NC State took its 7th straight loss in ACC competition today, this time falling to Notre Dame by an 81-72 score. While this wasn't quite the comedy of errors or major absence of effort compared to prior losses, it was still a mostly poorly played showing that never felt like State would win. This result drops the Wolfpack to 14-14 overall and 3-12 in conference games.
V.J. Beachem torched State's defense for 27 points on 10-16 shooting (7-12 from deep). Many of his shots were wide open looks and I was beginning to wonder why he was left unguarded on numerous possessions. The Irish as a team went 13-30 on triples and shot 50% from the field overall.
State actually outshot ND by going 51.7%, however, they were only 3-14 on threes. Notre Dame had 9 turnovers compared to the Wolfpack's 12.
By halftime, the score was 41-28, and this lead grew to over 20 as the second half went on. From there, I expected State to quit as the announcers continued on with their often misguided and prolonged defense of Mark Gottfried. State surprisingly showed some fight and played with a high level of energy, eventually cutting the lead to single digits.
Gottfried was seen urging his players to defend as this comeback continued to build. A few critical turnovers by State and a couple of questionable calls derailed any true comeback attempt, but make no mistake, this game was lost in much earlier stages.
A mostly lackadaisical first half and horrid start to the second half determined the outcome. The main takeaway is the idea of why State chose to fight here rather than in countless previous contests.
A positive that has to be noted would be the play of Markell Johnson. He went 6-9 from the floor for 12 points, often showing a flair and burst of speed on his drives.
Omer Yurtseven had a positive start with 6 quick points (8 overall) before his slow-footed defense and a foolish turnover took him out of the game. Dennis Smith Jr. had 16 for the Pack but just 3 assists and some big turnovers of his own.
In the end, this was a better effort than State has recently shown, but it was far from a complete game. A surge of energy lasting a few minutes is not even remotely close to enough to succeed in the modern ACC.
The next game will be against Georgia Tech on Tuesday, 2/21 at 8:00 PM ET.