State comeback falls just short in 73-70 loss to Clemson

Watching the Pack come all the way back from a 21-point first half deficit to get within one point of the Tigers was a lot of fun and showed me a lot about the character of this year’s group, but it still stings to lose another close game, especially at home.

Here’s the box score. The most glaring thing from the box is the performance, or lack thereof, from Javi Gonzalez and Dennis Horner. Two points, two assists and four turnovers, combined. Thanks for showing up guys. Sheeessshh.

Here’s some other things I noticed from today’s action. Some of this stuff has me more positive while some of it has me raising my eyebrows.

Julius Mays and Farnold Degand are no longer liabilities.

I must admit, I didn’t see this coming whatsoever. At the beginning of the year I thought both Mays and Degand would see limited action backing Javi Gonzalez up and sparing CJ Williams here and there. In the last few weeks the exact opposite situation has unfolded. Degand and Mays have played consistently again and again and have earned the minutes they’ve gotten recently. They are both still good for a bonehead play here and there, but who on this team isn’t? It is NC State, right?

Something is up with Javi Gonzalez.

Gonzalez hasn’t played very well for a couple of weeks now and didn’t again today. Actually, let me rephrase that. He played awful and what’s even worse is that he didn’t looked like he cared all that much. In his post-game interview Sidney Lowe hinted that something has been going on but said he didn’t know what it was. He also said he didn’t feel comfortable having Gonzalez or Dennis Horner on the court during NC State’s run in the second half. Javi needs to play better because State needs all the depth it can possibly have, especially at the point guard position.

Richard Howell is turning into a player, quick.

He’s not quite there yet, but he’s getting closer every game. His double double performance today — 13 points and 12 boards – was an impressive thing to watch and his defensive effort against Trevor Booker (who is most certainly a first-team All-ACC player) was commendable. Once Howell gets a bit stronger with the ball and more confident on the offensive end, he has a chance to be special.

There is the potential for quite a bit of fallout from today’s game with regard to the starting lineup. Lowe changed things up with the insertion of Farnold Degand last week and more changes could be on the way. I would not be shocked if Mays and Howell start Wednesday night against Duke. In reality, why shouldn’t they? IMO, they deserve to.

09-10 Basketball

51 Responses to State comeback falls just short in 73-70 loss to Clemson

  1. Octavian 01/16/2010 at 7:09 PM #

    Horner should be 8 or 9th in the rotation. Give him 10-12 minutes a game. I’m sorry but he just cannot get it done at this level.

    Time to start playing for the future.

  2. Rochester 01/16/2010 at 7:22 PM #

    It’s not just the future that benefits from playing Howell over Horner now. I think the present improves quite a bit with that change. Horner has had some solid games. Today sure wasn’t one of them. But at his best he’s not going to be logging many double-doubles or doing what Howell did today.

    Javi looked angry today when he was in the game. He actually looked like he wanted to commit fouls when he was in there. Maybe he wanted to notch something in the stat sheet besides a turnover. If his head’s not on straight he needs to sit.

  3. Wolfy__79 01/16/2010 at 7:39 PM #

    i see that out of javi each game. whether it be lazy defense on an inbounds play, getting beat and committing a reacharound foul… he just loses his concentration. at worst, i think mays/javi/degand will make for avg guard play the remainder of the season. of course, javi could see him getting passed up and have a problem with it personally. i really doubt that, both he and horner were cheering their asses off on the bench… which was very good to see them support the younger guys. i think horner will be able to come into the game and give a lift whether he starts then sits after a few or comes straight off as a bench player. he looked okay to me today. nothing special, but keeping him satisfied with ten minutes or so will be very useful. howell coming off the bench has sped his progress up tremendously.. he really wants to be out there. i would like to see him go up stronger, but today against booker he showed alot of promise….

  4. Clarksa 01/16/2010 at 7:52 PM #

    I was able to watch the game from the end zone closer to the bench today rather than my usual couch or mid court on level three and noticed several things…

    1) The crowd was great in the 2nd half…very much had a feel of a big time basketball game.

    2) Missing early point blank shots really hurt the confidence and overall effort in the first half…not to mention helping to dig ourselves a 21pt hole.

