This was a really early conference opener for NC State and Wake Forest. With the win State is now guaranteed a portion of the conference lead through at least January 3rd. I understand that the ACC has added a bunch of teams over the past three years or so, but I have no idea why you would schedule a conference game a month ahead of the rest of the conference schedule. Especially between two teams that are so close geographically. Anyway, besides getting to see the Wolfpack kick off their conference opener, this was my first chance to see new Wake Forest coach Danny Manning. Every year there are new coaches coming into programs, but I think that Wake Forest and Virginia Tech (Buzz Williams from Marquette) were home run hires. Be patient Deacs fans.
Positives- There were two huge positives that stood out for me last night watching this game. First, The backcourt trio of Ralston Turner, Trevor Lacey, and Anthony Barber were dominate. They passed, they shot, they ran, they did it all for Wolfpack. The trio combined for 50 points and 11 assists. Second, the first half of the game was close. Wake was creating turnovers and was either leading or within reach of State the entire first half. It's clear that State is the better team between the two, but you still have to play the game on the court. State made great adjustments coming out of halftime, took care of the basketball, and pushed the lead up into the double digits with the first five minutes of the second half. Wake got the lead down to 7 or 8 points once or twice, but State would come back with a few good possessions and get the lead back up.
Negatives- The free throw shooting is still below 70% as a team. 11 missed free throws is not acceptable. I understand that almost half of those misses came from one player, but still State has plenty of big people on the bench. I am sure that someone sitting there can make a free throw. The turnovers in the first half were also a concern. State had at least six before the first under 16 timeout and their turnover to assist ratio ended with 11 assists on 9 turnovers. Yikes! That's not going to cut it when we get into the meat of the conference schedule and face teams like Duke, Syracuse, and Louisville.
Player of the Game- Trevor Lacey 15 points and 6 assists
Caleb Martin's jam closes out the @PackMensBball's 78-65 win over Wake Forest. Way to go, Pack! 1-0 in the ACC! pic.twitter.com/PgxFkDRLGK
— NC State University (@NCState) December 7, 2014