It feels great to finally recap an NC State conference win. That stated, I never anticipated the Wolfpack beating Miami today, let alone utterly dominating them on the path to a 85-69 win. Behind Anthony Barber going for 30 points on 10-18 shooting and 10-10 from the foul line, State held control in the first half before exploding in the second. The final 20 minutes saw State put up 48 points as we witnessed an offense working in unison.
|Four Factors||NC State
|Off Reb Rate||34.5||11.4|
Beyond the production of Cat, the Wolfpack benefited from the continued rise of Abdul-Malik Abu. After initially struggling during his sophomore season, Abu has grown into a beastly big man who can be relied upon to perform. He scored 19 points and grabbed 7 boards as he and his squad destroyed Miami on the glass. BeeJay Anya, Maverick Rowan, and Caleb Martin all had the same rebound total as Abu.
Doesn't it feel nice to win a game? That's the primary thought running through my mind as I write this. Learned helplessness is a horrific reality to be forced to embrace as a fan. With each coming game, it's difficult to be excited during what most would consider a lost season. Beating the 15th ranked team in the country soundly is a welcomed addition to an otherwise forgettable run of Wolfpack basketball.
For Miami, this loss drops them to 16-4 overall, 5-3 in ACC play. State is now 12-10 overall and 2-7 in conference after today's result. The Hurricanes received 18 points from Sheldon McClellan and 15 from Angel Rodriguez. Even with acceptable perimeter production, Miami was doomed by what its big men failed to accomplish.
If you want the major takeaway from State's win, it's the rebounding. ESPN has State as a 41-23 winner in the rebounding category. Other box scores have the margin less favorable for State but still hugely one sided in their direction.
With Cat as our leader and the potential to dominate on the glass, it's more than a bit unsettling that we're only 2-7 in the league. But while an explosive shooting display can be a randomly enigmatic development, the product of a good day and some luck, usually a massive rebounding effort is not.
The extra subplot is the team rebounding effort - no one had more than 7. A variety of players chipped in. Cat going off and our big guys doing their jobs is a recipe for success. Issues have arose when Cat struggles and Anya and company put forth games that leave us scratching our heads.
For today, just like with the Pittsburgh win, I'm willing to largely set the difficulties of the season aside. Multiple losses make the wins easier to cherish when they come. Up next for State will be a road game at Florida State on Monday, 2/1 at 9:00 PM ET. That contest will be shown on ESPNU.