|Off Reb Rate
Cat Barber was all over the place against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, showing everyone exactly why he was a top-50 recruit coming out of high school. He nearly outscored the Panthers by himself in the first half, and the Pack carried a comfortable 37-23 lead at the break to an 81-70 victory.
Barber began the game knocking down three-pointers, and then he started to play off of that with penetration. We've all known this from the beginning with Cat--if opponents have to respect his jumper, he becomes significantly more dangerous. The Panthers had no way to defend him in the opening half because he was making jumpers, and it got to a point where Jamie Dixon had to punt and go zone.
While the Panthers have struggled defensively all year, they've proven they can score effectively in league play, and as their threes started falling in the second half they were able to cut the margin to single digits. But in the end, they could not muster up enough stops, and despite scoring 47 points over the final 20 minutes, they weren't able to put this game in doubt during the last few minutes.
One big reason for that was Trevor Lacey, who woke up to score the bulk of his 21 points in the second half. Lacey did what he often does, which is take and make tough shots. There is no defense for some of his shots, several of which helped fend off potential Pitt runs.
For the game, State shot better than 59% while turning the ball over only five times. The Pack managed next to nothing on the offensive glass, but second chances aren't important when you're that good in the shooting and turnover factors.
NC State moves on to a rematch with Duke on Thursday, with its spot in the NCAAs an absolute certainty. Time to go get rich with this house money, y'all.