Harrow Taking Over?

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Ryan Harrow may have seized control of the point guard position at NC State, as he played 34 minutes in the loss to Duke with Javi Gonzalez playing just six.

Ryan Harrow may have seized control of the point guard position at NC State, as he played 34 minutes in the loss to Duke with Javi Gonzalez playing just six.

"We're going to reward the guys that are getting it done," Lowe said when asked about Gonzalez not playing in the second half. "We're going to reward the guys that are doing what I want them to do and are capable of doing what I want them to do and that's what we did.

"Now we have to really look at our team going forward. I've got to make some decisions. We're going to put the guys out there that's going to get it done for us. That's the only way we can do it."

Harrow finished with 15 points, five assists, and two turnovers.

"Tonight was a big night for Ryan Harrow," said Lowe. "I talked to him before the game and told him to be ready. He's a talented young man, and I wanted to give him a chance to see the game from the bench before putting him in. He had a great game tonight."

NC State came into the game as one of the top rebounding teams in the league, but Duke dominated the Pack on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 44-34. Duke big men Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, and Ryan Kelly snatched ten, eight, and eight boards respectively, and starting small forward Kyle Singler also grabbed eight boards.

NC State figured to have an advantage on the glass, but that wasn't the case. The Devils were particularly effective on the offensive glass, grabbing 18 offensive rebounds that resulted in 17 second-chance points. Often times the Wolfpack hedged or rotated off Duke's big men which left them in terrific position for an offensive rebound or tip-putback.

There are going to be some whistles when Duke freshman Tyler Thornton is in the game. The pesky point guard played just 11 minutes... and fouled out. He also drew two charges. That's seven fouls in 11 minutes.

NC State shot 54.8% from the field and scored 50 points in the second half. However, Duke shot 51.4% from the field and scored 50 points in the second half.

C.J. Leslie plays with a lot of energy and is a freak athletically, but State needs him to be more efficiently from the field and at the free throw line. He hit just 4-of-11 field goals and 5-of-10 free throws which resulted in only 13 points.

State needs Leslie to be more efficient offensively if he's going to work for his shot as much as he has recently.

What is up with Lorenzo Brown? The Wolfpack freshman guard has been in a serious funk lately. He scored just two points on 1-of-6 shooting against FSU, and followed that up with a 0-6 outing last night. 1-of-12 shooting from the field isn't going to cut it from your starting shooting guard.

An even bigger problem is it seems to be effecting Brown's overall game. He's not defending like he did earlier in the year, and he is also not grabbing boards or dishing out assists. In the same two-game stretch he's had just one rebound and one assist.

NC State may have found something in the second half when Lowe inserted Harrow and Richard Howell into the starting lineup. The move allowed Scott Wood to play shooting guard and gave the Wolfpack an athletic and physical frontcourt in Howell, Tracy Smith, and C.J. Leslie.

"We actually ran that group in practice," said Lowe. "We need Scott on the floor so we worked on that lineup actually the last four ball games Scott's got in foul problems early and we had to take him off the floor and it changes our team.

"We looked at moving him to the two where he doesn't have to guard a guy as big, posting him up. I was pleased with that lineup. Obviously it gave us some energy and got us back in it."

Duke's ability to alter and block shots, without fouling, caught the attention of Lowe.

"I'll say tonight they were the best shot blocking team in the country," said Lowe. "A lot of blocks, no fouls. That's... yeah, that's all I'm going to say about that."

Ryan Harrow is the Wolfpack's second-leading scorer (11.4 ppg), despite starting just one game this season. However, if Harrow is going to play more minutes with the starting unit, and better scoring options, than NC State may need him to be more of a playmaker and creator than a scorer.

Shooting just 42% from the field and 22% from behind the 3-point line, Harrow scores the majority of his points attacking the basket in halfcourt and converting or getting to the free throw line, where he shoots an astounding 94%.

With that being said, when those same drives result in empty possessions, NC State is in trouble defensively. Often times in the past few games Harrow has been caught on the ground or out of the play after not converting on a drive. This leaves the opposing point guard with the freedom to get out and start the fastbreak because there is no ball pressure applied to him with Harrow out of position.

State needs to do either a better job of player rotation (which tends to leave another player open) until he can recover or he has to work on distributing more from the top of the key so he can get back defensively.

While he is a very good scorer, NC State already has strong scoring options in Tracy Smith, Scott Wood, Richard Howell, and C.J. Leslie, and they can't afford to get beat in transition defensively because their point guard has taken himself out of the play.

Harrow is a good enough creator that he should be able to easily make that adjustment if he continues to play the majority of his minutes with the starters.

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