|Four Factors||NC State
|Off Reb Rate||36.8||30.4|
That was not quite the prison-hardened defense I expected from Akron, at least not in the first half. The Zips did not guard the perimeter well; I think both of Horner's threes in the half were easy looks off of his trademark pick-and-pop play. The Pack shot 74% in the 1st, grabbed over 40% of the few shots they did miss, got to the line four times as often as Akron, and finished +2 in turnovers. State scored 1.3 points per trip, which is outstanding.
That second half, though, yikes. Akron came out with a renewed commitment to their defense, and they looked like a different team at that end of the floor. They pressed a little bit, they were considerably more active in general, and NC State helped them out with lots of dumb decisions that resulted in turnovers. The Pack also forgot about Tracy Smith, who'd 14 points on 6-9 shooting in the first half.
But Akron's shooting remained putrid in the second half and they were never able to put a run together despite the great opportunity their defense gave them.
NC State turned the ball over 18 times in 32 second half possessions (56%) while Akron gave it away just five times. Which is to say that the Zips had 13 more effective possessions than the Wolfpack--in one half!--and yet never came close to making it a single-digit game at any point in the half. Crazy. It takes a serious amount of suck to only outscore your opponent by one point despite a +13 turnover advantage.
|Four Factors||NC State
|Off Reb Rate||27.3||31.0|
The first half of this one went much the same way as the first half of the Akron game, as State built a big lead on the strength of its defense. The Pack had a decisive edge in every factor except free throws.
But unlike Akron, Austin Peay was able to wake up offensively in the second half. It sounded like they were finding success by attacking the rim every time down, while State got itself in trouble at the other end by settling for too many jumpers. The Governors shot 60% in the second half and controlled the glass at both ends, and it wasn't until a huge Tracy Smith three-point play with :35 to go that the Pack were able to end the funny business. We managed to take decent care of the ball in the second half, and Dennis Horner nailed several key buckets--just enough effective possessions and timely shooting to hang on for the win.
Overall, a pretty successful weekend for the team no matter what happens against Auburn tonight. They've just gotta find a way to put two halves together. If you'd told me before the weekend that we'd win two of three, I would've taken it.