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Terquavion Smith bounces back big as NC State pummels Virginia Tech, 97-77

Let’s do it all over again tomorrow night.

Virginia Tech v NC State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Good news, everyone: Terquavion Smith is fine. He put his late-season struggles behind him from the opening tip, setting the tone early with a scoring barrage that got NC State rolling.

NC State is just so tough when it’s executing at a high level and making shots—not only were the Wolfpack creating good shots with ball movement and excellent passing, T and Jarkel Joiner were knocking down the tough ones, too.

Four Factors

... NC State VT
... NC State VT
eFG% 70.6 56.5
TO% 11.7 17.6
OR% 34.6 20.0
FTR 19.0 35.2

Baby T in particular had some really difficult finishes around the rim, through contact, that was as sure a sign as anything else that he was feeling pretty good out there.

And this team brought the intensity at the defensive end, which created a number of primary and secondary break opportunities, and again, those just make State’s guards that much more difficult to manage. By the time Casey Morsell hit a wing three to put State up 31-16, Virginia Tech was very much in the danger zone.

A 12-0 finish to the half fueled by some great hustle plays by Ebe Dowuona, who stepped up with DJ Burns in foul trouble, gave NC State a 53-26 halftime advantage.

Virginia Tech responded to that with an excellent half at the offensive end in the second half—the Hokies shot 8-16 from three—and yet it didn’t matter in the least. They needed fewer than nine minutes to double their score, and still they were down by more than 20 points. It was that kind of night for the Pack.

And one hell of a relief.

T finished with 30 points on 11-13 shooting, Joiner added 20 on 8-15, while Jack Clark and Dowuona scored 11 apiece. The game was unfortunately marred by what looked like a serious leg injury suffered by Greg Gantt late in the first half; we’ll have to hope for the best. He’s been through a lot as it is.

Gantt was part of what was an excellent collective effort at both ends of the floor, one that had NC State playing right near its ceiling. That’s a fine way to start the postseason.