Here are some thoughts and observations from NC State's 73-63 win over St. Joseph's in the United States Virgin Islands.
What ever happened prior to the Creighton game in regards to three-point shooting NC State needs to bottle it up and bring it back to Raleigh. The Wolfpack was 11-for-21 from behind the arc against St. Joseph's after hitting half of its 28 trey attempts the night before versus the Blue Jays. all of this occurred sans Maverick Rowan, who is supposed to be one of the better shooters on the team. Torin Dorn Jr., the Swiss army knife of the Pack, buried five of his six three-point tries Monday.
NC State had 23 field goals and on 16 assists. Three of the baskets came in transition, which does not lend itself to assists. There was little in the way of isolation play. The Wolfpack found the open man and created scoring opportunities.
Dennis Smith has eight assists, a season-high. It is more impressive when considering the freshman also scored 24 points. Against St. Joseph's Smith resembled the player the Wolfpack needs him to be this season.
The Wolfpack held St. Joseph's to 32.9 percent shooting from the floor and won comfortably despite a huge difference in shot attempts (73-to-49). Trailing by 11 with 10:11 remaining in the first half, NC State went on a 38-12 run that helped them seize control of the contest.
The Hawks had two players, Shavar Newkirk and Charlie Brown, combine for 39 points but the rest of the team shot a meager 9-for-43 (20.9 percent) from the floor. The duo did not have enough help and it will be hard to beat the Wolfpack when the third=leading scorer in the game can only muster six points.
NC State only forced eight turnovers, so that will be something that they would want to improve on going forward.
NC State was woeful on the boards. Despite Abdul-Malik Abu finishing with 10 rebounds, the Wolfpack ending up losing the battle of the glass (43-to-33). St. Joseph's was especially dominant on the offensive end. The Hawks had 22 offensive rebounds to only six for NC State. The difference in second chance points (22-4) reflected the control the Hawks had.
If St. Joseph's had been remotely efficient offensively with that type of rebounding advantage they would have likely won, perhaps easily.
NC STATE +/-
+/- is essentially the points scored by a team minus the points allowed by a team while a certain player is on the floor.
Dorn Jr.: +10
Smith Jr.: +8
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Dennis Smith Jr.
The line was terrific. Smith finished with 24 points, eight assists, three rebounds, two steals and two turnovers. While he shot 6-for-15 from the floor, the freshman did make half of his three-point attempts and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
STAT OF THE GAME
NC State: 23-for-49 FG (46.9%), 6 offensive rebounds, 73 points
St. Joseph's: 24-for-73 FG (32.9%), 22 offensive rebounds, 63 points
"We get 23 field goals off of 16 assists, I love that, and really the only glaring negative in the game was offensive rebounding. They get 22 of them. They shoot 32 percent from the field and if we get half of those offensive rebounds... some of them were long rebounds, I'd bet of the baskets they made six, seven, or eight of them were on second shots." -- Mark Gottfried