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NC State runs out of answers in 2nd half, loses to Florida State, 67-61

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NCAA Basketball: Florida State at N.C. State Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

NC State didn’t play great on Saturday and certainly didn’t get many breaks from the officiating crew in the second half, and the result was a disappointing loss to Florida State. A win here really would have gone a long way for the Pack’s NCAA tournament hopes, but y’all know by now this ain’t allowed to be easy.

The Wolfpack played reasonably well in the first half, building a lead thanks to its edges in free throws and turnover margin, and took a five-point lead into the break. FSU didn’t make much of it easy, but State had what we hoped would be a sustainable way to win the game.

Unfortunately, NC State’s already modest shooting fell off more in the second half, while the Seminoles improved. The Seminoles also got an incredible 24 trips to the free throw line—to NC State’s three—over those final 20 minutes, which is quite amazing. Very odd, isn’t it, that both teams would suddenly play vastly different in the eyes of the officials during that half. So strange.

But this is the shit that we know we’ve got to endure and play through since the officiating in this league is bad by default. NC State didn’t have enough offense to do that today.

Markell Johnson and CJ Bryce combined to shoot 5-22 from the field, and that just isn’t gonna work. Devon Daniels and Jericole Hellems had solid games offensively, but they probably needed great games to make up the difference. Daniels needed 16 shots to get to 18 points, though he did shoot 6-12 inside the arc, which is a nice effort against this defense.

Florida State, to its credit, took better care of the ball than it does normally, which definitely made a difference. The Seminoles also grabbed nearly 40% of their missed shots, giving them a decided edge on the glass. There’s no doubt they were the better team in the second half.

Now we’ll see if NC State can deliver with the pressure turned all the way up, as it probably needs three of these last four to put itself in decent position for an NCAA bid heading into the league tournament.