Quick hits and notes from NC State's 67-58 loss to Maryland in front of 14,288 fans at the RBC Center in Raleigh Wednesday evening.
Play of the game
NC State was clinging to a 51-50 lead with 8:25 left in the game when fifth-year senior guard Farnold Degand seemingly beat the press down court. However, Degand may have driven too deep into the lane, and the end result was he was caught in mid-air in a crowd with limited options. Degand tried to dish off to freshman center Jordan Vandenberg, but Vandenberg had turned his back to get into rebounding position thinking Degand was going to shoot it, and the result was a steal for Maryland freshman center Jordan Williams.
Six seconds later Terrapin senior guard Greivis Vasquez nailed a three-pointer to give Maryland its first lead since they were up 17-15 with 9:29 left. The Terps would never trail again. Vasquez's three was part of a 13-0 Maryland run that turned a 51-45 NC State advantage with 9:52 left to a 58-51 Terrapin lead with 5:03 remaining.
Player of the game
The easy choice would be to go with Vasquez and his game-high 26 points and six assists. He made 9 of 17 shots, including 3 of 7 three-pointers. However, our choice is Williams. The freshman center teamed with Vasquez to carry the Terps in this game. Vasquez's production is almost expected, Williams' was not. He finished with 19 points on 7-of-10 sooting and added 11 rebounds and a steal in 30 minutes. His counterpart on the other end, NC State junior Tracy Smith, was held to just 10 points and six rebounds in 33 minutes. For Williams, he matched his career-high in points and recorded his fifth double-double of the year.
Second half offense dooms NC State
NC State made just 7 of 30 shots in the second half for 23.3 percent for its worst half of shooting this year. Maryland was the opposite on the other end, converting 14 of 25 attempts for 56.0 percent in the final 20 minutes after they had made just 11 of 33 first half field goals. That was the main reason why NC State lost a 39-27 lead with less than 18 minutes remaining in the game after leading by 10 at halftime.
The halftime margin was the biggest lead for State at the break since they were up by 12 at the half against Winthrop Dec. 29. NC State is just 2-4 in ACC play when leading at the break.
Most disconcerting for NC State is such abysmal shooting in a half is not uncommon. In fact, in ACC plays it has been often. Take a look:
Halves shooting under 30 percent
Nov. 22 vs. Auburn in Daytona: 26.7 percent (8-30) in first half
Jan. 23 at Maryland: 27.8 percent (10-36) in second half
Jan. 26 vs. North Carolina: 29.0 percent (9-31) in second half
Feb. 3 at Virginia: 29.2 percent (7-24) in second half
Feb. 10 vs. Virginia Tech: 27.8 percent (10-36) in first half
Feb. 10 vs. Virginia Tech: 29.4 percent (10-34) in second half
Feb. 17 vs. Maryland: 23.3 percent (7-30) in second half
In ACC play, NC State is shooting 38.6 percent from the field and averaging 65.2 points per game. State is the only team in the league shooting under 40 percent in conference games, and the Pack is ahead of only Boston College in scoring.
Richard Howell sits out
Freshman forward Richard Howell, who had been averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds overall and 6.5 points and 5.5 boards in ACC action, sat out the game with his left thumb wrapped up. After the contest, head coach Sidney Lowe said that Howell was day-to-day.
That meant that senior Dennis Horner got the bulk of the minutes at power forward, and he responded with one of his better efforts of the year. Horner had 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes. That was his second double-double in three games. Those are also the only two games in Horner's career that he has reached double figures in rebounding.
Spotted at the game
NC State honored the hero of the 1983 national title game, Lorenzo Charles, by honoring his No. 43 jersey in the rafters at halftime. State also honored former players Vann Wiliford and David Thompson, who was given a special plaque from the Atlanta Tip-off Club honoring the 35th anniversary of his Naismith Award.
The scholar-athletes at NC State were recognized as well as members of the gymnastics and basspack teams.
Among recruits were Class of 2010 swingman Antonin Galaya from Charis Prep in Wilson, N.C., senior forward C.J. Leslie from Word of God Academy in Raleigh and sophomore swingman T.J. Warren from Riverside High in Durham, N.C.
What the loss means
NC State falls to 14-13 overall and 2-10 in the ACC. Their conference losing streak extends to seven games. The Pack lost 11 straight games to league opponents between 2008-09.
Maryland is now 18-7 and 8-3 in the ACC. They now hold a 74-72 lead in the overall series with NC State after sweeping the season series against the Pack, and Lowe remains winless in seven tries against the Terps. Maryland has dominated NC State at the RBC Center as well, going 7-3, and State has just a 32-29 edge in games played in Raleigh. The Terps have won three straight in Raleigh.
Other stats of note
- NC State outrebounded Maryland 41-39, 15-11 on the offensive glass, and had a whopping 19-8 edge in second-chance points.
- Both teams had 34 points in the paint.
- Maryland took better care of the ball, winning the turnover margin 12-7, but both teams had seven points off turnovers. The seven turnovers committed by the Terps matched a season-low forced by NC State this season.
- Maryland had a slight 12-10 edge in fast break points.
- NC State's bench outscored Maryland's 11-10.