Saturday, January 17, 2009

BUZZ OFF! Pack Outlasts, Out-Executes Yellow Jackets; 76-71

After the loss to FSU, Sidney Lowe gave his team an ultimatum. Play hard all the time, or don't play at all. Well, it looks like the Pack got the message. Fueled by the all out hustle and aggressiveness of Brandon Costner, the Wolfpack ground out an OT victory 76-71.

The offense was crisper, the defense more intense, and Sidney Lowe was at his best, switching defenses and letting loose the hounds with an unexpectedly successful full court press. Coming into the game it seemed as though the Pack had found it's answer at point guard with freshman Julius Mays (who got the start along fellow freshman CJ Williams), but 8 minutes into the game the pressure got to Mays and he was sent to the bench in favor of Degand, who in the end proved to be the better point guard on this day.

After the score teeter-tottered for most of the first half, NC State came out in the second half and took control as Lowe had GT on its heels, switching from man to man, to a 2-3 matchup zone, to a 1-3-1, and back to man. But State couldn't put them away as Clinch and company caught fire and clawed their way to a 9 point lead. That's when the Pack seemingly made the decision that this was not going to happen again. Costner's non-stop energy sparked the Pack as Sidney Lowe unveiled a never before seen full court zone trap that led to 3 consecutive turnovers and brought the Pack back into the game.

With the Pack only down 3, and freshman point guard Mays on the bench, Farnold Degand had to step up....and that he did. An old fashioned 3 point play and a pair of free throws down the stretch sent the game to overtime where, after Costner fouled out, it became the Dennis Horner show. Horner came in and picked right up where Costner left off, going 100% on both sides of the floor and converting on a game changing layup assisted by McCauley. Horner sealed the deal with free throws and the Wolfpack's relentless defense which never backed down and never took a play off.

Tonight Sidney had the boys motivated and it showed. We have never seen Costner sustain that much energy for that long since he stepped foot here in Raleigh. McCauley was stronger and more aggressive than ever. But the story today was Lowe's in-game management. Switching defenses and bringing out the full court press was what ultimately won us this game. Although the turnovers were still a big problem, they were negated by our defensive pressure, and our forced turnovers.


- State won the "points off turnovers" battle 24-20, and was only out rebounded by 2 rebounds.

- According to Larry Harris, Trevor Ferguson is still struggling with the broken hand he is playing with, though it didn't show tonight as he stroked down 3 triples.

- Larry Harris told me after the game that switching to the zone is something they've been working on and will implement whenever the staff feels the opponent get comfortable against our man defense.

-He also noted that the kids really responded well in practice to Lowe's ultimatum and he feels that they've bought in to this system.

-22 Turnovers...OUCH! If the Pack is going to get a winning streak going, that number is going to have to be cut in half.

-The boys will have to hit the early service tomorrow because they're having a "Conditioning heavy practice, complete with suicides" at 10 am tomorrow morning.

-2010 PG commit, Ryan Harrow was in the house today. We will catch up with him and see what he thought of the overtime thriller.

-Next up: DUKE @ Cameron Indoor


1 Response to "BUZZ OFF! Pack Outlasts, Out-Executes Yellow Jackets; 76-71"
  1. Robert Howington said...
    January 17, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    This blog is awesome. Good images.
    - dollas!


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