Postgame Breakdown: Clemson

Pack Pride looks back at NC State's bad 60-50 loss to Clemson in Littlejohn Coliseum.

There wasn't one. No one really stood out or proved to be a difference maker in the loss.

Tiger big man Jerai Grant won the head-to-head battle with fellow senior Tracy Grant. The 6-foot-9 center finished with 14 points (5-9 FG, 4-5 FT), a game-high 11 rebounds, and four blocks in 33 minutes of action.

Grant controlled the paint and bothered Smith on the defensive end of the floor. He was a major reason why Clemson outrebounded the Wolfpack by 10 and limited State to just four offensive rebounds.

Grant and the Tigers held State to zero second-chance points.

At the time it may have seemed like a meaningless basket. Trailing 31-12, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell called a timeout with his team being dominated by NC State.

"I didn't think our defense was terrible," said Brownell. "They made shots, and I thought, offensively, we were better than the score was indicating.

"We didn't make shots. We got a little tight and we just kept imploring our guys that we've got to improve defensively, that we would go on a run."

On Clemson's next possession Demontez Stitt missed a jumper and State couldn't bring in the rebound, giving the Tigers another opportunity. Point guard Andre Young found Tiger wing Bryan Narcisse on the baseline for a two-handed dunk that cut the Pack's lead to 31-14. What that shot also did was give Clemson a spark that they were looking for.

"The two-handed dunk on the baseline, I think that was the biggest play of the game," said Stitt.

It ignited a 17-3 run over the remainder of the first half that cut the Wolfpack's lead from 19 points down to five, making it a game again.

"After we had a good start, Clemson just became more aggressive," said NC State head coach Sidney Lowe. "They turned up the defense and started going for the ball a lot more. They got more physical with us. We stood around too much; we didn't come around and get the ball from the dribbler like we talked about. They just turned up the intensity."

19 points. NC State's offense appeared to be clicking on all cylinders early, as the Wolfpack was hitting shots and taking very good shots.

It led to the 31-12 lead established before Narcisse's dunk... and it all changed afterwards.

State scored 31 points in the game's first 13 minutes and 50 seconds. The Wolfpack would total just 19 points over the remaining 26 minutes and 10 seconds. It's hard winning a ballgame when you score only 19 points in almost 30 minutes of game action.

The Wolfpack looked tentatively offensively and Clemson dominated the backboards, an area State has had an advantage this season. State stopped forcing any turnovers, couldn't get easy scoring opportunities, and didn't get to the free throw line.

No one would have thought State would finish the game with just 50 points after taking a 31-12 lead, but they did.

"Today, we had trouble scoring," said Lowe. "Their defense was good and they took some things away. Jerai Grant was on the inside, taking that away and blocking shots. Once again, we had five shots on the inside and he blocked at least two.

"We just couldn't get that one basket we needed to break the momentum and I was running out of timeouts. I used them all in the first half, trying to stop that run, and I was trying to hang on to them in the second half."

NC State (12-8, 2-4 ACC) now has to regroup because its next challenge will be against rival North Carolina (13-5, 3-1 ACC) in Chapel Hill.

The Tar Heels had a bye over the weekend and play at Miami tonight at 7:30.

UNC is led by frontcourt standouts Tyler Zeller and John Henson. Zeller leads the team in scoring (14.1 ppg) and is second in rebounding (7.4 rpg). Henson is third in scoring (10.6), first in rebounding (8.2), and first in blocks (51).

Heralded freshman Harrison Barnes hasn't had the impact expected but is still averaging 11.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

Tip-off for NC State and North Carolina is set for 2:00 on Saturday in Chapel Hill. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Freshman forward C.J. Leslie was sick prior to the Miami game and it showed in his play as he appeared lethargic for much of the contest. However, if he is that sick now then maybe he shouldn't be playing because he didn't have a good game against Clemson.

Leslie, who came off the bench for the second-straight game, never seemed into it and was yanked after only a couple of possessions in the first half because Clemson's big men were beating him down the floor in transition. He walked at times up and down the floor. He took terrible shots in State's halfcourt offense, looking to simply be taking shots because he hadn't yet. He didn't appear to be giving maximum effort on either end.

In 13 minutes he missed all five field goals, grabbed just two boards, and had a turnover, but it was about his statline. Leslie just didn't look into the game and his lack of effort and intensity impacted his team.

  • Lorenzo Brown seems to be transitioning nicely to the point guard position. Brown hit all three of his field goals and totaled nine points, two rebounds, two steals, and an assist in 20 minutes of action. He did have two turnovers, including a questionable offensive foul call.

  • After hitting 54.2% of their shots in the first half, State was 6-of-24 in the final 20 minutes... 25%.

  • Deshawn Painter had five fouls in eight minutes.

  • While Richard Howell grabbed six rebounds and had an assist, he was also 0-of-4 from the field and had zero points. Combine that with Leslie's game and State didn't get much production from the power forward spot Tuesday night.

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