Another Top-Half League Finish
It's easy to bash this team for what it hasn't done this season – meet the lofty expectations put forth in the preseason. Or bash them for losing a few road games to bad teams or for certain players not meeting their potential.
But the Pack will finish no worse than tied for fourth in the league, and the team appears well on its way to a second-straight NCAA bid.
Considering where the program was when Mark Gottfried took over about 23 months ago, that's a remarkable turnaround. Gottfried had this team playing his brand of basketball almost from day one and he's managed to turn the talent he inherited into an exciting, good – and sometimes great – basketball team.
Scott Wood At Florida State
Scott Wood put his name on the map in the second ACC game of his career four years ago – scoring 31 points and hitting seven 3s in Tallahassee. So it's only fitting that he would close his regular season ACC career with another solid offensive performance in the same building – finishing with 18 points and hitting all seven free throw attempts.
In three career games at the Donald L. Tucker Center, Wood has hit 13 3-pointers and scored a combined 59 points. He broke double figures in all three games he played down there and never hit less than three 3-pointers.
It's hard to exaggerate how bad of a rebounding team Florida State has been this season. The Noles currently rank 200th in offensive rebounding percentage and 324th (out of 347 teams) in defensive rebounding percentage – in ACC play they rank 10th and last respectively. Those figures come even after yesterday's performance, when the Pack allowed Florida State to rebound over half of its own misses on its way to 17 second-chance points.
Now, the Pack also had 16 second-chance points so the final margin wasn't huge – but to lose the rebounding battle to one of the worst rebounding team in the ACC is probably what cost the Pack the game. In the Pack's previous game with Florida State, they had a 29-6 edge in second-chance points.
The foul trouble of Leslie and Howell were a big part of the problem – in Raleigh they combined for 17 rebounds while on Saturday they combined for just 11.
Simply put, Florida State fouled the right guys and NC State fouled the wrong guys.
The Seminoles and Pack were almost even at the charity stripe – 33 trips for the Pack compared to 29 trips for the Noles – but in a game that came down to the final possession those one or two extra misses for the Pack made all the difference.
The Pack sent Devon Bookert – an 87 percent free-throw shooter – to the line 12 times. He made nine shots. Meanwhile the Noles sent Howell and Leslie – both sub-70 percent shooters – to the line 13 times. They made five.
That's a four-point difference in a four-point game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
T.J. Warren, who scored just eight points but was efficient from the field (3-of-5, 2-of-2 from the line) while not turning it over and grabbing nine rebounds, dishing out two assists and recording two steals.
His offensive rebounding late in the second half kept the Pack in the game and on a night where Leslie and Howell got in foul trouble he played 34 minutes and got the job done.
STAT OF THE GAME
64.7 – C.J. Leslie's offensive rating in the game. The stat offensive rating essentially boils down to the number of points your team scores per possession you were involved in. This means the Pack scored about 0.6 points in every possession Leslie was involved in.
By contrast, the Pack scored about 1.1 points per possession in the game and in conference play this year the Pack averaged 1.09 points per possession. In 18 league games, Leslie has come in under 100 in offensive rating 10 times and under 80 five times.
"The foul trouble really hurt. We just had a lot to overcome and I thought for the most part of the game we did. We put ourselves right there and we just didn't close it out."