NC State put forth an embarrassing effort on Saturday to earn its second conference loss of the season. The Pack came out with no energy and immediately dug itself a double-digit hole to which it would never escape, falling 81-70 to the Clemson Tigers. State was without leading scorer C.J. Bryce, which may have made a difference, but was by no means the reason for the outcome.
Clemson has been, arguably, the worst ACC team to this point of the season. So it figures that the Pack would travel there for an early weekend game and lay a big stinky egg, and that’s exactly what happened. The Pack was awful on the defensive end for the entire 40 minutes, routinely losing perimeter shooters and getting badly burned by the same play without any successful adjustment.
State went through stretches where it was scoring well, but never consistently generated good shots and never came close to scoring enough to keep up with all the wide open freebies it was gift-wrapping on the other end.
Markell Johnson had a horrific game, posting six turnovers while going 5-15 from the field without a single make on a free throw. Despite his struggles and the lack of any consistent offense, the Pack’s point output would have been enough to win if it had done anything correctly on the other end.
State was offered a great chance to start 3-0 in the ACC with three of the worst teams in the conference opening up the slate. The Georgia Tech game was the season opener, which adds a certain level of randomness, making that loss somewhat forgivable. This is inexcusable, and now the Pack is off schedule when it comes to making the NCAA Tournament. NC State comes home to face Notre Dame on the 8th in a game it absolutely cannot lose.