Lewis Provides A Spark

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State was reeling early in the second half in their game on Sunday against Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets held a five-point halftime lead but pushed the advantage to 11 points on a Daniel Miller jumper with 15:56 remaining.

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried was looking for a spark, and at that next media timeout he inserted sophomore point guard Tyler Lewis into the lineup.

Lewis, who had a single assist in just three first-half minutes, had struggled from the field this season. In fact, "struggling" might be an understatement.

He entered the Georgia Tech game shooting just 31.6% from the field and much worse from behind the three-point line, hitting only 3-of-25 (12%) attempts this season. His last made three-pointer came on December 14th against Detroit... Lewis had been 0-of-8 since that win.

Lewis checked in at the 15:41 mark and after the Pack got a defensive stop, he came down and drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key that cut the lead to seven points. A possession later he hit another 3-pointer, and Lewis had put his stamp on the game.

"Tyler's two back-to-back 3-pointers gave us great energy and belief," said Mark Gottfried. "He played terrific."

"I kept working hard every night and putting in extra shots after practice," said Lewis. "I still had the confidence to knock down two jumpshots."

Lewis finished the game with 10 points (4-of-6 FG, 2-of-3 3s), three assists, one rebound, one steal, and one turnover. He also set a strong screen that allowed T.J. Warren to gain some space for his game-winning shot in overtime.

Credit Gottfried, who stuck with Lewis for the final 15 minutes and all of overtime. Starter Cat Barber played just nine minutes in the second half and overtime.

"I have great confidence in Cat Barber and I have great confidence in Tyler," said Gottfried. "When Tyler got in the game today he was playing better. The two 3-pointers were absolutely huge in that time of the game. They energized us as much as anything. I thought Tyler did a great job of getting us in our offense and getting us in the right place.

"On different nights it will be a different player. I like the fact that we have two high-quality young point guards. Sometimes it is just a feel. Who is playing better or who can do certain things better that you are trying to key on throughout the game."

The 23 minutes was the most Lewis had played in a game since... Detroit.

"I stay positive and have to always be ready when my time is called... don't get down, don't lose confidence," he said. "I know what I can do out there on the court, I have to go out there and do it."

This was a huge win for NC State. The Pack now checks in at 3-4 in ACC play after starting 1-4, and have a home game against Florida State on Wednesday before playing five of six contests on the road.

"It definitely felt great to be back out there and give the team a spark off the bench," said Lewis. "We needed this victory to keep up in the ACC."


Pack Pride Top Stories