|Off Reb Rate||36.1||35.0|
As much as I like to shout at the unseen forces running this crazy universe, truth is that things do, every now and again, bounce NC State's way. The Wolfpack knocked down 25-of-32 free throws on the way to beating Notre Dame on Tuesday night, including 8-of-10 in the final minute to quash any thoughts of a late meltdown. Also, Cat Barber did this right before halftime:
Barber didn't have a foot in the clover as he released the ball, but I suppose proximity was enough. I especially like the reaction from (I think) Sherman, who just raises his arms like, what the heck, man? Turns out that shot ended up pretty important. State did a nice job of staying a step ahead of the Irish throughout the second half--the Wolfpack never trailed--but on multiple occasions, Notre Dame trimmed the lead to a single possession.
In the final minute, that single possession was the difference between Notre Dame fouling and a total crapshoot ending. I found Mike Brey's decision to foul twice in a three-point game with between 50 and 42 seconds remaining odd, but I can't totally blame him for putting this Wolfpack team on the line even if good defense and a stop would have given his club sufficient time to get down the floor and hoist a potential game-tying three.
It worked out poorly for Brey in this case, as first Warren knocked down a pair to give State a 71-66 lead, and then Barber followed an Irish layup with a pair of his own. That was an enormous sequence for the Pack. Sometimes things just work out.
This win couldn't have come at a better time considering how the second halves of the Pack's last two losses played out. They needed a boost, and getting rid of that doughnut in the conference win column by pulling one out on the road certainly qualifies.