It’s not a surprise that these games unfold the way they do, but I’m still amazed at just how quickly NC State can go from being in a close game to being blown out. State was down just one point at halftime, but in the second half, well, [gestures at scoreboard].
Early on in the second half, both Ebe Dowuona and Jaylon Gibson were whistled for cheap fouls in quick succession to effectively cut off at the knees what remnants of an interior defense this team still possesses. NC State also could not hit the broad side of a barn.
It takes only a nudge to get the mighty snowball of calamity rolling downhill, and in this case the refs happened to accelerate the process. In the blink of an eye the game went from tied at 48 to a 59-48 Wake advantage, and State didn’t muster up any fight after that.
The Pack still showed plenty of fight during the first half, putting together a couple of big runs when it appeared the Deacs were on the brink of taking over, but State didn’t have anything left for the final 10 minutes. Not that I blame them. Playing out the string on a season like this one is tough on everybody. It’s a lot easier to break their will at this point than it was a couple months ago.
Jericole Hellems and Terquavion Smith both played well in the first half to pace the offense, but Dereon Seabron never did get going the way we’ve come to expect. That was particularly unfortunate in the second half as Hellems and Smith stopped making shots. Slight problem at that juncture.
The Deacs had few extended difficulties themselves and happily poured on the points as the Pack’s effort wilted.
It wasn’t a bad game for about 25 minutes or so. A major implosion is always right around the corner for NC State, though.
We got two more of these things left before the season, mercifully, concludes.