Talking Points: Defense sinks NC State
Posted March 1, 2014
Updated March 2, 2014
1. NC State's loss to Miami is rather simple to break down -- defense.
The Hurricanes have the worst offense in the ACC, but their season-high 85 points was the third time Miami broke the 80 point barrier this year and the first time in conference play. The Hurricanes entered PNC Arena shooting 40.9% from the field and averaging 60.1 points-per-game. Miami blistered NC State by hitting 68% of their shots in the second half and finished the afternoon 27-for-46.
The Wolfpack allowed easy layups, saw five different Miami players score in double-figures and pulled down only 12 defensive rebounds against the Hurricanes.
2. Despite head coach Mark Gottfried making the emotional turnaround a point of emphasis leading up to Miami, the overtime loss to North Carolina might have cost NC State another game.
"We went to Syracuse and lost a tough one, then went to Clemson and I thought we didn't have energy," said Gottfried. "The last two days that's all we've talked about, is getting ourselves back up and ready to go. I thought, again, we were very heavy legged."
NC State did mount a comeback and eventually took a 65-64 lead with 6:29 left in the game following a burst of fantastic play from TJ Warren. Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga called a timeout and made defensive adjustments. The Hurricanes reeled off 13 straight points and closed the game out on a 21-5 run.
"They made a run that negated our run and we just didn't respond," said Gottfried. "We just seemed to lose our drive at that point. We climbed the mountain...sometimes it's hard to climb it twice."
3. So there are pundits who really think TJ Warren isn't ACC Player of the Year material? Asking for a friend.
Miami did a good job holding Warren to six points in the first half, but the sophomore's 14 points and three steals in the second half brought life back to NC State.
4. While the loss to North Carolina effectively closed the door on NC State's NCAA Tournament chances, the Wolfpack had three winnable games down the stretch and the ability to better their seeding for the ACC Tournament.
And who knows what the future holds in Greensboro? Stranger things have happened.
The loss to Miami hurt their positioning. Worse, it acted as a premature ending for NC State's regular season in the eyes of some fans.