In the case of NC State, there always seems to be one or two things missing.
For the Wolfpack against Miami it was allowing offensive rebounds and three-point shooting, with the latter being a common theme in NC State’s home losses.
NC State’s 84-79 defeat to the Hurricanes Saturday dropped the Wolfpack to 14-10 overall, 3-8 in the ACC. It was the Pack’s third straight defeat following the upset win at Duke on January 23rd. State has dropped three in a row at home and four of the last five overall in PNC Arena.
“I’m frustrated, disappointed,” NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said afterwards. “I'm disappointed for our players, and I thought that probably the main thing in today’s game is our inability to get a defensive rebound and that led to them shooting a much better percentage. It led to some kickouts off of some offensive rebounds that made some threes.”
In NC State’s last five home games the opposition has hit 54-of-113 shots from three-point range (47.8%).
Perhaps what is most excruciating for the Wolfpack is most of its conference losses, and all of the league defeats at home, are games the team could have won. In the last two (Syracuse and Miami), NC State had leads in the second half only to falter late.
Miami had 17 offensive rebounds in its win. NC State had 16 defensive rebounds.
“If you look at our numbers across the line, offensively — and this is kind of a broken record — we should be able to win the game,” Gottfried said of the loss to Miami. “Fifteen assists, 11-for-18 (from three-point range), we shot 56 percent from the field against a really, really good defensive team.”
“But we got to figure out how we’re going to guard the ball better,” Gottfried added. “We went with our zone for a while, and I thought that was really effective. And when they kind of solved that, we went to our man and that was good for a little while and then they solved that a bit and you got to get a rebound. You have to get a defensive rebound, that’s part of the defensive possession.”
The Wolfpack has seven games remaining in the regular season. A late run to position itself into the NCAA Tournament is not out of the realm of possibility but NC State is running out of time.
"It's either now or never if you ask me,” Terry Henderson said. “I'm tired of losing. Nobody on our team wants to lose. We have to take into account that we need to come back even stronger."
This week NC State travels to Florida State and then a rematch versus Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. It remains to be seen whether the recent home woes will follow the Pack on the road.
"We have to go down there and give it our all,” Henderson said. “Everybody has to be locked in."