Kevin Keatts got just about everything he could have asked for from the exhibition game this afternoon. His team faced adversity, getting into significant foul trouble during a rough second quarter, and it had to come back from a nine-point halftime deficit in order to beat the Puerto Rican national team.
That’s a lot more useful than a comfortable win, and a good confidence-booster for the rest of the offseason. Puerto Rico figured to be a challenge after the way it played against Ohio State on Sunday, and the Pack proved up to the task. Encouraging!
And if the two games in the Bahamas are an indicator, Keatts has found an impact contributor in Jack Clark, who had a pair of double-doubles. He scored 24 points against Puerto Rico, thanks to six three-pointers.
Jarkel Joiner added 16 points and five assists (one of which is on display in that clip), while Casey Morsell scored 11. Terquavion Smith scored nine but actually didn’t play much down the stretch because of cramps.
Here’s some context on NC State’s afternoon from SID Craig Hammel:
Good lesson for Pack. PR got physical in 2Q, not dirty, but physical. We got physical back and committed a bunch of unnecessary fouls and PR lived at FT line. Ft attempts are 20-5 in favor or PR. Pack isn’t getting a bad whistle, we’re fouling when we get frustrated with contact. https://t.co/DTgjrb5sLb— Craig Hammel (@Hammel_Craig) August 9, 2022
Can’t make too much of a game in august but was impressed by 4th quarter. Making it even more impressive, PR was up 57-52 and Terquavion cramped up (he’s fine) He never went back in, Pack closed the game 29-12 without T. https://t.co/8YL3Jke7iP— Craig Hammel (@Hammel_Craig) August 9, 2022
They definitely seem to have responded well to that second quarter. There’s a lot to like about that, and for the coaches, plenty of things to work with constructively as they head back to Raleigh.