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January 21, 2010

(Courtesy the N&O)

Stat Game
Duke North-carolina-state
Points 74 88
FG Att 57 55
FG Made 22 32
FG Pct 38.6 58.2
FT Att 33 26
FT Made 25 19
FT Pct 75.8 73.1
3pt FG Att 13 12
3pt FG Made 5 5
3pt FG Pct 38.5 41.7
Rebounds 40 28
Off Rebs 17 6
Def Rebs 23 22
Team Rebs 2 5
Assists 8 18
Steals 4 5
Blocks 1 5
Turnovers 14 9
Fouls 21 24

Some quick thoughts before I hit the sack:

  • You need a Player Of The Game? Pick one. Just about everybody stepped up in a big way. Horner was in the zone despite his bum knee…Farnold Degand made some AMAZING interior passes to Tracy Smith around Duke’s big men…and Javier’s long-range bomb with one second on the shot clock late in the game to seal the deal was nearly enough to win the award by itself. You LOVE to see these types of complete games from the entire roster.
  • Speaking of “complete games,” this was the complete game we’ve been teased with this whole season. We’ve seen 15, 20 and 30-minute games from the Pack that ended in heartbreaking losses, but this was a (nearly) wire-to-wire domination of the Duke. If State could play this focused game-in and game-out, there’s no telling what this team could accomplish.
  • So thorough was the pantsing of Duke at one point in the game, Coach K had his men drop into a zone. Surprise, surprise: State ATTACKED it! And did so in such a convincing fashion with the aforementioned interior passing, along with a fantastic three from Scott Wood, K quickly abandoned the idea and went back to his staple man defense the rest of the way. I can’t recall the last time State attacked a zone that effectively AND dictated to a team of Duke’s caliber the way the game was to be played.
  • Sometimes things just go your way. When Javi hit that fallback three from 25 feet on what looked like a wasted possession, you just knew it was going to be State’s night.

This was a great win and a KEY one, as I Tweeted during the game: State COULD NOT afford another “moral victory.” They HAD to close the deal tonight; there are only so many close losses a team can suffer before a tailspin eventually kicks in. I think closing the deal tonight gets this team back on track as they continue to build confidence.

Finally, let me just say I LOVE watching this team when they’re feeling it. A lot of lip service has been paid to “team chemistry” and “addition by subtraction,” but there’s a very real, palpable cohesion you can sense from this team. It’s great. I’ve enjoyed watching this team more than any I can remember going back to the Julius Hodge days.

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