NC State not only played poorly at the defensive end in Clemson, it was unlucky, too: Clemson made 26 of 31 free throw attempts, which is way out of character. In the rematch, everything was reversed: State played good defense and got lucky, as the Tigers shot only 9-23 at the free throw line.
Combine those numbers and you get 64.8% at the free throw line in two games for Clemson, which is shooting 67.1% at the stripe this season. The universe has a way of balancing itself out, see!
Here’s what I wrote about this matchup on Friday:
If NC State can force more missed twos and also take care of the defensive glass against a poor offensive rebounding team, then I like the Pack’s odds for revenge.
I expect State will be fine offensively, and Clemson has had its own share of problems defending the paint against ACC foes, so I think it’s just a matter of getting more stops and the result will take care of itself.
The Wolfpack was not so much fine offensively (oops), but did the job defensively. Clemson shot 45.5% inside the arc and grabbed just 21.4% of its missed shots. In the first meeting, Clemson made two-thirds of its two-pointers.
Overall it was NC State’s third-best defensive performance of the season, and its best against a team in the top 100 of the Pomeroy Ratings. We could use a few more efforts like this one the rest of the way, that’s for sure.