The ‘Degand Difference’ – State wins on road vs Big East’s Marquette

NC State 77
Marquette 73

NC State avenged last year’s painful last-second loss to Marquette with a resouding second half performance to advance to a surprising 6-1 record this year. State’s win ended Marquette’s 24 consecutive home win streak vs non-conference opponents.

With no disrespect to the performance delivered by Tracy Smith, Javi Gonzalez, Dennis Horner and Josh Davis (9 pts; 6 rebs; 2 steals in 16 mins), the difference in this game was the play of Farnold Degand who made his 2009-2010 debut for the Wolfpack. Degand entered the game with just a few minutes to go in the first half and the Wolfpack’s struggling offense started to find its footing. State ultimately scored only 25 points in the first half and went into halftime down 11 points with things looking bleak.

But in the second half, Josh Davis helped spark a defensive turnaroud and the Wolfpack successfully leveraged the offensive options provided by Degand for an explosion unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time. The result was 17 second half points for Tracy Smith and a hot Javi Gonzalez that ended the afternoon with 15 as the Wolfpack scored 52 points in the second half (despite missing a ton of free throws).

After committing eight turnovers in the first 15 minutes of the game with Julius Mays flanking a shaky Javi Gonzalez, Degand’s sudden presence served to secure the ball and balance the floor and create options for the red & white.

If we may toot our own horn for a moment — SFN has been stressing the absence of Farnold Degand in recent posts, going so far as to call out Degand in the title of our blog entry following State’s loss to Northwestern. (Link)

Tonight was a night when you could really see where Farnold Degand could help this team. His athleticism, length, quickness and shooting ability are all superior to those of Julius Mays. I love Julius Mays and appreciate his contributions to this team. But that doesn’t make my statement about Degand less true. Who knows the impact Degand could have had on both ends of the court if he was playing.

Of course, nothing is easy with the Wolfpack; leading by double digits with less than two minutes remaining, State proceeded to miss a multitude of free throws and allow Marquette a ton of free points that ultimately made the game much closer than it had to be. After leading 63-49 (our largest lead) with 5:28 remaining, we converted only 6-of-15 from the free throw line, which allowed Marquette to cut our lead to four. For the afternoon, State as only 10 of 20 from the free throw line; but was 7 of 12 from the three point line for 58% after Tuesday night’s miserable 11% vs Northwestern.

As one of our community members highlighted – ‘the difference between a Mays/Williams backcourt and a Javi/Degand backcourt was roughly 22 points today’ – which includes the Wolpack’s meltdown at the end of the game. At the two minute mark of the game, the point differential was approximately 30 points in Mays ~15 minutes vs Degand’s ~22 minutes.

We had a great conversation during the game in this entry if you would like to review the blow by blow.

Don’t look now…but NC State is building quite a nice little body of work for the year. Before today, the Wolfpack had played the 39th toughest schedule in the country and was sitting at #29 in the RPI. Winning on the road at (currently #66) Marquette certainly won’t serve to hurt State’s positioning. Of course it is grossly early in the year, but with solid non-conference opportunities like Arizona and Florida remaining on the horizon, NC State is at least currently ‘playing for something’ — which many people did not expect to be the case.

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09-10 Basketball

46 Responses to The ‘Degand Difference’ – State wins on road vs Big East’s Marquette

  1. wolfpackattack89 12/05/2009 at 6:07 PM #

    Congrats Pack! This will be huge for the Pack come NCAA/NIT time.

  2. PapaJohn 12/05/2009 at 6:07 PM #

    Did not see this one coming … maybe, just maybe we’re better than I thought?

  3. ncsu05mit10 12/05/2009 at 6:07 PM #

    The difference between a Mays/Williams backcourt and a Javi/Degand backcourt was roughly 22 points today.

    Glad Degand is out of the doghouse, b/c I think the NW game might have gone our way otherwise.

    I don’t see Mays getting much more time this year, and hope Javi’s injuries will be minimal.

  4. Sweet jumper 12/05/2009 at 6:11 PM #

    I said this on another thread-but here goes again
    Big win! Our best lineup was Horner, Smith, Javi, Davis and Degand. Our free throw shooting down the stretch was terrible, but I will take any win at this point and be happy. Javi is a tough kid and continues to improve. He is the team leader so we all need to get behind him and keep him positive. Sid is looking pretty smart on Josh Davis. He has a great attitude and plays hard and hustles his ass off. He is probably playing the best all-around of all the new players. I have to admit that Degand made a big difference in the second half. His quickness and defense were critical. Go Pack!
    On a side note, I saw John Wall today for the first time and he is the real deal. Sid was right to be the first one to offer him a scholly before anyone knew about him. He was also right on Cousins and Favors. Oh what could have been, if even for one year!

