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Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Hack-A-Pack sinks NC State

Posted March 20, 2014
Updated March 21, 2014

1. Free throws, NC State. You're doing it wrong. 

St. Louis used a methodical "Hack-A-Pack" strategy to outscore State 31-15 in the final eight minutes of regulation. NC State's trips to the line became a dicey proposition following Ralston Turner's three successful free throws that put the Wolfpack up 50-37 with 9:51 left. The Wolfpack missed 11 of their next 20 attempts.

Even a made free throw from T.J. Warren late in the game was taken off the board after the sophomore committed a lane violation. It was just that sort of night for the Wolfpack, who also couldn't establish consistent success breaking St. Louis' press during critical stretches.

The Billikens finally took their first lead since 16:18 of the first half in the opening minute of overtime. With NC State playing tentative due to foul trouble, St. Louis established a layup line to keep them out in front until the final buzzer.

2. NC State was playing their fifth game in eight days in three different cities. Was that a factor against St. Louis, who enjoyed a normal lead up to the second round of the NCAA Tournament? Fatigue might have played a part in the Wolfpack's inconsistent free throw rate and defensive lapses from the regular season popping up again at the worst possible time.

However, those are just excuses. NC State should have survived and advanced into the weekend.

Even with the Pack up 14 points with 5:03 left in regulation, St. Louis managed to linger. It wasn't just the missed free throws. The Billikens also hit nine shots from beyond the arc.

3. St. Louis had a defense ranked first in most defensive categories in the A-10. Although it’s not clear whether those rankings were in basketball or football.

The Billikens were physical. To the point where officials should have thrown some yellow flags onto the court following an arm to the face of Cat Barber and what could have been targeting on TJ Warren getting banged around.

4. Despite the physical play, Warren managed to score 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field. It was the sophomore's 19th straight game with 20 or more points, complimented by eight rebounds and a few steals. It wasn't a flawless game for Warren, who picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in interesting fashion.

Was that the last game in a Wolfpack uniform for Warren? Highly probable. The ACC Player of the Year saw his "stock" soar in the final week of the regular season and a national audience finally appreciated his ability to make plays all over the court. NBA Draft gurus have Warren going in the middle of the first round, but he could go slightly higher teams get a better look at him during workouts. 

If that's it for Warren, NC State fans will remember this season for some time. He was truly a joy to watch and continued the legacy of wearing  No. 24.

5. St. Louis' Rob Loe learned something, too. He learned that a flawless profile, a perfect body, the right clothes, and a great car can get you far in America - almost to the top - but it can't get you everything. You also need some help from the opponent, which did NC State by giving him open looks from perimeter and letting Loe drive the basket. 

Jordair Jett also gets special mention for scoring 17 points after halftime.

6. See you in my nightmares, Billiken.

16 Comments

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  • 123skipjack Mar 22, 2014

    How about the Pack is worried about Mr.Yow's 5 year plan? He/She said NCSU would be an elite sports program. Football, no check. Basketball. no check. However, the non-revenue producing programs such as baseball and tennis are doing well...OMG, I hate it when I am right all the time...

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Mar 21, 2014

    Saint Louis had a decent team but a rested Pack would have handled them. Fatigue not only disrupted the free throws it disrupted the ability to avoid being fouled. Still, we were a 12 seed and they were 5 seed and we made them sweat. I am ok with it. We have a lot of guys back next year who have tournament experience. I am looking forward to it.

  • baldchip Mar 21, 2014

    The Pack lost to the Jimmy V plan-make it a free throw shooting game. State's players could not handle the pressure.

    Good luck next season!!

    It's time for baseball!!! GO PACK!!

  • GoHeels1969 Mar 21, 2014

    Did the rebounds and steals tell Warren they liked the way he looked?

  • Jackson Smith Mar 21, 2014

    Dang Joe, that was a very interesting article. St Louis was too physical so the refs were at fault. The Pack was tired so they could not finish. Wow. Maybe they should have not accepted the invitation because they would get tired. They missed free throws is why they lost. The refs called the fouls but the Pack could not deliver. I really thought you were better than an and article like this Joe.

  • Karen Orndorff Mar 21, 2014

    So sad, oh well. They should have kept in the game, they kinda gave it away. They really need to practice free throws, their percentages stink at the FT line.

  • Gr8FunMan Mar 21, 2014

    I don't buy the 'fatigue' excuse. There were 2 teams out there. The other guys didn't go belly-up. Our guys did, and they've done it all season.

  • 45HEELSFAN45 Mar 21, 2014

    Amazing that the refs did everything to give them the game by calling fouls and they didn't get it done

  • Jeanne Gunn Mar 21, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Agree, BB5, but I think fatigue played into misses at the FT line as well. Your right, though, 66% at the stripe usually means a "L".

  • Gr8FunMan Mar 21, 2014

    Very, very sad on so many levels. The saddest thing of all is that you saw it coming, KNEW it was coming, because that is what this team has become. They know how to lose -- not to win. Once again, with 99 paths to victory and 1 path to defeat, the whole team searched for the 1 path, found it, and blindly hung on.

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