Quick hits and notes from NC State's 75-66 loss at Boston College in front of a sparse crowd of 3,652 at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Tuesday evening.
Play of the game
NC State and Boston College were tied 60-60 with 3:38 left in the game and at the under four-minute official timeout. The Pack had possession, but also had a short shot clock. NC State though was unable to get a quick shot, and senior point guard Javier Gonzalez was forced to try a desperate heave that was way off the mark.
Boston College took advantage, and senior wing Corey Raji nailed an open three-pointer off a well-designed play that gave the Eagles a 63-60 lead with 3:05 left and spark a 15-6 run to end the game for Boston College.
Highlight of the game
With 11:24 to go in the game, BC junior guard Reggie Jackson schooled Wolfpack freshman guard Lorenzo Brown with a fake to the right and then a drive to the left. NC State sophomore wing Scott Wood tried to drop down and stop Jackson's drive, but Jackson was not going to be stopped, and he slammed home an easy two to give the Eagles a 47-42 lead.
Player of the game
Jackson has officially established himself as one of, if not the, favorite for the ACC Player of the Year race after scoring 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, including 3 of 6 beyond the arc, and making 8 of 9 free throws. Jackson was one point off his career high and reached 20 points or more for the seventh time this season after doing it just once his first two years at Boston College.
Jackson was also one point away from becoming the first Wolfpack opposing player to reach 30 points against NC State since Maryland's Greivis Vasquez did it in 2009. Jackson added game-highs six assists and three blocked shots and had a steal while committing just three turnovers in 36 minutes.
The game preview written by The Wolfpacker's Jacey Zembal was appropriately headlined "Pack's perimeter defense to be tested." That proved to be the case Tuesday night as Boston College shot jumper after jumper for much of the game.
The Eagles finished the night making 9 of 23 three-pointers for 39.1 percent. That is the most three-point attempts launched by a Wolfpack opponent this year, and it tied the second most made threes in a game behind 11 from Wisconsin Dec. 1.
Boston College leads the ACC in three-point field goals made this season and is second behind Duke in shooting percentage from long range.
The point guard debate
A popular subject over the next few days surrounding NC State basketball will undoubtedly be the point guard position. Freshman Ryan Harrow finished Tuesday with 11 points and a pair of assists with no turnovers in 21 minutes while Gonzalez, the starter, had zero points and two assists with no turnovers in 19 minutes.
Harrow also scored nine points during a 14-3 Wolfpack run that turned a 50-42 Boston College advantage at the 10:45 mark into a 56-53 NC State lead with 6:34 left in the game. The other five points during that stretch came from Wood.
The Pack twice would match that three-point lead again, and that was the largest lead NC State ever had in the game. Harrow left the game with the score tied 60-60 and 3:38 left. He reentered with 2:14 to go and State trailing 66-60.
Where are the forced turnovers?
Boston College became the fifth team this year to have less than 10 turnovers in a game against NC State. The Eagles had just eight Tuesday night compared to 10 for the Wolfpack. That marked the 11th time in 16 games this season that NC State had a negative turnover margin. The Pack is just one of four teams to have a negative turnover margin average in the conference, and State ranks 10th overall in the ACC with its negative-0.94 turnover margin average.
Boston College had a 13-7 edge in points off turnovers Tuesday night. The Eagles also outrebounded NC State 38-37, although State had a 13-11 in the offensive glass. BC had a slight 11-10 advantage in second-chance points however. This was the first time since the Wisconsin contest that the Pack had been outrebounded, a streak that had lasted nine games. The Eagles were led on the boards by senior forward Joe Trapani, who matched a career-high with 12 rebounds.
The ugliest state of the night however came at the free throw line, where NC State made just 5 of 12 attempts for 41.7 percent. That was only the second time this year that State failed to make at least 60 percent of their free throw attempts and also the worst overall percentage effort of the season.
What the loss means
NC State falls to 11-5 on the year and 1-1 in the ACC while Boston College improves to 13-4 and 3-0 in conference action. Boston College owns a decisive 8-3 lead in the series with the Wolfpack and have a 5-3 edge since joining the ACC. BC is 4-1 in games played in Chestnut Hill.
The Eagles, who were picked to finish 10th in the ACC in the preseason rankings, are now alone at the top of the conference for one day at least, pending the outcome of the Duke-Florida State game Wednesday night. The Blue Devils (2-0) and North Carolina (1-0) are the only remaining undefeated teams in ACC action.
This was the only time this season Boston College and NC State play each other. The Eagles host Miami Saturday night while NCSU is at Florida State earlier that afternoon.
Other stats of note
- NC State had a 40-36 edge in points in the paint and 9-5 advantage in fast break points.
- Led by Harrow's 11 points, State's bench outscored Boston College's reserves 20-14.
- Both teams were whistled for just 13 fouls. That's the third lowest total in a game for NC State and second fewest for a Wolfpack opponent. The 26 combined fouls were also the second fewest in a game behind the 18 fouls against USC Upstate Dec. 11. Five of NC State's fouls came against Brown, who fouled out for the first time in his career.