|Off Reb Rate||35.7||18.9|
For a while, the game today felt like the meeting with Virginia Tech in Raleigh--NC State could not put any distance between itself and the Hokies, and Tech got efficient play from some guys who aren't normally very good at basketball. But Erick Green struggled--Lorenzo Brown had a lot to do with this--and State finally managed to build a multiple-possession lead over the final four minutes of the opening half. It would have been a more decisive finish had State not missed four free throws during that period of time.
In the second half, Virginia Tech's offense withered with Green's continued struggles; Green hit just two of 11 attempts over the last 20 minutes, and while Jarell Eddie had a solid half, he alone was never gonna be enough to keep the Hokies in contention. Tech hit just 12 of 34 field goal attempts in the second half, and NC State controlled the defensive boards, which was crucial to building a big lead. In the first meeting, the Hokies grabbed almost 45% of their missed shots, and today, well, see above.
Richard Howell led the way with 22 points and 12 boards in what was one of his finest performances of the season. He hustled out in transition, he knocked down mid-range jump shots when the Hokies went zone, and he helped the Pack dominate the boards. It was all working for him today, and it was a performance that made perfectly clear why he is a first-team all-conference player.
T.J. Warren did his usual thing, which is to say that he hit two-thirds of his field goal attempts while also missing all (two) of his free throws. Lorenzo Brown struggled shooting from the field (the thumb injury is probably an issue), but he executed the offense well and finished the day with 12 assists. And Calvin did some C.J. things, but he was aggressive, which is exactly what we want against obviously inferior defenses. Leslie was rewarded with 14 free throw attempts, and he hit nine of those. I'm not going to complain about that percentage. His effort was good, and when some calls went against him early on, he could have let his emotions get the best of him and damage his performance. He didn't let that happen, and with no CJL meltdown, there would be no Wolfpack meltdown.
On to a meeting with Virginia on Friday. This sounds vaguely familiar.
The comment tally as of 6 p.m. ET is below. But there is still a whole night session ahead!