Here are some thoughts and observations from NC State's 104-78 victory over No. 21 Virginia Tech Wednesday at PNC Arena.
Dennis Smith Jr.
NC State remarkably had only one triple-double in the history of its men's basketball program prior to Smith exploding on the Hokies for 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. The freshman stands a great chance to be the first player in NC State men's basketball history to do it twice, particularly as he shows a genuine willingness to go down low and get rebounds. Smith had one of the great performances in school history.
The Wolfpack had three players (Smith, Henderson and Abu) finish with at least 20 points and Maverick Rowan came off the bench to score 13. The fact that there was not more is a testament to NC State having more than it needed already and not any real deficiency.
Shooting Percentage/Points in the Paint
The final tallies are staggering. NC State shot 64.1 percent from the floor (69.7 percent in the first half, 58.1 percent after intermission) and scored a remarkable 62 points in the paint. Sometimes stats lack correlation but the two here are directly related. Abu finished a perfect 9-for-9 from the floor and nearly broke his arm on some of the wicked dunks he had. Only Rowan (6-for-13) shot under 50 percent for the game. The Wolfpack scored at will and even finished with more offensive rebounds than Virginia Tech (7-to-6), If the free throw percentage (16-for-24, 66.7 percent) had been better for NC State it would have been much worse for the Hokies.
As NC State begin its onslaught, the source the power derived from, despite the terrific shooting, was its defensive play. The Wolfpack came out and was applying intense pressure and the Hokies were blitzed right from the beginning. Virginia Tech shot 36.7 percent from the floor in the first half (slightly better than half of what the Wolfpack shot) and used a 50 percent performance after intermission to muster a 43.1 percent total for the contest. The Hokies actually shot worse from the free throw line than NC State as well.
There were four technical fouls called in the game with two being assessed to NC State players. BeeJay Anya and Terry Henderson were assessed the technicals for jawing at Hokie players who undoubtedly were not pleased with how their team was playing among other things.It is not clear who instigated the confrontations.
When NC State ratchets up its defense, opposing teams will get frustrated. The Wolfpack has players, like Henderson and Smith, who will have to learn to walk away at times -- which is not in their nature. It is a situation that could crop up again in the future and NC State will have to be smart about it.
+/- is the points scored by a team minus the points allowed by a team while a certain player is on the floor.
Smith Jr.: +21
Dorn Jr.: +3
Corchiani Jr.: +2
STAT OF THE GAME
Dennis Smith Jr.: 27 points (9-16 FG, 9-15 FT), 11 rebounds, 11 assists, five steals and five turnovers in 34 minutes.
It is the first triple-double by a NC State player since Julius Hodge in 2002. NC State basketball has a rich tradition. Smith's performance. coming against a ranked foe, is one of the best in Wolfpack history.
"It means a lot. This is a great school, great program, dating back to '74 when they won a national championship. To be able to do that at this school, it's definitely an honor." -- Dennis Smith Jr.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"[Smith is] such an electric player and tonight he did just about everything. He handled the ball against the press, rebounded the ball, created shots for other people, scored the ball. He has 27 points and he'll probably tell you he's mad at himself for missing foul shots. He could have easily had 30 and within the framework of what we're trying to do." -- Mark Gottfried