Observations from the Game: Florida State

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Here are some quick thoughts and observations from NC State's 84-66 win over Florida State.

Closing Out
The Pack led by 10 at halftime, a fairly dominating performance that easily could have resulted in the team being up by more, but you had to wonder how the Pack would come out and execute in the second half after a seemingly endless string of close wins and losses.

But instead of letting the Seminoles back in, the Pack kept the pedal on the gas and finished off the game in convincing fashion. At one point midway through the half the ‘Noles had the lead down to 10, but T.J. Warren hit a 3-pointer in response and that was essentially the last gasp for Florida State.

"We're on a winning streak and we're doing a good job of staying with it," C.J. Leslie said.

Crashing the Boards
Florida State might be one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, but that does little to diminish the performance of the Pack on Tuesday night. In the first half alone, the Pack gave up just one offensive rebound while collecting 10 offensive boards on their own end and scoring 14 second-chance points. The Pack finished with season best marks in both offensive rebounding percentage – getting 57 percent of their own misses – and defensive rebounding percentage – grabbing 80 percent of Florida State's missed shots.

"I do think at times our team relies on Richard to just go get them all... we have to be a team where everyone gets involved in the rebounding department," Gottfried said.

The biggest surprise on the boards was Warren, who started in place of Purvis and finished the game with 13 rebounds – a career high and the first double-double of his career. Warren has always been able to score but if he continues to be an effective rebounder it will allow Gottfried to rest Howell and Leslie more without sacrificing that aspect of the Pack defense. Howell and Leslie were also active on the glass, combining for 17 boards.

Brown Back To Full Speed
Even though Lorenzo Brown played against both Clemson and Virginia Tech, his explosiveness as a play-maker didn't seem to really return full force until Tuesday night. It was evident early on, when he found the baseline and exploded to the rim for a reverse lay-up – that was simply a play that he hadn't made the previous two games since returning from his ankle injury.

Brown didn't have a spectacular shooting night, but he dished out nine assists to go with four turnovers and had the Pack offense clicking on all cylinders once again. As great as Tyler Lewis has played as of late, the Pack simply elevates itself to a different level with Brown running the show and playing at a high level.

The Pack was winning the turnover battle early, forcing 12 turnovers in the first half against Florida State and scoring 10 points in transition. But the Pack fell back into a familiar pattern in the second half, forcing just two turnovers and allowing the Seminoles to even up the turnover margin for the game. As a direct result, the Pack only scored five points in transition in the second half.

It's a minor quibble, as these things tend to be when you win a league game by 20 points, but the Pack as a whole looks a lot better when it's generating turnovers and turning those into fast break points. To follow such an encouraging first half with such a discouraging second half in that regard shows that perhaps this is simply the way the team is destined to play – as good as its transition game is they'll have to figure out ways to execute the break off misses and not turnovers.

" had 84 points with 14 turnovers," Gottfried said. "If we don't turn the ball over that 84 might be 94."

NC State Player of the Game
T.J. Warren

The obvious choice, what was so amazing about Warren's 31-point performance was the efficiency behind it. The freshman hit 12-of-15 field goal attempts including 2-of-2 on 3s, hit all five of his free throws and didn't commit a turnover. That's about as close as a player gets to a perfect game in basketball. Throw in the 13 rebounds, which Warren said he was more proud of than the 31 points, and it was far and away Warren's best game of the season.

"Everybody's been getting on me about the rebounding so I want to keep that up," Warren said.

Stat of the Game
Four, Number of C.J. Leslie Dunks
Leslie had four separate rim-rattling dunks against the Seminoles and in general spent the game attacking Florida State's tall but unimposing rotation of big men. The turnovers are still problematic (five on Tuesday), but when Leslie is attacking and hitting free throws (7-of-10) he reminds you why he was voted the ACC's preseason player of the year.

Scott Wood on hitting his 300th 3-pointer at NC State:
"I've probably taken a lot more than 300 though. I can tell you that much."

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