If you’d said to me before the game started that NC State would make only 27.8% of its threes and also struggle grabbing offensive rebounds, I’d have figured that the Wolfpack lost to Syracuse. And then if you threw in that State finished -8 in the turnover category? Yikes.
But, no, despite all of that, NC State cruised to a victory over the Orange—two-point shooting and free throws carried the day. The former is a highly unusual way to beat Syracuse, which generally stifles paint scoring with its size and scheme. Few teams are as good at bothering two-point shots than Syracuse.
NC State made 61.3% of its twos on Wednesday night, led by Torin Dorn, who was 7-13 inside the arc. When State wasn’t stalling itself with turnovers, it was pretty darn effective.
You could also tell early, and credit to the coaching staff for this, that State wanted to create as many transition opportunities as possible off of Syracuse misses. Wyatt Walker’s long pass to Markell Johnson is a good example. Rather than waiting around for the Orange to get their defense set, NC State tried instead to push it as much as possible.
Syracuse very much wants a half-court game, and anything you can do to subvert that can be useful. That approach definitely helped NC State win last night.