It's a winning streak! CJ Leslie was as good tonight as he has been in months, maybe the entire season. He was focused at the offensive end, he played hard all night, and he got some jumpers to go with some tough shots around the rim. The game went so well for him he even made both free throws in his lone trip to the free throw line. Tonight it was really apparent why he was so highly regarded coming out of high school. His outstanding play kept State in the game through a largely lackluster first half, and it overshadowed poor performances by the other freshmen. If he starts playing like this on a regular basis, it's a different team.
The bench was fantastic--a combined 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Richard Howell scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 16 minutes. Javi Gonzalez looked revitalized and loose, and he was as good as he's been all year. It was telling that he got minutes in crunch time.
Excluding games against Wake Forest, it was State's most efficient offensive performance in conference play. That they were able to clear a point per trip with no problem despite poor shooting shows how good they were in every other facet. They took care of the ball, took care of their free throws, and CJ Leslie and Richard Howell killed the Tigers on the offensive glass.
Impressive second half, impressive win. Let's keep this thing rolling on Sunday.
|Off Reb Rate||47.5||38.6|