Talking Points: NC State silences Erick Green
Posted March 14, 2013
1. NC State walked onto the Greensboro Coliseum court Thursday afternoon wearing red Adidas shirts with "Rise to the Occasion" emblazoned on the front. While it was just the first game, the Wolfpack did exactly that in a 80-63 win over Virginia Tech.
2. Erick Green, recently named ACC Player of the Year because of his efficient offensive output, was held to a 5-of-19 afternoon from the field and only scored 15 points. He also turned it over four times. While he forced it at times, credit goes to Lorenzo Brown and Scott Wood for getting into Green's head in the first half.
Virginia Tech managed to hang around thanks to Jarell Eddie. The junior guard-forward has shot below 40 ercent for the season, but enjoys feasting on the Wolfpack. Eddie followed February's 17-point performance at PNC Arena with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting Thursday.
However, NC State correctly banked on the rest of the Hokies being unable to keep up without Green's production. Tech only made 25-of-60 shots from the field and made only 5 of its last 20 shots to close the game.
3. NC State's veterans clicked and contributed with their specialties.
Brown complimented his defensive game against Green by dishing out 12 assists, including one particular sequence which included an alley-oop pass to T.J. Warren followed by a steal and assist to C.J. Leslie with just over 3 minutes left in the first half. It woke up the fans in attendance and started the separation.
A quick look at the "Calvinometer" showed that Leslie was tilting towards the "Calvin" zone throughout the game and finished with 15 points. He was particularly good at helping pull down rebounds and provided a crowd pleasing rejection of Joey van Zegeren late in the game.
Wood, who switched defensively on Green, knocked down three from beyond the arc.
4. Richard Howell deserves his own talking point after notching his 30th career double-double. With 22 points and 12 rebounds, the senior continues to be the motor that powers NC State.
Howell was key in the Wolfpack's strategy to go at Virginia Tech inside early and finished with half of their points coming from the paint.
5. Since NC State needs to win four games in four days to take home the ACC Championship, Mark Gottfried made the curious decision not to go to his bench earlier.
The Wolfpack starters all played 34 minutes or more. Rodney Purvis played 11 minutes, Tyler Lewis played 6 minutes and Jordan Vandenberg came in late to only play 2 minutes. Gottfried didn't empty the bench until there was 1:05 left in the game.
Those who only watch SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays will see Purvis' game-ending dunk and not realize he actually struggled for most of the minutes he played.
It's not that college players can't handle the workload, they play a heck of a lot more in AAU ball, but nagging injuries for guys like Brown might creep back into the equation.