Sunday, February 8, 2009

Deja Vu as Pack Folds Again; 91-87

It's remarkable to watch, it really is. For the first 30 minutes the NC State Wolfpack played like a different team, pushing the pace, dominating the boards, taking care of the basketball. Sidney looked like a mastermind. With his starting point guard nursing a sore knee he decided to go with Javi Gonzalez, the often criticized sophomore guard who was 3rd string going into last week's game against Carolina. Sporting a new red headband Javi came out with confidence and poise, running the offense and the break and making NC State fans scratch their heads as he reeled off a clean 3 assists before you could blink an eye. Costner and McCauley, with frontcourt mate Tracy Smith, shredded the VT bigs with high-lows, and strong, precise post play. It looked as if State was going to take the Hokies soul, along with their first road victory, as they built an 18 point lead. it seems to always do...things fell apart. Turnovers mounted, the frontcourt got soft and the guards got timid. 18 points was cut to 10 in no time, then 10 to 2, and then 0. There was no answer for State, and more disturbingly, there was no one that refused to lose, the whole team gave in. Now don't get us wrong, we support this program and support the path that Sidney is taking, and believe in the future of this program, but losing an 18 point lead is unacceptable at ANY level. When Courtney Fells was called for a bogus intentional foul, in which the ref seemed to get caught up in the moment, it seemed as if they'd overturn the call after review. They looked at the monitor and came to a conclusion....intentional foul. This was the most unbelievable call and the most inexcusable display of reffing I have ever witnessed. Fells tracked down the man on the break, jumped, grazed his body but pinned the ball against the backboard.

Here is the definition of intentional foul:
6.3 An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul designed to stop or keep the clock from starting, to neutralize an opponent's obvious advantageous position, and contact away from the ball or when not playing the ball.

Let me again state that Fells pinned the ball against the backboard and after review this foul was still considered intentional. So, what I now understand is that if a guy has a fast break and you are trailing him, you are no longer allowed to attempt or successfully block a are to give up on the play and allow the dunk.
This chain of events led to a quick 5 point swing and took seemingly all the energy out of the Wolfpack. That play basically flipped a switch in the Pack and it was all downhill from there.

VT crawled back and punished the Pack in every aspect, forcing an overtime and finally taking the game away from them. This game was surely infuriating to Pack fans as it was a heart wrenching roller coaster that ended in a fiery disaster. While we want to remain positive and upbeat, this game is very deserving of the criticism that it will get from the message boards and the media. The team truly and simply does not know how to win basketball games. They for one reason or another have harvested a culture of losing and I do not know if that is something that can change overnight. It will take an off season of brain washing, training, and a new breed of player that can break that culture. Luckily we have players from top rated, winning programs coming in next year to join Julius Mays and others who have also come from similar backgrounds. But this year is not yet lost, we at Wolfpack Hoops still hold out hope that the Pack can turn things around...they've been "in" every single game they've played and have fought extremely hard all season, but winners don't just fight hard and hope to win...they fight hard and refuse to lose, and that so far has been the difference between NC State and its opponents.
The Wolfpack need a point guard to step up and they need to be looking to Julius Mays to shake the freshman jitters and turn into a rock at the lead guard spot, because without stability at that position the Pack will continue to fold under the intense pressure cooker that is the ACC season.


1 Response to "Deja Vu as Pack Folds Again; 91-87"
  1. jose said...
    February 9, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    Certainly was the height of frustration in the 2nd half of the game. The TO's were the unacceptable part because we had a solid game plan and just needed to execute being smart handling the rock. It all starts at the top and when the PG's start racing their decision making then it trickles down through the who unit.

    With that said I'm appreciative of how Javi came into this game with a mind set and preperation to lead the team. He has a decent all around game- the closest to a true PG we can run out there IMO- a skill set underrated in the way he sees the court and anticipates the action. His game needs polishing for sure and has defense lapses from time to time (he has the habit of thinking he can use quick hands a deflect balls when he needs to just keep moving his feet and keep solid position instead).

    It's holding out hope that the team's G play will coexist with their strong post play this season- it was a long shot a the begining. But what Zo/Wood/Howell bring to the table will give Lowe the opportunity to run a full fledge offense.


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