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Bad First Half Dooms NC State In Durham

Streeter Lecka
Four Factors NCSU Duke
eFG% 56.1 63.5
Turnover Rate 10.0
Off Reb Rate 33.3 32.1
FT Rate 28.8 78.8

98 70.3 139.5 121.0
NCSU 85 70.3 121.0 139.5

Box Score

Scoring 1.21 points per possession should be enough to win on the vast majority of occasions--it should be enough to win by quite a lot in most instances. But there are always outliers like this, and NC State got totally buried by an incredible first-half shooting performance by the Blue Devils. It's tough to overcome a barrage of 10 three-pointers in one half, and Duke finished the first 20 minutes with an effective field goal percentage north of 77.0.

The second half was almost a complete reversal from a shooting percentage perspective, and State outscored Duke 48-40, but the thing that allowed the Blue Devils to stay at arm's length was its ability to get to the line--they shot 28 free throws, 22 of which they made, in the second half. They made just nine field goals over the final 20 minutes, none of which were threes, and they were still able to win comfortably thanks to that huge advantage at the free throw line.

NC State forced a couple of late turnovers that could have really made things interesting in the last two minutes, but it wasn't to be. We couldn't pull a Miami, and by that point, we needed absolutely everything to go right. Couldn't cash in.

Richard Howell played well for the Pack, though he not surprisingly ended up in major foul trouble. Most notable, though, was Tyler Lewis, who once again stepped up in a critical situation to score efficiently, as well as effectively run the offense and distribute the basketball. I wouldn't have blamed him for playing timid in his first game at Cameron Indoor, but there he was, scoring the first five points of the game for the Pack. He played assertively, and that's telling in a very good way.

Congratulations to the following winners of the internet (yes, this includes both game threads):

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