  5. MrPlywood 12/05/2009 at 6:46 PM #

    Sweet J, I watched some of the KY/UNC game too, and was wondering what it would be like to see a State team push the ball up the floor like both those teams were doing. (Even though both teams were getting sloppy, especially KY.) Well I got my wish in the second half. Pushing the tempo really worked today, got the team some nice open looks and some easy baskets inside. The defensive effort was much improved. It was a pleasure to watch, even when Marq started nailing some prayer 3’s and State was missing FTs. Scoring 52 in a half will win you a lot of games.

  6. Thinkpack17 12/05/2009 at 6:47 PM #

    They attempt to trap Javi in the halfcourt, he reverses his dribble swings it to Degand who explodes against a recovering defense to the hole for a lay-up. The commentators gush:

    “Ha! It’s pretty tough to trap when there are two ball handlers out there.”

    We had two “ball handlers” on the court the whole time…but Mays does not look to attack (and he shouldn’t). How great was it see MU using two players to shade Javi once the ball came out of his hands…trying to ensure he didn’t get it back. Up until now teams have been welcoming a Javi led set. He’s really put in the work, his handles have really improved.

  7. RickJ 12/05/2009 at 6:47 PM #

    This is the 10th game Degand has played for NC State when he was healthy. If I could change anything about Lowe’s tenure here, it would be to have a healthy Degand for the 2008 season.

  8. FunPack 12/05/2009 at 6:48 PM #

    Great win! I’ve only seen us twice this year, this game and against Northwestern, so I’m glad we showed such promise in the second half today. I agree that Degand came up very big, but I still think that Davis made the difference in the game. His defense and surprise offense were completely unexpected. Davis just oozes energy and hustle. I hope he gets more time and can keep improving. His free throw stroke needs a lot of work but he’s a very good athlete with great upside.

    Some good things:
    -Degand and Davis as mentioned above.
    -Smith was an absolute BEAST in the 2nd half. Rebounded, scored, dished, and played better (if not great) defense.
    -Javi, CJ, and even Mayes hit huge 3-pointers on kickouts from inside.
    -Horner hustles pretty well too and his points were critical.
    -Loved the way we attacked the basket late in the game after breaking their press.
    -Defense was night and day above the NW game, in the 2nd half. Lots of deflections and steals. ESPN boxscore had us with 14 steals. Not sure if that’s correct, but either way it was amazing to see.
    -Wood played well despite the poke in the eye. But Davis replaced him at the end and played better.
    -Excellent adjustments at halftime. Another key difference in the game.

    Some not-so-good things:
    -Mayes is struggling. I don’t want to get down on him, because we will need him this year. He hit one huge 3 but otherwise seems to be struggling to get into it. He looks slower this year, to me.
    -Our free throw shooting at the end was pretty bad. Horner, Javi, and Davis all missed FTs that would have made this a 2-digit win.
    -We struggled on defense, especially interior, in the first half. I thought we looked outmatched inside early. Picked up in second half but still needs work.
    -Howell was pretty much a non-factor in limited minutes. Needs time.
    -We still need more offense from CJ. He seemed passive on offense for most of the game, though did get a few much-needed points late.
    -Too many unforced turnovers in the 1st half. 2nd half much better.
    -We need better minutes from Painter. Good athlete, quick feet, good size, but caught out of position too many times on defense and missed too many layups / 2nd-chance baskets. Hurt us on defense with fouls. He will have better days.

    Overall I’m very happy with the win and hope we can play like this more often. We will be up and down with so many youngsters being counted on for important minutes. But the potential is there to be better than the past couple of years. I love the competitiveness of this team, the hustle and the positive energy. Been many years since I felt that way.

  9. LRM 12/05/2009 at 6:52 PM #

    Great win.

    We have shoot free throws better, especially down the stretch. After leading 63-49 (our largest lead) with 5:28 remaining, we converted only 6-of-15 from the free throw line, which allowed Marquette to cut our lead to four. That has to improve, because 50% won’t cut it (see: every Clemson team of the past 15 years).

  10. Thinkpack17 12/05/2009 at 6:53 PM #

    Horner’s first half scoring kept us afloat until we got our crap together. Scott Wood show a little toughness after MU got their Brandon Spikes on, hit a couple shots. He tried to show us he’s not pulling our leg about being an athlete on that dunk.

    I still say he was fouled.

  11. choppack1 12/05/2009 at 7:06 PM #

    This is a huge win for Sidney and this team. Last year, we didn’t close these out.

    I’d like to add some more but Sweet Jumper pretty much covers it.

  12. wolfonthehill 12/05/2009 at 7:31 PM #

    I was totally floored by that 2nd half… I’d love a few more pleasant surprises this year… about 14 more. 🙂

  13. TheWolf 12/05/2009 at 7:40 PM #

    I think Sidney made the right adjustments at halftime (getting the ball to Smith more often and getting out of the 1-3-1 zone). Degand did make a huge difference, but I am really impressed with Javi’s progression. He is averaging almost 7 assists a game. He also hit some big shots. Javi is the key to this season.

