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Glenn Wilkes Classic Concludes With Pack Undefeated 4-0

November 23, 2009
Picked to finish a distant dead last in the league by the ACC media with fan expectations at a low point not seen in a while, most State fans have been wanting to see two things from the team this season: effort and heart.

They’re seeing it thus far.

State completed its three-day trip to Daytona Beach, FL, with a come-from-behind 60-58 victory over Auburn in the final seconds to complete the Glenn Wilkes Classic with a perfect 3-0 record. With the win over Georgia Southern, State is a perfect 4-0 to begin the season.

Tracy Smith went MACROWAVE at the end of tonight’s game, putting back a rebound high off the glass with 1.3 seconds remaining to seal it. State had led most of the game, but Auburn took control of the game in the second half, using a 21-4 run to take the lead by six with eight minutes remaining. It wasn’t until the 0:49 mark that State would finally retake the lead on a Smith bucket-and-foul.

The discussion continues, along with charts on all three games of the GWC, after the jump.

(Continues)

State 60-Auburn 58
State 66-Austin Peay 59

State 66-Akron 45

NCAA Basketball Stats

Some points of note from this weekend’s games:

  • Is it time to fire up the “We :heart Dennis Horner!” campaign? Horner scored 16, 15 and 16 again in this weekend’s action, including a big three to tie the Auburn game at 54 with less than two minutes to go. He also snagged 13 defensive rebounds over the three games. His play helped set the tone for the rest of the team all weekend long.
  • Despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the field, State bested the Auburn Tigers by attacking the offensive glass. The Pack pulled down 19 offensive boards to Auburn’s 11. Coupled with a +4 turnover margin, State shot 10 more attempts than did the Tigers (63-53).
  • Starting the season 4-0 is HUGE for this team’s aspirations of making a postseason appearance. Effort and heart will only take this team so far against the more talented teams of the ACC, so State needs all the non-conference wins they can get to boost their win total in the early going.
  • The added benefit of starting the season perfect is the boost in confidence. For a young team who’s sold the company line of “togetherness” and “team unity” to outsiders, starting the season 4-0 will galvanize this team to further help them buy into the concept that yes, team unity CAN make a difference, especially in these tight games. As their confidence grows, so should their level of play.
  • Yes, this team CAN play defense. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes! State held all three of its opponents under 50% shooting, including a stellar 30.9% against Akron. The guards and forwards are much more active on the perimeter and the extra effort is paying dividends. I’ve said all along: The issues with this team are NOT offensive–State has always been able to score under coach Lowe; it’s the defensive end that has doomed the Pack. If State can keep teams shooting in the low 40s, good things can happen this season.

There are still a lot of warts left on this toad. The team surrendered sizable leads in both the Austin Peay and Auburn games in the second half–this team still needs to develop a killer instinct. Conditioning is still a concern, as the Pack had no legs remaining in the third game. It showed up in the stat sheet with their poor shooting numbers.

Nevertheless, for most Pack fans, the team has delivered what we’ve been hoping to see thus far, and if they can sustain it, only good things can come from it.

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