Talking Points: Pack's disappointing end
Posted March 22, 2013
1. Defense and turnovers. Those might be the only talking points needed following NC State's NCAA tournament exit. The Wolfpack couldn't get a handle on either facet of the game in the first half, and they spent the second half trying to climb out of it.
It started when Temple blasted out to a 12-4 lead in the opening five minutes. The Wolfpack responded after Mark Gottfried was forced to call a timeout, if only for a fleeting moment. The Owls answered with a 9-0 run after NC State tied the game at 15 and slowly built a 16-point lead while the Wolfpack went scoreless in the final 4:05 of the half.
NC State actually shot better and corrected the careless turnovers in the second half, but they were never able to generate enough stops to overtake Temple.
Khalif Wyatt continued a nasty trend of opponents careering it against Wolfpack's inconsistent defensive effort, finishing the afternoon with 31 points on 9-of-22 shooting and 12 points at the line. Meanwhile, Jake O'Brien dropped four from beyond the arc.
2. The "Calvinometer" broke and the warranty window might have closed with Leslie's potential departure for the NBA.
As the lone bright spot in the first half, Leslie was 5-of-8 from the field. The rest of the roster was 5-of-17. His 3-pointer with 4:06 remaining sparked a late rally by the Wolfpack, which eventually fell short as Temple hit eight free throws in the final 33 seconds of the game.
3. Richard Howell ended his career at NC State in the most appropriate way possible – notching another double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Scott Wood's final game in a Wolfpack uniform was largely forgettable. The senior was a non-factor until he hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the failed rally.
4. Lack of depth, a lingering issue throughout the year, bit NC State when key players didn't have fouls to give during crunch time.
Lorenzo Brown, saddled with four fouls, was isolated during an in-bounds play and could not stop Temple with about 35 seconds left. Leslie, also dealing with four fouls, waited for help for about four seconds before eventually stopping the clock with his fifth foul.
5. Apparently, there was no switch to be flipped for NC State. If there was, they couldn't find it stumbling through the dark. Much of the issues that plagued their up-and-down season popped up throughout their game against Temple.
Ultimately, they proved that conventional wisdom holds true – teams are who they are by the time March rolls around. NC State was a talented group that toyed with their food all season and they never really developed killer mentality. It truly manifested itself on the defensive end and slow starts in some of their most important contests.
It was a season with unbelievable potential and opportunity. It ends with a label of underachievement.