Wake Up Call in Puerto Rico; Pack Falls to Cowboys 76-56

Pack Basketball had a championship game to play tonight against the Cowboys of Oklahoma State.  Unfortunately someone forgot to tell them.

The Cowboys out-worked, out-hustled, and out-gutted the Pack in every facet of the game.  The result was a 20 point drubbing which could have been much worse, quite frankly.

With few exceptions, the Pack was off as a team, and no one player stood out as the worst, but that’s by no means a positive since many struggled equally.  CJ Leslie picked up his 3rd foul before the break, and fouled out of the game only minutes into the second half when he committed a silly foul to pick up his 4th, and then compounded it with a technical foul.  He finished the game with 2 pts on 1/5 shooting, and 4 rebounds.

Zo Brown and Scott Wood struggled nearly as much.  Zo finished with 6pts on a 2/9 night with only one assist.  Wood was 1/11 (1/6 3pt), also finishing with 6pts.

Lest we not point out the bright spots, TJ Warren and Rodney Purvis did show up to play, and also showed significantly more sack than their mopey veteran teammates, both hustling and working until the final buzzer.

Warren finished with 15 pts on 7/12 shooting, while Purvis dumped in 16 points on a 6/13 effort.

Richard Howell added 6 (but also fouled out, but not until the issue was long since decided), and Thomas DeThaey came off the bench to add 5 to round out the scoring…what little there was anyway.

So, what does this mean?

It means exactly what many of us said for months leading up to the season….that there were going to be growing pains.  We looked like warmed over excrement tonight, and worse….we looked like we didn’t care that we looked like warmed over excrement (save for Warren and Purvis….hat tip to those two young men for gutting out what had to be an excruciating night).

This team needs to learn to play together, especially when things aren’t clicking, as well as to work on some fundamentals (FTs, transition and perimeter defense, shot selection, etc.).  I have little doubt that they will.  Losing a game like this in November is no reason to panic and can sometimes be the wake up call a team like this…one that really hasn’t had to work to win going away before tonight…needs to become mentally tough and a more cohesive unit.

This staff has shown remarkable acumen at handling personalities and handling adversity.  I expect no different now.  We’re not as good as some of you wanted to believe.  But we’re also not as bad as some of you are believing right now.

There will be more off nights like tonight.  The question is how we handle them and whether we learn anything from tonight’s experience.  I believe we will, and hopefully by season’s end we can look back to Oklahoma State as an overall positive in the development of the team.

Having said that, it still feels pretty bad right now.  So go and commiserate with one another and bemoan how bad we played tonight (and we DID play bad, so feel free to break a few things too if it helps).

But don’t write this team off just because of tonight.  If you weren’t expecting this at some point here in the early going then like them, you were buying into the press clippings a bit too much.

That’s what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we’ve changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games.

RICHARD BACH, The Bridge Across Forever

Be sure to make your way over to the SFN Forums and join in on all the great topics that have been on fire over there.  It’s worth your time….I promise 🙂



About Wufpacker

A 2nd generation alumnus and raised since birth to be irrationally dedicated to all things NC State. Class of '88 and '92.

12-13 Basketball

31 Responses to Wake Up Call in Puerto Rico; Pack Falls to Cowboys 76-56

  1. dpos21 11/18/2012 at 8:56 PM #

    Not sure I agree with “no one player stood out as the worst.” Brown set a poor tone early in the game with little effort on the court and terrible turnovers. He has to be a better leader. Quite frankly we looked horrible defensively the entire tourney.

    But, we will get better as the season moves on. Looks like our team needed a good butt kicking. And Lewis isn’t playing much come ACC time

  2. Hawkeye Whitney 11/18/2012 at 8:57 PM #

    The body language of our veterans was horrible. I fully expect Gott to show them some video and change that immediately. Bottom line is that OK State treated it like a championship game (which it was). Our guys treated it like a pre-season warm up game for the real season.

  3. motorhead 11/18/2012 at 8:57 PM #

    I started drinking Sierra Nevada at half time. Things don’t seem so bad now.

  4. Wulfpack 11/18/2012 at 8:57 PM #

    Let’s hope they leave the crappy attitudes and poor play in Puerto Rico. Wake up call indeed.

