|Off Reb Rate
Winning in the margins. It's nice to be on this side of things. All too often throughout the Sidney Lowe era, NC State has wasted good shooting efforts with turnovers, poor rebounding, or both. Auburn shot 58% to State's 43.9% in the second half, but the Tigers turned the ball over twice as often, failed to control the glass, and continued to miss their freebies.
The Pack finished the game with a +4 turnover margin, hit 13-18 FTs compared to Auburn's 5-15, and rebounded well at both ends...which was just enough to overcome the 37% shooting.
-- Tough night for Tracy Smith; I'm guessing his 4-18 shooting effort was the worst of his career. He was tired--a lot of attempts fell short--he was frustrated, Auburn collapsed down on every touch, and the refs were completely unforgiving. But he still came through with five enormous points in the final minute, including the game-winner. And he rebounded the hell out of the ball, grabbing seven at the offensive end and eight at the defensive end, which made him primary reason why the Pack won the rebounding battle decisively.
-- It's evident why Auburn generally forces opponents to shoot a lot of threes (though we did not). To combat their lack of size, they would double just about every entry into the post regardless of who it was with the ball.
-- Can't say enough about Dennis Horner's effort all weekend. If we needed a bucket to stop some bleeding, it seemed like he was always the guy stepping up to hit it.
-- Javi was up-and-down in all three games but I think when you compare his play to Mays' performance, there's no doubt Javi is the team's primary distributor. Javi may be more prone to a careless turnover here and there, but he attacked defenses more aggressively than Mays, looked quicker in general, and displayed a knack for real point-guard-type passes. I'm not sure how to properly describe that last bit other than to say that he put his teammates in high-percentage situations and Mays didn't. His dish to a cutting Dennis Horner for a right-down-main-street dunk in the first half of the Auburn game was the highlight of the weekend.
-- Positive signs from the defense. The Pack had one bad half defensively all weekend. In four out of the six halves, NC State held its opponent to less than 0.8 points per possession. Doesn't matter who we've played; those are encouraging results.
-- For whatever reason, none of our opponents could hit a free throw this weekend. We're currently ranked #1 nationally in opponents' free throw percentage (42.9%). Thanks for throwing us a bone, basketball gods.
-- We rank 301st in tempo with an average of 63.7 possessions per 40 minutes. In case anybody was wondering how the up-tempo thing is working out.