Thursday, February 02, 2006

NC State 66, Virginia 64

Box Score


Despite shooting much better than the Cavs (NCSU shot 56.5% to UVA's 42.4%), NC State never was able to pull away from Virginia. Virginia deserves credit for not wilting under NC State's early barrage. In recent years, I've seen more than one Pete Gillen-led team get into an early hole in Raleigh and fail to climb back out (although, um, there were no such issues last season).

The game had about 66.5 possessions, so neither team managed an OFF EFF over 100. It was NC State's most inefficient performance in four home conference games, but Virginia actually had their most efficient performance on the road in conference play (needless to say, they've been pretty awful on the road).

Tony Bethel was great tonight (7 boards and 5 assists in addition to 16 points), while Evtimov and Bennerman were obviously huge in the last two minutes.

I'd like to see us work harder at getting the ball to our best free throw shooters in the last minute. If we get the ball to Bennerman or Evtimov instead of Grant and Atsur, Singletary's last-second heave is probably meaningless. The problem, though, is that Evtimov is usually inbounding the ball in those critical situations, so he takes himself out of the equation. And the defense is pressing, so it's not like we can simply pick who will get the ball. But Duke seems very good at getting the ball to JJ Redick in similar situations even though the opposition wants anyone but him touching the ball. If we can manage it, Cam should be taking our most important free throws.

NC State was relatively inefficient despite a good eFG% because it got very few second chances and did not generate any offense from the free throw line. Prior to the last minute of the game, Cedric Simmons was the only Wolfpack player with a free throw attempt, and State didn't get into the bonus until late in the second half. Instead of having two shots per trip to the line and a little more margin for error, the Pack had to hit one-and-ones in order to ice the game, and that opened the door for Virginia sneak out of town with a stolen victory.

It's hard to believe Sean Singletary is just a sophomore. Go pro or something, Sean.