One of these teams played like it has a top-20 offense, and that team was not Davidson. The Wolfpack got off and running with a Jericole Hellems dunk right off the opening tip, and from there the Wolfpack had a surprisingly easy time of it against the Wildcats.
Pace and Efficiency
NC State jumped out to a 14-4 lead in the first five minutes and controlled the entire first half, leading by as many as 14. Davidson had no answer for DJ Funderburk and Manny Bates, who combined to score 35 points on 15-17 shooting for the game; those two combined for 24 points in the first half.
We’ve seen a good number of excellent first halves squandered by terrible performances in the second half, though, which is always a lingering concern. And while the Wildcats scored the first couple of baskets in the second to cut the margin to four, NC State had the answers, including a Funderburk three-point play that extended the lead back to 11 with 13:28 left.
Davidson would never get the margin back to single figures.
State was better than Davidson from three (7-17 vs. 7-24) and dominant inside the arc, where it knocked down two-thirds of its shots. When DJ and Manny are playing like they did tonight—and both had major matchup advantages—then State’s offense isn’t gonna have much to worry about.
The Pack took good care of the ball, which allowed it to maximize a good shooting night, and also kept Davidson off of the boards. The latter was expected, but still it’s good to see the execution, which helped prevent the Wildcats from making any major runs.
With the win, NC State is on to the quarterfinals, where it will take on the winner of the Colorado State/Buffalo game. The next round gets underway on March 25.