Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pack Shocked at the Buzzer

The Pack lost a nail-biter last night against 24th ranked Marquette 68-65. Dominic James hit a three pointer with 0.4 seconds left on the clock to win the game. This is such a disappointing loss because State led a majority of the game. It was the failure to effectively break through Marquette's 1-3-1 full-court press and the Pack's 18 turnovers that led to our demise. Even with our 18 turnovers, we still had a chance at the end of the game.

Brandon Costner surely wasn't the reason that we lost the game. Brandon had 24 points (9-10 FG, 5-5 3PT), 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Brandon's hands were on fire last night and it is disappointing that he only put up 10 shots. Brandon looks like the Brandon Costner we saw his Freshmen year. He seems to be getting used to his leaner body and his increased athleticism is evident.

The box score won't show it, but Julius May's was the point guard that gave us the best shot at winning last night. When he was in we were able to break the press and run our offense more effectively against Marquette's pesky defense. Degand seemed to be passive and hesitant and Javi was emotional and frustrated after some poor decisions that led to his increased time on the bench. Julius wasn't afraid to attack the basket and he did the best job of our three point guards last night at handling the pressure.

Courtney Fells and Tracy Smith also put together efficient performances. Courtney had 13 points shooting 5-9 from the field and 2-4 from three-point land. Tracy Smith continued to make the most of his minutes pouring in 10 points in only 12 minutes played.

State did manage to out-rebound Marquette 29-25. This is a continued improvement from last year. We also shot 51.1% from the field. On the other end of the spectrum, we also allowed Marquette to shoot 48.2% from the field, which marks our worst defensive effort of the year.

At the end of the day we are disappointed in the amount of turnovers our program has coughed up against Top-25 talent (19 against Davidson and 18 against Marquette), but considering our depleted and injured guard play, we are encouraged by our play. While we don't completely understand Coach Lowe's subbing patterns, we are not the coach and will not criticize his methods. We continue to hit the boards hard, which is drastically important as we head into ACC play.

Even with the loss, we still think it is possible for us to finish 11-2 heading into ACC play. With the way that we have played against Davidson and Marquette, we believe that we should be able to run with Florida. When it comes to the ACC season, besides UNC, Duke, and Wake, we believe that we have shown the ability to compete in the ACC this year. Our improved assist, rebound, and turnover numbers point to hopeful possibilities. If Brandon Costner continues to play like this, an NCAA Tourney birth is definitely a possibility.

Box Score


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