January 9, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Bret Strelow (fayobserver.com)
Wood and Wolfpack get in the last word
Of the teams in the muddled middle, N.C. State made the biggest statement by beating the fast-improving Terrapins. The Wolfpack committed enough errors in the closing minutes to give the Terps hope, but it eventually regained the fight needed to survive those mistakes.
During one late break, all five N.C. State players walked to the huddle for a timeout with their heads down.
“That’s a process for our guys, hanging in there and believing,” Gottfried said, “but they’re much, much farther along than I think they were in November.”
Wood played the role of closer against Maryland, drilling a jumper with 1:31 remaining to end a lengthy drought and hitting six consecutive free throws in the final minute.
A shot to the funny bone left Wood wincing in pain and flexing a numb left hand as he headed to the line for the first time, and Stoglin interjected with some ill-advised trash talk. The normally subdued Wood, who hasn’t missed a free throw all season, fired back with some chatter of his own before converting both attempts.
That exchange explained why Wood, after his block on Howard, made a beeline for Stoglin.
“I just heard them chirping,” Wood said, “so I figured I’d get my two cents in.”
On this night, N.C. State stood up for itself and proved it can have a say in how the fight for a spot in the upper third of the league shakes out.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Itâ€™s only one win, but for State, this was a big one
By holding on down the stretch, winning its ACC opener and beating the Terrapins for the first time in 10 games â€“ a streak that dates all the way back to 2006 â€“ State made yet another bold statement that the underachieving days of the Sidney Lowe era really are a thing of the past.
Of course, it wasnâ€™t as bold a statement as the one Gottfried made on Friday, when he publicly stated that his team needed those 11 ACC wins to ensure a spot in the field of 68.
The message, which the first-year coach reiterated Sunday, was clear. When youâ€™re trying to change the culture of a program, you canâ€™t be timid. And if youâ€™re going to set your goals high, you shouldnâ€™t be afraid to embrace them.
â€œThatâ€™s our goal. Iâ€™m not afraid of it. Iâ€™m not afraid to say it,â€ Gottfried said after a balanced performance in which four players scored in double figures, led by C.J. Leslieâ€™s 20. â€œIâ€™ve also said itâ€™s a tall order for our team. Letâ€™s be real honest. We all know where this program has been.
â€œ(But) I didnâ€™t come here to play in anything other than the NCAA tournament. Whether we can get there or not is whole another story. We do probably have a long, long way to go.â€
And yet, given the current state of the ACC, the improving veteran lineup Gottfried has inherited and the unbelievably favorable schedule the Wolfpack has been dealt, the destination isnâ€™t as far off as the former ESPN analyst would like us to believe.
All State has to do is not lose its focus and keep taking care of business the way it did against Maryland on Sunday â€“ especially in this critical opening stretch of the ACC season.
Denny Kuiper (accsports.com)
Kuiperâ€™s 3-Pointer: N.C. State-Maryland
What did this game prove? I think that N.C. State has a chance to be a pretty good team. There were a lot of things that showed the Pack is a long way from a powerful team, but on the other hand, you can see State has the talent and what appears to be better team chemistry and toughness than last year. The question is, are they going to continue to improve?
Generally speaking, the Wolfpack goes as C.J. goes. It is hard to imagine State being a factor in the ACC without Leslie playing well. In tonightâ€™s game he was not perfect, but he was a solid producer – 20 points and 11 rebounds, but also 5 turnovers.
Leslie is a very talented athlete who doesnâ€™t always play to his strengths – his quickness and offensive rebounding. I donâ€™t think C.J. is a really good low-post player. He is not physical enough for it. He is much more effective facing the basket and taking the ball to the rim. He can also do that out of the low post – just turn and face. Once he learns to slow down and not get impatient, he will be even more difficult to guard.
Pressuring The Point Guard
As a coach you want everything on your squad – shooters, ball handlers, rebounders, etc. But if you could give me a choice of three things, I would take a solid point guard who can run the offense, low post scoring and a guard who can tenaciously defend the opposing point.
Lorenzo Brown has proven to be than a capable point guard for the Pack. N.C State also has good low post scoring in Leslie and Richard Howell. What they donâ€™t have is good defensive guard pressure.