  14. Texpack 12/05/2009 at 8:15 PM #

    Wow. After the first half, I had the over/under on our points at about 55. Josh Davis was the spark on defense that gave us a chance to win. Tracy Smith made really good decisions in the 2nd half to key the offense. This was the blueprint for how we can win games. Tough D that creates a few easy baskets and lots of hustle. I second the kudos for Horner’s first half scoring and how it kept us within striking distance. Absolutely a great win. Now it’s time to Hook ‘Em Horns.

  15. Barman 12/05/2009 at 8:57 PM #

    Great game, one aspect Id like to see us improve on is obviously FT shooting down the stretch. On that same note, protecting a 10 point lead with 2 minutes to go, Josh davis has no reason to be on the floor as he is a liability at the line. Sid could have helped us down the stretch a little if he had our best ft shooters out there or at least subbed offense for defense and vice versa. other than that, great second half!

  16. papackman 12/05/2009 at 9:07 PM #

    Congratulations Wolfpack!! Well done!!

  17. Gene 12/05/2009 at 10:17 PM #

    “Josh Davis was the spark on defense that gave us a chance to win. ”

    Davis had a very good game, but don’t forget Scott Wood had a stretch early in the second half, where he got 2-3 steals in a row. We didn’t convert many (or any) of those into points, but he really was active on defense to start the second half and it did help get us back into the game.

    What was impressive is our comeback came from very aggressive pressure defense. I saw us do this in spurts against NW, but never really sustain it like we did against Marquette.

    Hope we can play that way for the rest of the season.

  18. theghost 12/05/2009 at 10:25 PM #

    Fantastic. What a difference a guard makes.

    Also, special thank-you goes out to John Wall – even if he didn’t come to State, at least he was good for something… UK68, holes 66.

  19. Wulfpack 12/05/2009 at 10:32 PM #

    Congrats to the Pack! That’s the kind of win we’ve been looking for. Showing some good signs this year.

    John Wall made a couple of moves that were beyond NBA material. He’s a freak. Cousins, though, is a work in progress.

    Another big win for the ACC tonight as Wake took down the mighty Zags. Going to be a fun year with so many teams up and then down.

  20. MrPlywood 12/05/2009 at 11:01 PM #

    re: Wall – he also had his “stuff” put back right in his face when the Heels were applying pressure late in the second half. I was conflicted in this game – I hate the Heels, hate Calimari. I couldn’t decide who to root against.

  21. MA Wolfpack 12/05/2009 at 11:43 PM #

    This was a great win for the team. It’s amazing what our offense can do when we make open jumpers. I’m not talking about contested jump shots either…I’m talking about wide open shots like the one CJW and Mays made after Smith kicked the ball out. We have to knock those shots down to have a chance to win and we have to continue to bust our butts on defense. Very happy to get this one.

  22. Rick 12/06/2009 at 12:40 AM #

    OUr three guard rotation should be FD, JG and CW. JM should not see the court.

    Big win.

  23. ncsufan23 12/06/2009 at 2:04 AM #

    i know this is off topic but I was in the locker room at the Dail Center this morning and saw that Bartosz Lewandowski has a locker in there. Does anyone know what is going on with this?

  24. theghost 12/06/2009 at 2:26 AM #

    positives I saw in this game –
    -saw Horner getting involved some in handling the ball and setting up the offense – helped open up some things, and seemed to have a stabilizing effect on the offense (lacking in NW game)
    -Degand taking minutes from Mays – whatever lesson Sid was teaching, I guess it worked. I hope Mays improves, but he is completely lost out there right now.
    -rotation – we’re starting to get some flexibility – with Degand, Wood, CJ, Howell, even Davis – with the kinds of lineups and matchups we can create, nice 9-man rotation
    -growth – lots of upside for this team to get better as Painter, Howell, Wood, Degand, and Vandy develop.
    -Horner – I’m starting to like Horner like I liked Grundy.

    concerns – 1) turnovers and free throws, 2) 3 pt defense, 3) ability to match up with bigger lineups, and 4) how quickly things could get bad with an injury to Smith, Javi, or Degand

  25. wolfmanmat 12/06/2009 at 8:20 AM #

    As bad as Sidney got crucified on this board for recruiting and signing Josh Davis, Josh was THE reason we won this game. He has a great motor and while he is far from polished on offense or defense, he is big and strong and works harder on the court than any pack player has over the last 5 years. It was nice to see the enthusiasm from a home-town kid who is excited to be out on the court. He needs to work on his shot…he missed a couple cheap ones in the first half, but he and Degand have just solidified lots more PT.

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