Rushed Reactions: NC State 69, Connecticut 65Posted by Brian Otskey on December 4th, 2012
Brian Otskey is an RTC correspondent. He filed these thoughts from NC State’s victory over Connecticut in game two of the Jimmy V Classic. Follow him on Twitter @botskey.
- NC State made the winning plays. Give Connecticut a lot of credit for its tenacity and scrappy style of play but NC State made the plays you need to make down the stretch in order to win big games. Whether it was huge offensive rebounds or Scott Wood’s pick-and-roll, the Wolfpack did what they had to do in order to come out on top. That’s a sign of a good basketball team and this is a win that should boost NC State’s confidence after a shaky start to the season.
- Connecticut just didn’t shoot the ball well enough to win. The Huskies made a bunch of threes early in the first half but that proved to be fool’s gold, as hot three-point shooting out of the gate usually does. Connecticut wound up shooting only 40.3% for the game while NC State finished seven percentage points higher. Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier took the most shots for the Huskies as usual but they were not efficient (14-34 combined). This overreliance on two players is going to win Connecticut some games this season but also cost them, especially against top notch competition like NC State. The Huskies can be good but they need to share the ball more.
- NC State’s rebounding helped it win this game. When you look at the rebounding numbers you see NC State was only +4 overall on the glass. However, a lot of the rebounds pulled down by the Wolfpack were on the offensive end and/or at key points in the game. Richard Howell in particular did a great job working for position on the offensive glass and earned his team a bunch of extra possessions. Connecticut had not been a good rebounding team coming into the game and, while it held its own, NC State took advantage of that at critical points in the game.
Star of the Game: Richard Howell, NC State. C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown totaled the most points for the Wolfpack but Howell had the greatest impact on the game. Howell posted a double-double, shot 50% from the floor and grabbed seven key offensive rebounds. As Mark Gottfried said after the game, Howell is sort of a quiet leader on this team and makes the right plays at the right time.
- “I think that’s a gutsy win.” – NC State head coach Mark Gottfried on what was a tremendously hard fought game by both sides.
- “We do need other guys to step up.” – Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie recognizing that Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright can’t do it all for the Huskies.
Next up: NC State will host Cleveland State on Saturday while Connecticut welcomes Harvard to Storrs on Friday night.