See what happens when Pittsburgh actually looks like the worst-shooting team in the ACC? NC State limited the Panthers to 26 second-half points as the Pack turned a three-point halftime lead into a 15-point victory.
Devon Daniels was outstanding today and led all scorers with 23 points. He hit 9-14 from the field, making him easily NC State’s most efficient player. CJ Bryce struggled from the field and Markell Johnson had only a modest impact on the scoreboard, so Daniels’ effort was important.
Pitt managed to hang around for a while in the second half, but a 10-2 Wolfpack run down the stretch pushed the Pack’s lead to 65-51 and that was enough to put away the Panthers for good. Pittsburgh never led in this one, and the teams were tied only for about a minute.
I mentioned Wednesday morning that I wanted to see a better interior defensive effort from NC State along with better defensive rebounding. Check and check: Pitt shot just 40.5% inside the arc and rebounded 31.7% of its missed shots. Both are marked improvements for the Wolfpack defense from the first meeting between these teams.
And that’s how you let a team dig its own grave: the Panthers are a terrible three-point shooting team and don’t like to take many of them, so if you make the effort to really get them off-kilter in the paint, they’re probably going to have a bad day. Which they did.
NC State moves on to the quarterfinals to face Duke on Thursday, with the opportunity to solidify its NCAA tournament standing.