Observations From The Game: Wake Forest

NC State had one of its best days on offense, and one of its worst on defense, as swept the lowly Demon Deacons on Saturday and moved to 6-3 in conference play.


Pack Offense Wakes Up
NC State hadn't played a good offensive game in two weeks as North Carolina, Virginia and Boston College all stymied the Pack in different ways. But the Pack broke through on Saturday, posting its second-best offensive performance in terms of efficiency of the season (behind only the Morehead State game) and by far its best offensive performance in conference play.

Scott Wood and his 3-point shooting had a lot to do with the success of the offense, but the whole team contributed on Saturday. The Pack hit 52 percent of its 2-point attempts, 53 percent of its 3s and 85 percent of its free throws. They also got to the charity strip 20 times compared to just 10 for the Demon Deacons.

Play at the Point
Lorenzo Brown broke out of his slide with a vintage Zo performance – scoring 15 points while dishing out eight assists and committing only two turnovers. It was the kind of game Brown needed to restore a bit of confidence as the Pack heads to Atlanta for a little payback then hits its toughest stretch of games all year – the six-day slate that pits them against the top three teams in the league.

Not to be overlooked, however, is the solid performance of Alex Johnson. No, he didn't score, but his five assists and just one turnover provided the Pack with exactly what they needed against Wake. Johnson is still struggling to find his shooting touch, but on Saturday he managed to provide value to the Pack without putting the ball in the basket himself.

Taking Advantage of Your Advantages
When the Pack plays well on offense, its often because they are able to do two things – score inside and get out on the break. The team did both effectively on Sunday, scoring 19 fastbreak points and getting 34 points in the paint against the Deacons. When State can do both in the same game, they are a very difficult team to stop for any defense.


Defensive Disappearance
As easy as it is to get excited about Wood reigning down 3s from everywhere and scoring 87 points as a team, the Pack cannot be happy with how it played defense on Saturday. Wake hit 60 percent of its 3-pointers and managed to get as close as five points with six minutes left because the Pack simply couldn't stop them for much of the day.

It was the Pack's worst defensive effort since the Georgia Tech game, and only a spectacular day on offense prevented this from being a repeat of the debacle against the Yellow Jackets. Things get much tougher for the Pack very soon, and they simply cannot afford these types of defensive outings over the final month of the season. The silver lining, if there is one, is that the Pack managed to win this game in spite of its defense.

Well, Scott Wood made this decision easy. The junior caught fire against the Demon Deacons in a way he hasn't all season, draining 3-pointer after 3-pointer – all of which was needed on a day when the Pack defense struggled to stop Wake. He finished 6-of-10 from 3 and 8-of-12 from the field over all – with his other two shots being toe-on-the-line 2-point baskets. He only got to the line once, but he extended his free throw streak to 64 straight and is now just 21 behind the NCAA record of 85.

Mark Gottfried on the new ACC schedule:

"It's disappointing, it is. I share the same feelings with the fans. I'm new and just learning, but I would certainly like for that to happen."

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