|Four Factors||NC State
|Off Reb Rate||33.3||25.9|
NC State led nearly wire-to-wire on Saturday night, weathering some shaky moments before putting the Hokies away for good in the second half. The Wolfpack got 18 points from Ralston Turner and 14 from Trevor Lacey in the 69-53 victory.
The Wolfpack didn't have trouble generating offense against the Hokies' undersized lineup, even if there were times when the Pack settled for too many jumpers--a lot of those jumpers went in, which didn't hurt. Virginia Tech's zone defense and token full-court pressure did the job of slowing this game way, way down, but that alone wasn't enough.
NC State pulled ahead by a comfortable margin in the first half only to watch it evaporate down the stretch as Tech went unconscious. Justin Bibbs at one point scored 10 straight for the Hokies, while Adam Smith hit several tough shots. Tech made 11 straight shots from the field between the latter stages of the first half and beginning of the second, and they were able to narrow the margin to a single possession.
But that extreme high-level production is only going to last for so long, and as the Hokies cooled down a bit, State re-took control. Over a span of about four minutes, NC State made four three-pointers and got a couple of free throws from BeeJay Anya, and what had been a tenuous four lead became a 14-point lead. That outburst was part of a larger 21-6 run that effectively ended the Hokies' chances.
While jump shots keyed that breakaway run, Anya made some important contributions as well; his shot-altering efforts in the paint helped the Wolfpack defense stall Virginia Tech's offense, and he also knocked down all four of his free throw attempts in the final 10 minutes.
Turner looked much more like his old self, while Caleb Martin took advantage of some wide open looks to get his outside shooting going. Lacey finished the evening with six assists and five rebounds to go with his 14 points, and Abdul-Malik Abu added six points and three assists.
It was a good collective effort in a must-have game, and of course, any time we see the Battle Cannon hit the floor, it's been a great day.