The Wolfpack is playing good solid defense, but Mark Gottfriedâ€™s guards donâ€™t have the ability to really put pressure on the opposing ball handler. When you cannot that sort of pressure on the other team it is hard to get the opponents out of their offense and force turnovers which lead to fast breaks.
Joedy McCreary (AP)
N.C. State opens ACC play with 79-74 win against Maryland
After picking up his first Atlantic Coast Conference victory, coach Mark Gottfried didn’t shy away from his N.C. State team’s goal of 10 more.
C.J. Leslie had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Wolfpack held on to beat Maryland 79-74 on Sunday night in their league opener.
Scott Wood scored 19 points and Lorenzo Brown added 11 for the Wolfpack (12-4, 1-0), who hit 47.5 percent of their shots – 28 of 59 – and were 21 of 24 from the free-throw line to win their sixth straight and snap the Terrapins’ seven-game winning streak.
Gottfried became just the second N.C. State coach – and first since Les Robinson in 1991 – to win his first ACC game, and the surging Wolfpack have won seven of eight with the lone loss in that stretch coming to No. 1 Syracuse.
“It’s big, especially just to get a little bit of momentum and kind of get your feet wet for some people,” Wood said.
Pack Flattens Terps in ACC Opener, 79-74
Behind a 20-point, 11-rebound performance from C.J. Leslie, and some clutch free throw shooting by Scott Wood down the stretch, NC State opened ACC play with a gritty 79-74 win over Maryland at the RBC Center Sunday.
“It was exciting tonight and our fans were amazing, a good team effort,” said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried. “A lot of guys did different things at key times. I thought that was the one key thing for us was defensively we were really solid at the right times. We gave up too many threes that’s something we talked about. They scored nine baskets from behind the line; they had five at the half. For the bulk of the second half, we took away the three point shot.”
Leslie led the Wolfpack in both rebounds and points for his second double-double of the season, and represented one of four State players in double figures. Wood followed with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting and a perfect 6-of-6 showing from the line to surpass Rodney Monroe’s record of 43-consecutive made free throws.
Lorenzo Brown scored 11 points on an efficient 4-of-7 night, and filled up the stat sheet with seven boards and a team-leading nine assists. Richard Howell’s 10 points rounded out the Pack players with 10 or more.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
NC State snaps Terrapins hex
NC State finally found a way to defeat Maryland.
NCSU sophomore power forward C.J. Leslie had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and junior small forward Scott Wood added 19, including several big free throws to clinch a 79-74 win in front of 18,057 at the RBC Center.
The Terrapins had won the previous nine games, but with both programs going through coaching changes in the offseason, the Wolfpack figured this would be the year to snap the streak. Maryland had lost star sophomore center Jordan Williams to the pros, and played for most of the non-conference schedule without two starters, but still entered Sunday’s game on a seven-game winning streak.
The NC State players had been locked in during practice the last several days and were glad to get the Maryland streak off their backs.
“It’s nice, that is for sure,” said Wood about snapping the Terrapins’ streak. “I know I haven’t beat them. They are definitely a lot different and don’t run that flex offense anymore, but at the same, they have really good players still and are well-coached. They’ll be a good team.
Turgeon said transition defense was one area of concern.
“I was really proud of our group,” Turgeon said. “I thought they had a great crowd. They took a lot of shots, [and] they made a lot of tough shots. They made scoring look easy. We kept competing.”
Gottfried expects the win over the Terrapins to look even better in the future, especially as Len continues to progress inside.
“When we get to February, we are going to see Maryland as a really good basketball team,” Gottfried said. “I love [Len], he’s going to be really good. He’s going to be a great player, and to get a guy like that in the midst of a coaching change [with] Mark, that’s a heck of a get. This was just his fourth game, wow.”
Turgeon said some of the players are still learning to be mentally tougher.
“It’s all between the ears, but we are getting there,” Turgeon said. “We made some big mistakes defensively. We don’t practice hard every day. I’m on them.”
Austin Johnson (PackPride.com)
Locker Room Report: Mark Gottfried
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
Wolfpack dodges Terrapins’ comeback
NATE TAYLOR (N&O)
Howell sparks NCSU
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
LUKE DECOCK (N&O)
Wolfpack lets leads slip away
Inside Wolfpack Sports
In today’s episode, junior forward Scott Wood teaches Don Shea the art of free throw shooting.
Gottfried: “We’re excited”
Brown says the team has more heart
Wood leads NCSU to first ACC win