The OP Stat of the Game: Trevor Booker, 23 pts, 6 reb, 6 blks.
While Booker put the team on his shoulders today, Tanner Smith had, again, another efficient game. In his 17 minutes, he scored 7 points, had 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 4 steals. Tanner is making a name for himself with his offensive and defensive production.
The beginning of the game was ugly.
NCSU couldn't hit a shot.
At one point, they were 1-16. And still, we were only able to a 24-17 lead into halftime. During the first half, the Tigers were unable to take advantage of NCSU's missteps. This continued even into the second half, as Fells, Ferguson, and Costner worked to tie the game at 33 after about 2 minutes in the second half.
At times, it looked as if NCSU was going to be able to hang with the Tigers. But as has happened through most of the games this year, the OP press wore the opponent down and lead to 18 Wolfpack turnovers. Their thin rotation was could not match up with the press as Costner fouled out and McCauley had 4 fouls.
The Tigers prevented the pack from doing what they wanted to, go inside and play strong, efficient basketball- hmm, sounds like an ex-NCSU coach I know. I was especially reminded of Sendek when the Pack started playing the high post screens, pick-and-rolls, and back-door cuts.
The Wolfpack was able to limit Oglesby's production. He looked frustrated and out-of-sync, but played much better on defense when he was on the floor. Booker, on the other hand, kept much of the pack and their inside game out-of-sync with his 6 blocks. SIX.
I don't know if this was the best preparation for the two top five teams we are playing in the next weeks. A slow start like the one we had today and against Alabama will probably not get the job done.
Congratulations on 16-0 Tigers. It doesn't get any easier.
Next up: A week to prepare for Wake.