    3) Coach Lowe was frustrated with not only Horner and Javi, but the entire team at one point in the first half…they were not doing a damn thing he told them to do.

    4) To me, it seems like every time we made a run in the first half, some kinda foul called on us broke our momentum.

    5) Coach Lowe worked the refs the whole game…he just doesn’t scream and cuss at them like K or Roy.

    6) Every time one particular ref made a bad call, he would hide in front of the basket so the students couldn’t abuse him.

    7) It really is a shame we beat them on most every stat yet come up with a loss…but I guess someone once said stats are for losers.

    8) The basket was in between me and the Howell block at the end…would love to have seen it.

    9) During a time out, a little coed in front a few rows in front of me starting giving her boyfriend a show…that was fun to watch.

  5. ryebread 01/16/2010 at 7:55 PM #

    Before the year started, I said we’d start the season with a line up of:
    Wood (or JT if JT were healthy, which it doesn’t appear he is)

    I thought by the time ACC play rolled around we’d see Howell replace Horner in the starting line up. CJ’s play has disappointed me (he’s just not aggressive enough). Degand’s has been a pleasant surprise and he’s getting much deserved minutes. Javi and Mays are about where I expected them to me (though Javi had actually looked better earlier and has seemingly regressed).

    I think we either need to press, play up tempo and play a lot of guys, or reduce the line up to 8 and play more possession oriented. I’d prefer the former because I think it makes scoring easier (which we struggle with in the half court). If we do slow it down though, my 8 man rotation would be Mays, Degand, Wood, Howell and Smith as the starters with Javi, CJ and Horner coming off the bench.

  6. MA Wolfpack 01/16/2010 at 7:57 PM #

    I think you keep starting Javi and work with him a lot in practice. Mays is solid off the bench so I’d hope that starting Javi is the best chance to get a positive contribution from him. He can help us in games when he plays well.

  7. ms termeaner 01/16/2010 at 8:30 PM #

    Today it is keep Mays and Degand ? The other day it was Mays acan’t see the floor and Wood is better than JJ? We have had this problem for 4 yrs now we are consistently inconsistent!

  8. choppack1 01/16/2010 at 8:31 PM #

    I’ve given Lowe a hard time, in the past, but I had no problem w/ his lineups in the 2nd half and how he managed the game down the stretch.

    By the way – the block on Howell at the end was pretty clean. We had a couple they didn’t have to call on us, but Grant’s block was actually pretty much perfect.

    We got a great look – Clemson just made a play and we didn’t. This so tough for this team – but I really think if we can stay positive we can accomplish some pretty good things this year.

    We’ve improved our athleticism a ton and for the first time since Lowe has been here, we’re rebounding pretty well.

    Oh yeah – Mays was really good in the 2nd half today. Hopefully, he can build on this.

  9. Sweet jumper 01/16/2010 at 8:36 PM #

    In the first two minutes it was obvious that Horner could not guard Booker. I was screaming for Howell and he finally was put in at about the 5 minute mark. He is rounding into shape nicely. Don’t forget that he is coming off of knee surgery prior to the season, and I think he is still not in optimal game shape. He has tremendous upside and should get most of Horner’s minutes for the rest of the season. I do not know how to explain it, but Mays has been a key contributor the last 3 games. I would have never predicted that after his performance against Florida and in some other early season games. Degand is also very strong while CJ continues to fade away. We did get jobbed on several blocks late in the second half run by Wood, CJ and Tracy and Booker got away with innumberable pushoffs before scoring throughtout the game. I noted also that the ref hid from the end zone fans behind the basket during timeouts. I was screaming for our trainers not to give the refs cups of water during the timeouts! I don’t mind if the refs are bad but they need to be consistently bad and not one-sided bad. We got homered on our home court. I hope the lineup next year is Harrow, Brown, Wood, Howell/Leslie and Smith. Great second half effort spurred by the Fat Albert dance. First half was horrible and inexcuseable. I need to start going to road games and give my home tickets away if this continues. We need to punish Duke after these last 2 home disasters. Go Pack! Sorry for the stream of consciousness post.

