Revenge is a dish best served cold, but LSU, which was bumped from the NCAA tournament a year ago by NC State, was just cold in the third-place game of the FanDuel Legends Classic in Brooklyn. The Tigers' much-hyped star Ben Simmons managed just one field goal, and LSU made just 36.4% of its shots. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, they couldn't get shots to fall either, making just 39.7% of their attempts. But, after 40 minutes wasn't enough to decide it, NC State took command in the extra period and salted the game away behind Cat Barber's perfect touch at the line.
The 83-72 overtime win salvaged the NYC trip for the Pack after a disappointing loss to Arizona State the night before.
Barber's 12-for-12 charity stripe effort helped him lead all scorers with 20 points. He added seven rebounds and seven assists. Abdul-Malik Abu (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Cody Martin (14 & 11) posted double doubles for a Pack unit that made a much more concerted effort on the glass after the Sun Devils dominated rebounding in the semifinals. The Pack was +14 on the boards overall, grabbing 37% of their own misses and an impressive 76% on the defensive end.
Where the Tigers were woeful from the line (5-for-10) as well as the field, the Pack showed marked improvement from the stripe, converting 23 of 29 attempts (79.3%). The advantage at the line was more than enough to offset 11 LSU threes, especially considering it took the Tigers 33 hoists to hit those.
Despite the Pack's struggles at the stripe, the team has now made 18 more free throws than their opponents have attempted this season.
Simmons, who fouled out in overtime, came in having scored at least 21 points in each of his last three games and was shooting 57.7% from the floor before Cody and twin brother Caleb Martin largely stifled his game; he went just 1-for-6 from the floor and 2-for-5 from the line. Simmons certainly made his mark in other ways, notching game highs with 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
Caleb Martin (16 points and nine rebounds) and Maverick Rowan (10 points) were also in double figures for the Pack, though both struggled with their efficiency. Caleb Martin was just 6-for-18 and Rowan went 3-for-11 from the floor.
Tim Quaterman led the Tigers with 20 and Brandon Sampson had 18. Antonio Blakeney had 11 but on a miserable 4-for-18 effort.
NC State is off to just a 3-2 start, but there's a good chance that the LSU win will be a top 50 win come selection Sunday. Let's hope the William & Mary and Arizona State losses look a lot less bad by then. The Pack's next three games are at home, including a post-tryptophan coma contest Friday against Winthrop and Michigan! on December 1st.