Pack Hoops: Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange reviews the year to date and looks forward to the conference schedule and beyond. Check out the full Wolfpack Report here on Pack Pride.

GETTING INSIDE
At just about the moment it appeared that North Carolina State had learned how to finish off a game, the Wolfpack instead found another way to lose.

Florida's Chandler Parsons grabbed the rebound off a missed free throw and got nothing but net on a desperation, 75-foot heave to give Florida an unlikely 62-61 victory in overtime.

What made things worse for the 'Pack was that it had dominated the extra period, leading all the way until the final buzzer.

Instead of an 11-3 record and a victory over an SEC opponent that at one time was ranked 10th in the country, the 'Pack is saddled with a fourth loss in 14 games.

"This one hurts," coach Sidney Lowe said. "And it will hurt for a while."

It also was a third loss in the last five games for the 'Pack, a stretch that started with an eight-point setback at Wake Forest in an early ACC encounter.

A trip to Arizona and a two-point loss to the Wildcats followed when they couldn't stop Nic Wise from driving the length of the court for a layup with one second remaining.

After wins over Winthrop and UNC-Greensboro, the 'Pack looked poised for the next step. Unfortunately, Parsons had other ideas.

The 'Pack now must re-gather its wits and not let things slip completely away.

The 'Pack will have one more non-conference game to wash away the bitter taste of the loss to the Gators when Holy Cross visits. It then gets back into ACC play with a home game against Virginia.

NOTES, QUOTES
-- Junior PG Javier Gonzalez has been adding scoring punch for N.C. State in recent outings, and that could make a big difference for the Wolfpack. He was 4-of-9 from the field for 13 points against Florida, scoring the tying basket on a follow shot to send the game into overtime and then scoring the first five points of the extra period to give the 'Pack an early lead. He has been in double figures in four of his last five games with a season high of 18 twice (Wake Forest and Arizona).

-- N.C. State now has lost two games to Florida by a total of three points. Last year's game was a 68-66 win for the Gators in Gainesville when the 'Pack lost a chance for a last-second win by turning the ball over with 3.1 seconds left trailing by just a point.

ON THE SPOT
Turnovers have popped up at inopportune times for PG Javier Gonzalez. He had six each in the losses to Arizona and Florida but only four combined in the two games in between.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"That's just the way things went for us today." -- Coach Sidney Lowe, after the 'Pack lost on a 75-foot buzzer-beater by Florida's Chandler Parsons.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP

N.C. State has had trouble finishing games and has dropped to 10-4 with losses in three of the last five games. The loss to Florida on a desperation 75-footer at the buzzer especially looks to hurt since the 'Pack had a chance to ice it but missed two free throws over the last 11 seconds.

PLAYER ROTATION
Usual Starters --
F Dennis Horner, FÂ Tracy Smith, F C.J. Williams, G/F Scott Wood, G Javier Gonzalez.

Key Subs -- C Jordan Vandenberg, G Julius Mays, F Josh Davis

IN FOCUS
The Holy Cross game may give the 'Pack a chance to get back its breath after the stunning loss to Florida as the Crusaders are only 3-11. Catching Virginia at home is an opportunity for a 1-1 start in league play.

ROSTER REPORT:
-- F Tracy Smith has averaged 17.0 ppg over three games after serving a one-game school-imposed suspension for criticizing officials after the loss to Wake Forest. He is 18-of-34 from the field in the last two outings.

-- Freshman G Scott Wood is 18-of-37 from three-point range over the last five games after going just 2-of-12 in the two games before the streak began.

-- Senior G Farnold Degand had six rebounds against Florida, one short of his career high set against New Orleans in his first season with the 'Pack in 2007-08 after his transfer from Iowa State.


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