Apparently deciding that an extra challenge was necessary, NC State lost C.J. Bryce to a head injury prior to the start of its game against Appalachian State. It’s far from ideal to lose your best wing player right before tipoff, but the Wolfpack handled a solid App State team anyway, 72-60.
Pace and Efficiency
D.J. Funderburk played at the four-spot a lot as a result of Bryce’s absence and responded really well—so well he scored a career-high 22 points on 10-14 shooting.
The Mountaineers did well to hang around in the first half, and NC State didn’t get any real separation prior to a 15-6 run to close out the first 20 minutes, capped by an acrobatic finish at the rim by Markell Johnson as time expired.
It was a run down the stretch that allowed NC State to take control for good and finally rid itself of those pesky Mountaineers. The Pack scored eight straight points to push the lead from two to 10 with six minutes and change remaining and from there, App wouldn’t get closer than nine. The Pack did a solid job defensively all afternoon and limited App to 12 points over the last nine minutes.
State needed the defensive effort since it only barely cracked a point per possession on the offensive end—the Pack hit only 5-25 from three, and Markell was an uncharacteristic 4-11 at the free throw line, which hurt.
But this is a good win, regardless—App State is No. 136 in the Pomeroy Ratings and could challenge for the Sun Belt title this year. You could replace Boston College with App in the ACC this season and probably see the exact same conference win total.
Beating those guys by 12 without C.J. Bryce is a nice effort. Now let’s have no more injury shenanigans from here on, okay fellas?