  10. GAWolf 01/16/2010 at 8:48 PM #

    We need a consistently good point guard and we haven’t had one with the exception of maybe Gainey’s senior year since probably Corciani.

  11. Clarksa 01/16/2010 at 9:01 PM #

    ^to prove your point…about point guards…I point you to the UNC-CH Tarheels who look mighty, mighty, average with an average point guard…and Roy looks like an average coach with an average point guard.

  12. ADVENTUROO 01/16/2010 at 9:02 PM #

    I was in the my usual perch in the Champion’s Club. It was a really DISAPPOINTING first half…right up to the end when we gained momentum. The second half was unbelievable. The crowd, as other posters have stated, really DID come alive. The crowd was REALLY into it. The pep band was twice as large as before. There were 6 Sousaphones (the BIG instruments…they are NOT tuba’s) and TWO rows of trombones…

    The student body was great.

    CLARKSA….Did you get any pics or videos of the coed….THAT did NOT make the JUMBOTRON…

    There was also a SMALL percentage of CLUMSUM fans there. Usually, you see a LOT of the other team’s colors…NOT TODAY…

    During Sid’s post game comments, he commented on a couple of questionable calls, but said that Howell’s BLOCK was clean….and that it sort of surprised Howell.

    The fouls were fascinating….for a while, I thought that Hess was calling it…but it was exactly EVEN.


  13. NJpack 01/16/2010 at 9:10 PM #

    One thing you can say about Sidney Lowe is that the man has not caught any lucky breaks – we are showing some heart this year and have been one contributing player away from three more wins(today, UF, and Arizona). Imagine if we had Lo Brown in the rotation this year instead of CJ Williams. Imagine if Degand never had his ACL set back and JT had healthy knees. We’ve had zero margin of error to be successful in these rebuilding years and of course bad luck has hit us every year in the Lowe tenure. I certainly don’t blame the coaching staff for Brown not qualifying, there are more guys than you can count who are on the borderline each year. Hopefully Cothorn sees we have upside and will sign his LOI in the spring. Go Pack!

  14. NJpack 01/16/2010 at 9:33 PM #

    Hopefully Lowe’s press conference quotes about being disappointed with certain guys means he will tighten up the rotations. The backcourt definitely looks like Degand/Mays with Javi sprinkled in for 10-15 minutes a game, I think Javi will come around and we all hope sooner than later. The front court is a no brainer: Howell/Smith/Wood with small doses of Horner/Vandenberg/Davis off the bench. Really JV/Davis’ PT depends on our shooting night – if we have three guys out there who can score, then you can put in JV for rebounding and shot blocking. Davis can get his 3-5 minutes giving Wood a breather. Please don’t let CJ Williams out on the court again, I’m sure he is a nice guy, but as O’Brien says, this is a performance based organization. Or at least it should be.

  15. JEOH2 01/16/2010 at 9:41 PM #

    Someone Reported Earlier That Some In The Crowd Gave A Standing Ovaition For Team’s Performance. Is This The Case? If So, It Was Well-Deserved, Nice Gesture By Our Fans to Support How Our Team Played Today…We Need That Positive Energy In Our Toughest Game Of The Season Wed…

    I Believe What Is More Important Is HOW We Play Against Duke, Then The Outcome Of The Game (Which Isn’t Very Favorable For Us)…Energy, Effort, Intelligence…We Showed That In The Second-Half Today…I Don’t Know If Any ACC Team Wants to Face THAT NC State Anytime Soon…

  16. leewolf 01/16/2010 at 9:56 PM #

    The crowd (those that were still left right after the game) did give the team a standing ovation, and I was right there with them. It sucked losing, big time, but the mere fact we had a chance to win after being down by as much as 20 or so is a testament to the players and the coaching staff and how hard they are working. Howell, Wood, Mays, Degand, and Smith all had good games overall and those five are probably the best five at this point. Horner is off-and-on, we need more than that from him, and Javi…I just cannot figure it out. A few weeks ago, he looked poised to be one of the better PGs in the league and now he has gone into a complete slump.

