Quick hits and notes from NC State's thrilling 60-58 win over Princeton Wednesday night in front of 12,140 Wolfpack fans at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
Play of the game
When Princeton senior guard Douglas Davis made his fifth three-pointer of the night with 20.6 seconds left to tie the game at 58-58, Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried went with his gut feeling and decided not to call a timeout. Sophomore guard Lorenzo Brown set up the offense at the top of the key, moved to his left and then got a screen from junior center DeShawn Painter. What happened next almost no one in the RBC Center expected.
Brown passed it back to a wide-open Painter, who was open for a long jumper. Painter's defender had left him to help double Brown off the screen. Without hesitation, Painter launched a shot that went cleanly through the net with 4.2 seconds left, giving State a 60-58 victory.
Highlight of the game
NC State had battled back from an early 15-8 and then 24-16 deficit to hang around for much of the contest, and they finally took the lead when junior center Jordan Vandenberg rebounded a missed shot from freshman forward Tyler Harris and put it back in with 11:44 left to give State a 44-42 edge.
Two Princeton possessions later, Vandenberg closed out on an open Princeton senior forward Patrick Saunders, who was launching a three-pointer. The 7-foot-1 Vandenberg blocked the shot and immediately took off running. Fifth-year senior guard Alex Johnson caught the deflected pass and threw a perfect outlet pass to Vandenberg, who finished the fast break with an authoritative dunk to give NCSU a 46-42 lead with 9:30 to go in the game. The Tigers immediately called a timeout to regroup.
Player of the game
Brown missed practice both Monday and Tuesday, but not because of a rolled ankle he suffered against Morehead State Sunday night but rather because he, along with Vandenberg and Harris, were sick with a stomach virus.
Brown though had to gut out major minutes Wednesday. He played 37 minutes, leaving only once in exhaustion about midway through the second half. Brown still finished with a team-high 16 points and game-high eight assists with just three turnovers. He also had five steals and five rebounds.
Princeton player of the game
A shout out belongs to Davis, who was on his game Wednesday night. Davis made 7 of 17 shots for a game-high 21 points and was 5 of 8 from long range. He was especially dangerous in the first half when he made 5 of 8 shots, including 3 of 4 three-pointers. Davis' performance came as no surprise considering he entered the game 14th on the Tigers' all-time scoring list.
As a team, Princeton made 9 of 19 three-pointers, but they cooled off considerably in the second half, making just 3 of 12 after halftime. Overall the Tigers shot just 28.6 percent (8 of 28) in the second half.
Princeton though has continued an early season string of good shooting performances from three-point range against NC State. UNC Asheville made 10 of 25 for 40.0 percent and Morehead State connected on 8 of 15 for 53.3 percent. Through three games, opponents are 27-of-59 shooting on three-pointers for 45.8 percent.
Wood goes down
Wednesday's game was made more difficult earlier in the week when the three players were stricken with a stomach virus. The Pack was already playing without forwards C.J. Leslie, a junior, and Thomas de Thaey, a freshman. Leslie is sitting out the last game of his three-game suspension and de Thaey is still waiting for his eligibility issues to be cleared up.
Then less than two minutes into the game, junior wing Scott Wood pumped fake on a shot, drove to the basket and was fouled on a runner. During the process, Wood suffered what Gottfried termed to be a bad rolled ankle, and Gottfried said that if he were a betting man"that Wood would miss some time.
There were reports that Wood's X-ray was negative, but Wood was on crutches and his right foot in a boot during the second half. Wood passed former Wolfpack great Julius Hodge for most consecutive starts with 70 Wednesday night, moving up to 10th all-time on the list, but that streak may be in jeopardy now.
What the win means
NC State improves to 3-0 on the season while Princeton falls to 0-2. The Pack is now 2-5 all-time against the Tigers, sporting a 2-1 record against the Ivy League power in games played in Raleigh. Princeton is the only Ivy League squad that has given the Pack any kind of trouble over the years. State is 12-0 against the rest of the conference.
State also is now 1-0 on television this year. The game was televised by ESPNU, improving the Pack to 13-10 overall and 9-5 in games at the RBC Center broadcast by that particular station.
Other stats of note
- NC State dominated on the boards 40-24, including 12-6 on the offensive glass. State had a decisive 15-5 edge in second-chance points.
- Both teams had eight steals, but to be expected the Pack ran more, getting a 14-4 edge in fast break points.
- Wolfpack reserves outscored Princeton's deeper bench 13-8.
- While Princeton did most of its damage from three-point range, State dominated in the paint to the tune of a 34-20 edge.
- NC State had three more turnovers that Princeton, 14-11, but the Pack still had a slight 14-13 advantage in points off turnovers.