Observations From the Game: UNC Asheville

A look at the highlights and low-lights of NC State's season-opening win over UNC Asheville on Friday night at the RBC Center.

Highlights
  • Fast Breaks – Lorenzo Brown and Alex Johnson both look at home in the open court running a break. Brown was particularly lethal on the break and most of his nine assists came when the Pack was running. If the Pack finished with 23 points in transition and if they can continue to push the ball effectively they should be able to continue scoring into the 80s with regularity.
  • C.J. Williams – The senior guard took advantage of his 38 minutes on the court, moving well without the ball and hitting some mid-range jumpers to score 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. With Scott Wood in foul trouble most of the day, Williams stepped up and scored some big buckets for the Pack in the second half.
  • The Depleted Front Court – With no C.J. Leslie or Thomas de Thaey, Howell and Painter played a combined 61 minutes against UNCA. Both were beasts on the boards as Howell finished with 15 rebounds and Painter added 12 on the night. They also contributed on offense, each scoring in double figures and Howell adding four assists on a few nifty passes in the post.
  • Tyler Harris – He only played seven minutes, but he made them count. Harris hit a big shot at the top of the key, was active on both ends and finished 3-of-4 with eight points in his first action with the Pack. Head coach Mark Gottfried commented after the game that Harris had probably earned a little more time on the court with his play.
  • The Gottfried Coat Slam – Gottfried was displeased with the fourth foul call against Wood. Displeased enough that he slammed his coat to the ground, picked it up only to ball it up again and throw it right back down. He later said that the officials did a good job overall and that's just a "part of coaching." Howell commented that he was trying not to laugh while watching the antics from the bench.

Lowlights

  • Eligibility Woes – As mentioned above, the Pack played without both Leslie and de Thaey on Friday night. Leslie has been suspended for three games for accepting impermissible benefits while NC State is looking into de Thaey's amateur status. It's unclear when the Pack will have de Thaey on the floor and its cleared they missed having the two big men as both Howell and Painter had to log big minutes.
  • Halfcourt Offense – The Pack offense seemed to sputter in the second half when they were unable to get out in transition. The Pack didn't shoot particularly well – hitting just 31 percent from behind the arc and 44 percent overall. It could take awhile for the offense to find its stride as the players pick up the new system.

Player of the Game
The nod goes to Lorenzo Brown for filling up the stat sheet on Friday night. He made just 4-of-12 from the floor but had 13 points, nine assists, eight steals and five rebounds with only three turnovers. His aggressiveness on defense was a big reason that the Pack was able to get out on the fast break so often and score 23 points in transitions. This probably won't be the last time he ends up in this space over the course of the season.

Stat of the Game
The easy answer is to go with Brown's eight steals, all in the first half. But lets also give credit to the Pack's rebounding, which pulled down 34 defensive rebounds on 48 misses by Asheville. They also had 16 offensive rebounds on 38 misses, helping them overcome a sub-par shooting night.

Quotable
Richard Howell on coach Gottfried and Calvin Leslie:
"I feel like coach Gottfried is putting in position where i can show my versatility. A lot of people don't know that I can handle the ball... not just me but Calvin also... Calvin, WOW. I don't think I've ever called him like that. C.J. as well... coach Gottfried is putting us in a wonderful situation."


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