|Four Factors||NC State
|Off Reb Rate||34.3||34.1|
Tracy Smith picked up his second foul of the first half with 7:40 to go, and for the first couple of minutes the Wolfpack seemed to be proving the could be okay without his presence on the court. Dennis Horner took control of things offensively and Jordan Vandenberg added a couple of free throws to give the Pack it's largest lead with a little over five minutes left in the half. From there, though, the offense lost its direction and the defense suffered along with it, and Georgia State crawled back into the game. There was a moment of panic in the closing stages of the half, that's for sure.
The first eight minutes of the second half were a continued struggle, but the Pack finally started to build some cohesion offensively as Georgia State tired and their numerous fouls began to catch up to them. NC State took care of the basketball down the stretch (zero turnovers in the last 12 minutes), got the rebounding situation back under control, collected some easy transition points, and that was that. Tense in the middle but ultimately nothing to worry about.
-- As he has been throughout his career, Tracy was a point machine while he was on the floor, scoring 18 in 25 minutes. When he got the ball in the post, good things happened--he didn't shy from contact and the eager slap artists from GSU rarely failed to reward him with a trip to the line. A cheap foul or two was the only thing that kept him from a larger impact. (Tracy says Karl Hess and company threw him a fast one; they called the game differently than he anticipated. Regardless, one or two of his fouls were cheap, and they were Tracy's his fault. If the officiating's consistent going forward (ha!), he'll adjust, and this game will end up an exception. At least until conference play.)
-- Josh Davis. I doubt the kid is going to contribute much in terms of points, but the three offensive boards he had in 10 minutes are a testament to his hustle. One of those boards was particularly significant--with the Pack up four with 10 minutes to go in the game, he grabbed a CJ Williams miss and found Javi, who buried a huge three-pointer.
-- Jordan Vandenberg. His lone field goal attempt was a relatively uncontested six-footer that he shot too strongly off the glass and missed. So it was pretty clear how raw he is offensively. But he didn't turn the ball over in 10 minutes of playing time, and he was a definite factor in the paint defensively. The box score credits him with two blocks, but he also forced a couple of jump balls by stuffing GSU players which didn't count as blocks but should've. He justified 10 minutes/game going forward, I thought.
-- Tempo. Despite the slow pace, which was about four possessions under the national average, I thought the guys looked pretty committed to pushing the ball when they could. They would run the ball up the court in transition or after a made basket, though they usually were forced to slow down and run the halfcourt offense. Georgia State discouraged the running game with some well-timed pressure defense after made baskets. I liked what I saw from Javi, who pushed the team harder than Julius Mays. Javi was effective with the dribble drive when he wanted to be, and that's not reflected particularly well by the box score because of some missed shots by open teammates. He could've had double-digit assists easy. Javi just needs to be more consistently assertive.