  5. UpstateSCWolfpack 11/18/2012 at 9:02 PM #

    Calvin looked and acted like CJ of old. He was not a team player tonight, and the technical he got was totally uncalled for. I hoped to see them come out swinging in the second half, but that didn’t happen. Now the question is how do they react to this defeat. This loss could definitely be a good thing in hindsight.

  6. JeremyH 11/18/2012 at 9:10 PM #

    You could see that the OK State guards were more physically mature than most of our guys, and took it to us from the opening bell. I agree with the effort comments but I also think this team is a bad match-up for us. Also great to see Purvis and Warren serving as instant offense, but we shouldn’t expect them to carry the team (although I’d love to see us go to the slashing Purvis when we struggle shooting). Well “that buying into the press clippings a bit too much” might ring true; the last time I remember a comment like that being made it was about Brandon Costner. You know what they say, its not whether you fail, its how you react in response. Confident in our coaching staff.

  7. EdMar 11/18/2012 at 9:15 PM #

    Overated! That’s what happens when you believe what you read in the paper.

  8. Smasher 11/18/2012 at 9:19 PM #

    Does Zo ever really appear to care? With CJ at least every now and then he seems emotional, Zo seems like he is dead behind the eyes almost all the time. This team is going to get limited by not having a real leader out there to hold things together when things get tough. That should be Zo but he clearly hasn’t bothered to take on that role.

  9. Semper_WolfPack 11/18/2012 at 9:37 PM #

    I fully expected a loss or two prior to conference play. However, I did not expect any of those losses to be caused by the same ‘ol NC State BS. How many lazy ass passes have to be stolen and turned into transition points before you start making sure your passes are crisp? I thought Zo and CJ (he was not Calvin tonight) were going to trip over their lips because they were pouting so much. I have faith that Gott & Co will straighten things out. It just really sucks that the first loss came like this. I give props to OK St. They came to play, we didn’t. Time to drink this one down, and get ready for the next. GO PACK!!

  10. Spike 11/18/2012 at 9:39 PM #

    Thank God Warren and Purvis showed up to play. I have been very surprised about Brown though. He was off on his shooting throughout the tournament but he didn’t show the maturity he had last year handling the ball and leading the team. Howell still has moments when he wants to pout and give up after one mistake but then again he has looked much better overall than last year.

    I am glad they got a wakeup call early on. No reason for concern yet and definitely looking forward to this season. Now it’s time to learn from those things and move forward.

    Warren and Purvis are looking very good so far. If everyone 6 or 7 deep plays up to their potential there should be no reason to worry if someone has an off night. Everyone can be a threat.

  11. MattN 11/18/2012 at 10:04 PM #

    Glad we had this game in November and not mid-January….

  12. JohnGalt78 11/18/2012 at 10:08 PM #

    if we were to lose, I’m glad it was an ass kicking. I hope that can use this loss all season, learn from it and never let it happen again.

  13. packof81 11/18/2012 at 10:21 PM #

    Better now than later. Now we’ll see whether Gott and staff can motivate them.

    Howell, please practice free throws. You’re leaving a lot of points on the table.

  14. Tau837 11/18/2012 at 10:25 PM #

    I’m pretty disappointed in Zo and CJ.

    Howell appeared to bust his ass throughout the tournament. Wood seemed like he played hard throughout. Warren was a savior and Purvis played hard and well for the most part.

    But none of that necessarily matters if Zo and CJ don’t play like they care. I have watched or listened to all the games so far, and I really don’t understand why Zo isn’t taking over more. It’s like he’s indifferent. In particular, I thought when Leslie fouled out with 18 minutes left today, that was an opportune time for Zo to take over. Didn’t happen.

    If this is how our players are going to react, our team is going nowhere this year.

  15. Codebrown 11/18/2012 at 10:28 PM #

    Now that we’ve gotten the undefeated monkey off of our backs, it’s time to go to work.

  16. DC_wolf 11/18/2012 at 10:52 PM #

    Returning starters — Wood / Howell / Brown / Leslie: 7-31 (23%) for 20 points; personal fouls: 14 (or, 2 personal fouls for ea. made field goal).

    But Scott Wood 1-11. Seriously, dude, you’re a senior. You don’t get another year @ this. This is the year you show senior leadership – I’m only seeing it now from the freshmen.

  17. 61Packer 11/18/2012 at 11:08 PM #

    They don’t have growing pains. They simply need to GROW UP.

