Quick hits and notes from No. 14 NC State's 51-50 setback at Maryland in front of 17,950 court-storming fans at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md., Wednesday evening.
Play of the game
It obviously was the last play of the game, and one where NC State is going to look back and probably believe could have been avoided. With 5.2 seconds left and a foul to give, State probably could have taken another couple of seconds off the clock, fouled and forced Maryland to get just one shot on the rim.
Instead, junior guard Lorenzo Brown played off the ball while defending Maryland junior guard Pe'Shon Howard, allowing Howard to drive to the basket with his left hand. That forced the NCSU big men to come over on help defense. Problem for State was both senior Richard Howell and junior forward C.J. Leslie tried to help out, the latter coming in late for a block attempt that just missed.
It appeared that Howard's off-balance shot may have been tipped earlier by Howell, but if not then it was the perfect airball as Terrapins center Alex Len had an easy put back with 0.9 seconds left to give the Terps a 51-50 win.
Highlight of the game
Brown grabbed a defensive rebound off a missed three-point shot from Maryland sophomore guard Nick Faust, dribbled down the court, spun around Faust at around the three-point line, faked out Terrapin freshman guard Seth Allen and had nothing but the basket in front of him. Brown finished with authority with a one-handed dunk, cutting Maryland's lead to 32-29 with 15:34 left.
Player of the game
It came in a losing effort, but Brown was one of the few players on either team that played a good game. He finished with a game-high 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, making 2 of 3 three-pointers. He also grabbed a season-high eight rebounds, dished out four assists on a night where assists were hard to come by (more on that later) and had two steals.
Prior to Wednesday, NC State's worst scoring performance of the year had been 56 points in a 20-point loss to Oklahoma State in Puerto Rice Nov. 18. They had scored at least 69 points in every other game and been 80 points or better in nine of the 10 games during their winning streak. The one time they did not score 80 was when they had 78 at Boston College Jan. 5.
Their worst shooting performance had been when they went 22 of 62 from the field against Oklahoma State for 35.5 percent. That was one of just three games this year where the Pack had shot less than 50.0 percent, and the other two were 47.3 and 48.0 percent respectively.
Wednesday night against Maryland surpassed the Oklahoma State contest for offensive futility this season. NC State made a season-low 19 shots on 61 attempts, shooting a season-worst 31.1 percent and ending up with a season-fewest 50 points.
The two freshmen in NC State's primary rotation both had forgettable games. Guard Rodney Purvis made just 1 of 7 shots, a banked in jumper from just inside the top of the arc. He also made 1 of 2 free throws for three points. That was the second-lowest scoring output of Purvis' brief career behind the two-point performance against UNC Asheville Nov. 23.
Forward T.J. Warren went 0 of 6 from the field and was held scoreless in 15 minutes, his fewest playing time total of the year. Warren has been held scoreless in two of the last three games after scoring in double figures in 10 of the first 14 contests of the year.
Then there was point guard Tyler Lewis, who simply did not even get into the game. That is the first time this year Lewis has not played in a contest.
Wood also slumped
Senior wing Scott Wood made just 3 of 13 shots from the field against Maryland, going 3 of 11 from three-point range. He finished with nine points, ending his streak of seven straight games in double-figures scoring. His three made three-pointers does give him 275 for his career, 47 short of tying Rodney Monroe for the most in school history.
Leslie did continue his streak of consecutive games in double-digit scoring, stretching it to 13 by scoring 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Howell nearly recorded his 10th double-double of the year and 23rd of his career, but came up two points short. He finished with eight points and 13 rebounds.
NC State fell to 21-6 over the past two years when Howell had a double-digit rebounding total.
Defense was there
For all the gloom over the offense's performance Wednesday night, at least the defense was solid. The Terps' 51 points were eight less than Miami of Ohio in the season opener Nov. 9 for the fewest points allowed by the Pack's defense this year.
The Terps shot just 34.4 percent from the field and made only 3 of 18 three-pointer for 16.7 percent. That was the fourth lowest overall shooting percentage against NCSU this season and third worst three-point shooting.
What the loss means
NC State dropped to 14-3 on the year and 3-1 in the ACC while Maryland improved to 14-3 and 2-2 in the conference. NC State saw its 10-game winning streak snapped and missed a chance to go to 4-0 in league play for the first time since winning the national title in 1974.
In what has a chance to have been the last game played at the Comcast Center in probably a long time for NC State because of the Terps pending move to the Big 10 Conference, NCSU's record at College Park stands at 21-39.
Maryland holds the edge in the overall series as well at 77-73.
Other stats of note
- NC State was whistled for just nine fouls in the game, which was a new season-low. Howell had almost half of them, too, getting called for four infractions.
- Maryland outrebounded NC State 45-41 overall and it was a 13-13 draw on the offensive glass. The Terps had a 12-9 advantage in second-chance points, the difference coming on the final shot of the game.
- The Wolfpack was better in transition, owning a 10-2 edge in fast break points.
- NC State won the turnover margin 13-11, but both teams at 10 points off of them.
- Maryland outscored NC State in the paint 30-24.
- The Terps' bench outscored NCSU's reserves 14-0. It's the first time this year NC State did not get a point from its bench.