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December 30, 2013

Quick hits from NC State's loss to Missouri



Quick hits and notes from NC State's 68-64 loss to No. 25 Missouri in front of 16,419 rowdy fans at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

Play of the game


NC State led the nationally ranked Tigers until the final four minutes of regulation after the Wolfpack came out on the wrong end of a three-point shootout.

It all started with a three-pointer from redshirt junior guard Ralston Turnerto give the Pack a two-point advantage at 59-57 with 3:27 left on the clock. Sophomore forward T.J. Warren picked up an assist on the bucket, but Missouri's Jordan Clarkson quickly responded with a three of his own that gave the visitors just their second lead of the game.

NCSU reclaimed the lead with a contested Turner three with 1:39 left, but this time junior guard Jabari Brown knocked down what would prove to be the clinching shot with 56 seconds left on the clock. That shot gave Missouri a 63-62 lead and they would not trail again.

Highlight of the game


Freshman forward Kyle Washington enjoyed his coming out party and tallied a career-high 10 points, to go along with three rebounds and two blocks. He finished 5-of-7 from the field, but came up big in the final 11 minutes of regulation, in which he totaled eight points and two blocks, including some silky smooth jump shots.

He had one three-minute spurt where he rattled off a long jumper, followed by a jump hook in the paint. He then recorded an impressive block on the other end and finished on the other end with another successful jumper from the top of the key. He finished off the highlight reel series with another block on the other end.

Player of the game


Warren takes home the award once again after he recorded his fourth double-double of the season. He tallied a game-best 24 points and tied his career-best with 13 rebounds for the sixth double-double effort of his career. He also dished out three assists, blocked two shots and recorded two steals in 37 minutes of action.

He tallied 15 points in the first half and it marked the first time NCSU has lost during his career when he has recorded at least 20 points (they are now 16-1 in such instances).

Warren's last made field goal came with 12:04 left in the second half, and the Pack was outscored 27-18 after that point, including the decisive 11-1 Missouri run in the final frame.

Missouri strong at the end


Missouri outscored NC State 38-32 in the second half and NC State led by 10 points with 8:56 left in the game. However, the Tigers came up clutch at the end and pulled out the win by not relinquishing the lead once they grasped it.

The aforementioned 11-1 run was key, but so was the second-half rebounding advantage for the Tigers, which stood at 24-19 in the second half. 10 offensive boards turned into 11 points in the final 20 minutes for the visitors.

The Tigers also upped their shooting percentage from 39.1 percent (9-23) in the first half to 41.4 percent (12-29), including a 5-of-10 mark from long range, after the break.

Free throw and foul struggles


NCSU obviously struggled in a number of areas, but one of the most glaring was at the free throw line and head coach Mark Gottfried noted it in his postgame comments.

The Pack went just 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) at the line and earned just six second-half trips to the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Missouri earned 15 free throws in the second half, and finished the game 19-of-26 for a 73.1 percent performance.

Fouls also limited the impact of both freshman point guard Anthony Barber and fifth-year senior center Jordan Vandenberg. Barber finished with a notable 6-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, but notched six points and three rebounds in 23 minutes of action.

Meanwhile, Vandenberg shot just once and finished with two points and three rebounds in 22 minutes. He did have two nice assists, but was a part of struggles the NCSU big men suffered from on the glass.

The Pack's four post players combined for just nine rebounds. Washington and Vandenberg each had three, while rookie Lennard Freeman pulled down two and classmate BeeJay Anya had one.

What the loss means


NC State's seven game winning streak comes to a halt and a win over nationally ranked Missouri would've been nice to have on the resume heading into the postseason.

NCSU moved to 9-3 on the year, while Missouri improved to 11-1. NC State returns to action on Monday night at UNC Greensboro with tip-off set for 7 p.m.

Other stats of note


- NC State did limit Missouri to a 40.4 percent shooting performance from the floor. The Tigers were 21 of 52 in the game, while the Pack finished 25 of 61 for 41.0 percent. The visitors were 7 of 18 from behind the arc in the contest, while the Pack went 6 of 21 from downtown.

- The Pack forced 10 turnovers despite just three steals, while giving it up eight times. State had a narrow 9-8 advantage in points off turnovers and was only able to tally six fast break points. Missouri has five transition points.

- Thanks to Washington's 10 points and Turner's nine, which was aided by his two big shots from downtown, the NCSU bench outscored their SEC counterparts 20-7.

- NC State never trailed in the first half, but the lead changed just four times after Missouri took its first lead at 57-56 with 3:50 left.



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