    Until #2 and #5 decide to lead by example on the floor, they need to lead by example on the bench.

  18. Since74 11/19/2012 at 12:22 AM #

    Seeing a lot of people here say that Lo and CJ aren’t caring or are indifferent. That may be the case. To me it looks more like a sense of entitlement, overconfidence, thinking the game is won before its been played.

    Honestly I didn’t see any sense of urgency in our team during the whole tourney. Have been waiting for the team that would step up and challenge us to play to our capacity. That happened tonight.

    We’re going to be more athletic than most of the teams we meet this year, therefore we should be pushing the ball up the floor and making the other teams run to keep up with us. Quick, crisp passes making them chase us. We’ve seemed way too patient for the running team we’re supposed to have.

    The drive seems to be there for the freshmen. Have been enjoying seeing Purvis on defense. TJ has looked fantastic on offense. Tyler was pushing the ball downcourt more than the starters.

    Howell’s hustle has looked really good. CJ has been really unselfish up to this point. Sometimes it almost looks as if he’s giving up sure points when he has position in order to lift up his teammates. That’s a good thing this early in the season. I hope as it progresses though he gets his assists but just finishes when he’s got the sure thing. Scott just couldn’t hit the ocean tonight. Lo …. …. …. he’ll be awesome when he realizes the other teams do belong on the floor with us.

    No one is going to roll over for us. We’ve got the target on our backs now. Can’t wait to see us play hungry again. Hoping we don’t need too many more lessons like tonight to get there. I’ve Gott faith. Go Pack!!!

  19. formerwinner 11/19/2012 at 12:23 AM #

    There is no excuse for poor defense. It’s all about hustle and effort. I saw too many of State’s defenders looking at the back side of the opposing teams’ players after they drove past us. Are we really not as quick as other teams? Congrats to our freshmen.

  20. graywolf 11/19/2012 at 6:57 AM #

    By no means do I like what happened in this game but better now than mid Jan.

  21. GAWolf 11/19/2012 at 7:14 AM #

    Also posted on forums, but here goes again as I think some of our fans needed the wake up call as much as our players…..

    After a night to sleep on this, I’ve come to realize that our fans needed this as much as the team. I recall last week reading a bunch of talk on another forum that Kentucky and Duke were bad and we’d throttle them both by (whatever ridiculous margin the poster thought shocking enough).

    We still have a long way to go to be a great team. We have plenty of talent, that’s for sure. However, there’s much more to winning than talent. We haven’t played a good, much less great, game this year. We’ve beaten less talented teams and got our asses spanked by a good team led by a freshman.

    There’s a lot of growing up that can be done through this game. Or we can sulk some more. The sulking, sadly enough, seemed way too comfortable a fit for our upper classmen last night. Hopefully they’ll watch the tape and if nothing else be embarrassed by their play and outward show of poor leadership and sportsmanship.

  22. state73 11/19/2012 at 7:34 AM #

    This team has talent. We will now find out how good the coaching staff is. They have their work cutout for themselves trying to make a team of this talent.

  23. Pack Leader 11/19/2012 at 7:44 AM #

    I couldn’t stomache my way all the way to the end to listen to Coach Gotts comments afterwards, did anyone hear them?

  24. sjmac11 11/19/2012 at 7:57 AM #

    We clearly saw and from time to time have to endure the different type of “talent” that has been recruited. Gott’s kids are talented and are playing hard from the get go, good ole’ Sid’s kids look disinterested, lazy and selfish. We’re going to be good and coach will get better games out of these kids but look for these attitudes to flare up again. Like a bad case of the herpes, can keep them down just can’t cure it.

  25. Texpack 11/19/2012 at 8:05 AM #

    You saw last night what one of our real weaknesses is going to be. We are not going to match up well with really physical teams. Howell has never been a good finisher and Calvin is too slight of build to win consistently against really physical big men.

    As good as Lo looked running the team down the stretch last year, he has looked equally lost and disinterested at times this year.

    I always harp on the 3 pt shooting because of the space it creates inside for Calvin and Howell. We didn’t hit jack early and it resulted in a clogged up lane that minimized our cutters. Bottom line is that the half court offense has to get a lot better. TDT had good minutes before I turned the game off.

    Seeing how we respond will be the most important part of this.

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