Here are some thoughts and observations from NC State's 81-63 loss to Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
Abu and Smith
Abdul-Malik Abu was the only player for NC State that seemed to accomplish anything inside, as his 11 points and nine rebounds attest to. Smith struggled but picked up steam in the second half, hitting four straight shots at one point, to finish with 21 points and five assists. The freshman also had five turnovers and there was some fluff to his final numbers, as when he improved the game was no longer in doubt.
One of 18
Last season a 15th ranked Miami team traveled to PNC Arena and was controlled by NC State. The Wolfpack, who would ultimately finish 16-17 overall. won by 16 points in a game no one expected them to compete.
The moral of the story is there are plenty of games to play and NC State should not be banished to the wilderness just yet. That said, the Wolfpack will need to sort things soon. The ACC is not a place to try and gradually find oneself.
Veterans with a sprinkle of youth
Kamari Murphy (redshirt-senior), Davon Reed and Ja'Quan Newton (junior) were likely to be a problem for the young NC State team considering their experience. The trio played well, combining for 52 points and 16 rebounds.
The play of Bruce Brown made matters worse for NC State. The highly touted freshman hurt the Wolfpack to the tune of 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. The 6-5 guard is difficult to defend, or least he was Saturday, and he could be a surprise player in 2017.
Points in the Paint
Miami dominated the Wolfpack inside. The Hurricanes finished with a 40-16 advantage on points in the paint and NC State could not seem to force the home team outside enough to lull them into taking lower percentage shots, the Canes' 20 three-point attempts notwithstanding.
Another factor was Miami's success scoring after offensive rebounds. That is for another thread.
Second Chance Points
The offensive rebound totals always tell only part of the story. It is what a team does with its second chance that has the bigger impact. Miami only outrebounded NC State by four (17-13) on the offensive end yet the Hurricanes outscored the Wolfpack 26-12 on second chance points. When the Canes were given a reprieve, they took advantage of it. The Pack consistently missed inside shots, particularly early in the game when the team missed 14 of its first 17 attempts from the floor.
+/- is the points scored by a team minus the points allowed by a team while a certain player is on the floor.
Dorn Jr.: -2
Smith Jr.: -15
STAT OF THE GAME
Second Chance Points; Miami 26, NC State 12
Points in the Paint: Miami 40, NC State 16
Fast Break Points: Miami 13, NC State 2
Steals: Miami 9, NC State 3
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"Like our game with Illinois, we got away from running our offense and tried to make tough, hard one-on-one type plays. That's not going to win for you. It's not going to win in this league, and the guys have to learn that. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way." -- Mark Gottfried