NC State's offense was working against the Deacs, and it's a big reason why the Wolfpack was able to win going away.
NC State shot 52.5% from the field, the best as a team since the win over Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack had 16 assists and just 12 turnovers, as guards Tyler Lewis (7), Desmond Lee (5), and Cat Barber really distributed the basketball.
Lewis and Barber ran the show well for the Wolfpack, combining for 14 points, 12 assists, and five turnovers in 39 minutes of action at the point guard position.
"Both Tyler and Cat are different players," said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried. "They both bring a different set of strengths. When Tyler or Cat is in the game, we seem to run our offense pretty good.
"Tyler and Cat both have been tremendously unselfish. They are sharing a position which is not always easy to do, but they have done a good job."
NC State is now 7-0 this season when they score more than 80 points in a game.
NC State did a much better job of cleaning the glass. The Wolfpack was +5 on the backboard (36-31) and was able to turn 13 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points.
Entering the game NC State had allowed six straight opponents to grab double-digit offensive rebounds and score double-digit second-chance points. Wake was able to grab 11 offensive rebounds, but the Wolfpack limited them to just seven second-chance points.
This could be a bright spot NC State can build on moving forward.
T.J. Warren was terrific.
The sophomore forward scored a career-high 34 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. His 15 made field goals and 26 field goal attempts were also career highs. Perhaps the most surprising stat for Warren was he only attempted two free throws despite being so active on both ends.
"Offensively, T.J. Warren was spectacular," said Mark Gottfried.
Over his last five games, Warren is averaging 26.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and two steals while shooting 58.4% from the field and 55.5% from three.
"What I like about his three-point shot is he's shooting it on balance," Gottfried stated. "He's getting his body under his shot.
"He has a knack to score in a variety of ways, which is unique. Right now, he is making the ‘3' and he has improved as a foul shooter. Now when you foul him, he can capitalize by going to the line and making them."
Free Throw Defense
After seeing teams hit free throw after free throw what seems like all season, it had to make Gottfried feel good to watch Wake Forest struggle at the line in the loss. The Deacs hit just 14-of-31 free throws, a dreadful 45% from the foul line.
Free throws were a major factor in Wake's one-point win in Winston-Salem. The Deacs knocked down 28-of-39 attempts with reserve wing Arnaud Adala Moto hitting 11-of-14 attempts. Last night he attempted just two.
Yes, NC State won by 15 points and seemed to control the game, but Wake Forest was scoring offensively. The Deacs came out hot, hitting 60.9% of their shots in the first half, including 4-of-5 3-point attempts.
"At times our defense wasn't bad [in the first half]," said Gottfried. "They just made every shot."
The Wolfpack managed to hold Wake to 41.7% (10-of-24) shooting and 1-of-5 from 3-point range in the second half, which was huge.
"I thought in the second half defensively we were much better," Gottfried stated. "We were really good."
Still, the Deacs shot 51.1% for the game. It's never good when your opponent makes over 50% of their shots.
A big reason for Wake's offensive success was their ability to get out in transition.
The Deacons used long rebounds and a few Wolfpack turnovers to score 21 fastbreak points, a +15 advantage in that category.
NC State, particularly in the second half, seemed slow getting back and Wake pushed the ball right at them.
+/- is essentially the points scored by a team minus the points allowed by a team while a certain player is on the floor.
So, as you can see below, T.J. Warren had a +/- of +18. That means NC State outscored Wake Forest by 18 points with Warren on the floor. Kyle Washington was +2... State outscored Wake by 2 points when Washington was on the floor.
T.J. Warren: +18
Tyler Lewis: +10
Desmond Lee: +10
BeeJay Anya: +13
Lennard Freeman: +9
Cat Barber: +8
Jordan Vandenberg: +9
Kyle Washington: +2
Ralston Turner: +11
PLAYER OF THE GAME
T.J. Warren was, once again, the best player on the floor.
He now has six 30+ point games this season and is averaging an ACC-best 23.1 points per game.
"He is a really gifted offensive player that scores in a lot of different ways," said Gottfried. "He is playing with a lot of confidence."
STAT OF THE GAME
NC State was able to make Wake Forest pay for their mistakes.
The Deacs had 14 turnovers, and NC State turned those into 23 points. Wake scored 14 points on the Wolfpack's 12 turnovers.
"I'm excited. This is a good win for our team. I am proud of our young group. We are getting better. Obviously we can get better in a lot of areas, but a lot of our guys are doing a lot of good things for our team."