    Today’s game didn’t change my assessment that this team can probably still win six games in the league. I’m hoping one of those next five will happen over the next three games, mostly likely either @ UMD or UNC at home. We’ll see. I’m starting to feel like “next year” might actually be the year we have been waiting for.

  17. Clarksa 01/16/2010 at 10:01 PM #

    Yes, those that were left gave a standing ovation as they left the court.

  18. Wulfpack 01/16/2010 at 10:05 PM #

    From what I have seen out of the ACC so far, I think we can win 6. Maybe even a game or two more. The league is very down, and we are playing much better as a team. I say anyone left on the schedule is beatable. Disclaimer: You must play basketball for 40 minutes, not 20. We’ve got to get more consistency going to be a factor. In this league, one bad half can bury you, as it did today.

  19. NJpack 01/16/2010 at 10:27 PM #

    We have to believe that we CAN beat Duke, a big part of that is playing the guys who believe that from start to finish. I think after this game it is clear who should be sitting more. I give Lowe the benefit of the doubt to this point concerning the rotations as we have a lot of guys around the same ability level and he had to see how different guys responded in game situations. Now it’s clear that Horner and CJ are not ACC ready. Javi should be sitting more. We don’t need to go 10 deep if we’re playing a half court offense. It’s not inconceivable that we go 6-6 the rest of the way in ACC play, which would qualify as progress. And then we have our best backcourt in 20 years coming in next year. Lowe’s coaching ability will look a lot better when he has ACC level players. I know it’s been his job to get those players, but like a previous post said, it really does feel like wait until next year is finally accurate.

  20. Rochester 01/16/2010 at 10:41 PM #

    Give our roster to Roy Williams and see what our record is. He’s got a bunch of highly recruited players and is 12-6, 1-2 in conference. We are 12-6, 1-3.

    One thing about Sid is he never gives up on a player. Most of the rest of us have left Javi and Mays for dead a couple of times over. He seems to pull something out of them, though it’s not consistent. I bet Javi still has some contributions in him, but for right now he needs to earn his minutes back.

  21. ThomYorkepack 01/16/2010 at 10:45 PM #

    Good observation by SFN about the Farnold Mays backcourt. They were both assets on the court today, Mays with his ability to score, and Degand with his speed and quickness. And neither was turning the ball over, unlike 4 TOs in 10 minutes Javi…

    I LOVED what the team showed in the final 20 minutes. Here’s the thing–that kind of effort and determination for 40 minutes needs to become a hallmark of Lowe’s teams. We haven’t seen that kind of inspired play around here in a long time. That was Duke-like, Michigan State-like COMPETING from everyone on the floor.

    The disappointing thing is that State could have won today. We had some chances on the offensive end…Wood missed some open looks. Howell didn’t go up strong enough down 1.

    Horner and Javi have some soul-searching to do. Do they want to play or not? If they don’t start playing a lot better, they are going to find themselves buried on the bench.

  22. CStanley 01/16/2010 at 11:49 PM #

    Something’s always up, every year, with one of our players.

    And I’m tired of losing to Clemson.

  23. redwolf87 01/17/2010 at 1:32 AM #

    My mind definitely goes back to the UNC-G game where Sidney and Towe were all over Gonzalez at the end. Not sure what specifically he did, but maybe it ties into this. He did have the good game against Florida but truthfully has not been the same since.

  24. wolfmanmat 01/17/2010 at 8:19 AM #

    Javi has a bad attitude and it is just too easy for the opposition to get inside his head. He is not an intelligent basketball player. That said, we will need him this year, so I hope he can pull it together. Mays has earned alot more PT though and should be the starter IMO. He is a better shooter and has a much better temperment than Javi. You can’t run a team with a point guard who is not calm/cool/collected.

  25. tractor57 01/17/2010 at 9:31 AM #

    I missed the bulk of the first half and haven’t gone back to watch the DVD but I did get to watch the second half. Beyond all else that was the basketball I was used to seeing prior to the downfall decades ago. Hustle, mostly smart playing, effort and two teams working mightily to win the game. I was disappointed Clem’s son won but not at all disappointed with our play in the second half.

    Too early to say this was a watershed game and a turning point in the Lowe tenure but I commend the players AND the coaching staff on the performance.

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