Quick hits and notes from NC State's 68-64 win over UNC-Greensboro in front of a mixed crowd of 5,989 fans at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Play of the game
For the second straight game, NC State built a double-digit lead in the second half, only to watch it quickly disappear as their opponents made a furious comeback. However, the Wolfpack never trailed during the final 20 minutes and was able to hang on this time for a 68-64 win, thanks to some timely plays down the stretch.
The Spartans made it a two-point game for the first time in the second half at 63-61 with 4:19 left on the clock. The teams traded turnovers — a theme in the closing minutes of a rough and tumble contest — before junior guard Desmond Lee put the Pack back up 65-61 with a dunk off of a T.J. Warren assist.
Highlight of the game
There weren't many highlights to be honest. That's what happens when there are 40 personal fouls called in the game, but one moment that stands out above the rest is when Warren stepped in front of a pass and took it to the other end to finish with a dunk. That bucket gave the Pack a 60-48 advantage.
Player of the game
Greensboro head coach Wes Miller said it best after the game when he simply stated that Warren is fantastic.
"I think we're doing a good job on him at halftime, I really do, and I look at the stat sheet, he's got 17," the coach noted. "He's just a tremendous player on offense. He cuts so well off the ball."
Miller said that he was proud of his team's defensive effort on Warren for the entire contest and he thought they held him in check pretty well — although the talented scorer still finished with 24 points, to go along with a game-best nine rebounds.
Warren, who entered the game as the ACC's leading scorer, has netted at least 20 points in nine straight games, and he has been the game's leading scorer and rebounder in each of the last three. Against Tennessee, he tied to lead all players with 21 points, while his 11 boards paced the Pack. In the last five contests, he has averaged 26 points and nine rebounds per outing.
Game of runs
The tired cliché is that basketball is a game of runs, and that was certainly the case in Greensboro. The score was tied five times, while the lead changed on four occasions in the first half. NC State utilized an 8-1 run to close the first half while going from a four-point deficit to a three-point advantage.
It continued in the second half, when the Pack made their first six field goal attempts after the break, eventually stretching their halftime lead of 38-35 to 54-37, a 16-2 streak.
Greensboro closed the gap to two points at 63-61, thanks to a 13-1 run in the waning moments of the game, but State converted just enough free throws to hang on in the end.
Free throw and foul troubles...again
NC State entered the game shooting 49.0 percent from the floor, but just 65.2 percent from the free throw line. They did not help those free throw numbers with a 19-of-33 performance (57.6 percent) tonight.
The Pack actually shot a respectable 75 percent from the charity stripe in the first half, when they made nine of their 12 attempts. However, they made just 10 of their 21 after the break. It marked the third-straight contest that NCSU has finished shooting under 60 percent from the foul line.
State was also whistled for 18 fouls for the second-straight game; they have been called for at least that many in three of the last four games. Fifth-year senior center Jordan Vandenberg was plagued by foul trouble for the second consecutive contest. He was called for four fouls, but tallied just two points and four rebounds for another lackluster outing.
Since breaking out with 18 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two assists in 28 minutes of action against East Carolina, the big man has totaled just seven boards and four points in 51 minutes of play.
It wasn't just State, though, if that's any consolation. Greensboro was whistled for 22 fouls, and shot 60.7 percent (17-28) from the free throw line. The squads combined for 40 fouls and just 36 made free throws.
What the win means
NC State is back on the winning track after falling to No. 25 Missouri at home to break its seven-game winning streak. The victory moves NCSU to 10-3 on the year as they head into conference play. Meanwhile, UNCG — which has recorded a win over Virginia Tech on the road — fell to 7-8 on the year.
Other stats of note
- NC State forced 16 turnovers, which they converted into 24 points, but they also gave the ball up 12 times. UNCG only turned that into 11 points and State also held an advantage in fast break points, 16-9.
- The UNCG bench outscored their NC State counterparts, 31-4. They also won the battle for second-chance points, 17-11, while outrebounding NCSU, 43-35.
- The Pack had a clear size advantage and outscored their opponents in the paint, 38-32. However, they did not record a block while the Spartans finished with two.