him in the trash pile the same way you were grant last season

    – speaking of grant, he has been pure gold for us this season … he has come up huge on almost every clutch posession in every close game … i sure am glad we didn’t throw him away during last season

    – courtney had an awesome first half and DIDN’T FORCE ANYTHING in the second half … i would have like to have seen him keep attacking the basket but am glad he didn’t start forcing shots when he wasn’t scoring in the second half

    – defensive effort as far as dribble penetration by seton hall was subpar; but the “junk” defenses coach lowe used late in the second half were very effective to take seton hall out of any offensive rythm

    – marques may soon wind up starting over javi … javi kept blowing assignments defensively in the second half and became a liability on that end of the court … this, along with marques effectively handling the press are the primary reasons marques closed out the game

    – all in all, continued improvement … let’s hope it continues

    go pack!

  2. doug74 12/27/2007 at 11:16 PM #

    I’m psyched about how MJ looks out there with Grant and Fells. Should help our perimeter defense even more and I thought, for whatever reason, that they moved the ball better with that lineup. Our guys may not have the quickest feet but their hands cover some ground.

  3. red-enough 12/27/2007 at 11:27 PM #

    I was pleseantly surprised by what i saw from MJ tonight…. he was a 4 star recruit way back when though…. so it’s not totally unexpected. He looks solid and strong with the ball, the two things State needs to be all year long. We’re big enough and strong enough at EVERY position that if we play strong with the ball, the only way to stop us will be to foul us. We’re not going to win many foot-races, because we lack “quickness” (i say it like that, because i believe Courtney Fells would win a lot of 100meter dashes, he’s just not “quick”)…. but we’d win an arm wrestling match against anyone, position by position. We do need to get JJ more looks, but in all honesty, they’ll come….. and he did a wonderful job tonight looking for the trash buckets, those’ll be there all year long for him if he dedicates himself to getting them.

    SOLID, STEADY, PATIENT, and STRONG…. if the Pack can focus on those 4 things…. they’re going to be a tough out for anyone.

    GO PACK!!!!
    and GO Marques…. he looked extremely solid in the 2nd half.

  4. travelwolf 12/27/2007 at 11:32 PM #

    we played some great D at the end of the 2nd half – that’s what one the game for us. esp. that steal under the basket by either fells or grant – amazing! maybe we’ll have a chance against UNC and Duke after all. i’ll be that costner is just waiting for some real competition before he’ll wake up.

  5. Texpack 12/27/2007 at 11:35 PM #

    We looked pretty good tonight. You see the influence of Sidney’s NBA time tonight with the way he was able to ride the hot hand….Fells in the 1st half and GG in the 2nd. Our rebounding fundamentals have improved dramatically. We are boxing out much better. The main thing we need to improve on is being strong with the ball right after a rebound. We need to get the elbows out quickly to minimize the slapping the ball away crap by the opposition.

    When Grant and Fells both play well we are a very good team. I like the way we have stopped forcing the ball to Hickson and let him get his points when the defense allows him deep possessions. As bad as Fells and Grant are when they host Turnoverfest, they are one heck of a 1-2 punch when they’re on.

  6. Mike 12/27/2007 at 11:39 PM #

    Glad to see a nice win. One thing I have noticed is that we tend to play to the level of the competition. We step up for big games, and sleep through the cupcakes. I know the next 3 are cupcakes with lots of icing, but hopefully they will be ready. Don’t know if this is Sid or not, but I remember V’s teams did the same things. We would win the big ones and lose to the Tampa’s and NWSE Directional schools. Sid has a lot of V in him – unfortauntely this may be one of them.

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