NC State’s loss on Saturday afternoon fit the pattern of its struggles against Georgia Tech, featuring some more sloppiness and stupidity at critical times. It’s not even so much that the Yellow Jackets make the plays to win, but rather just accept the gifts given to them.
NC State had the ball down two points with 20 seconds left, and after some uncertain movement around the perimeter, C.J. Bryce’s half-assed handoff to Markell Johnson was stolen by Jose Alvarado. Alvarado was fouled and canned both free throws, effectively ending the game there thanks to a play that was both stupid and embarrassing on State’s part.
State had two possessions in those final 20 seconds and got zero shots out of them. Not ideal!
Bryce was absent all day, which sure didn’t help a team down Pat Andree and Manny Bates. Bryce missed a couple of baseline jumpers early on and just kind of faded into the background, finishing 0-4 from the field with zero points. Fortunately, Devon Daniels and Braxton Beverly had solid games, and Markell Johnson was effective—but that wasn’t enough.
Beverly missed a wide open corner three with Pack leading by one and about three minutes remaining—if that goes in, perhaps this stretch of frustrating close losses to Georgia Tech finally comes to an end. Instead, here we are commiserating at another blown chance against an inferior team that has got some sort of voodoo hex at work here.
Of course, it’s nothing of the sort: NC State’s 41.4% (eFG) shooting is as straightforward a reason for losing as there could be. With the rebounding and turnover categories a wash, basically, the team that shot the ball better ended up winning the game.
Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m gonna go throw something heavy out a window.