After alternating losses and wins in each of their last five games, the North Carolina State Wolfpack continued their trend with a loss Tuesday night, at the hands of up and coming (5-2 in the ACC) Virginia.
As disappointing as it’s been to lose three of their last five games, it was even more disappointing to see junior point guard Lorenzo Brown leave the game for good early in the first half with an left ankle injury. Brown later returned to the bench, but didn’t see the court as he watched his teammates go down 58-55.
Brown’s absence was strongly felt through the rest of the game, as not only did the Wolfpack fall 20-plus points short of their season average, but they weren’t able to get out and run on their opponent the way they typically do, and shot a horrendous 37-percent from the field on the night. With C.J. Leslie struggling with flu-like symptoms, it was really a night where Brown’s ability to spark the offense was missed.
As lost as NC State looked on offense, they weren’t much better on the other end of the hardwood. Without their point guard, Mark Gottfried’s No. 19 Wolfpack had no answer for junior guard Joe Harris, who scored a game-high 22 points, including seven of the teams last 12 points.
This was a really big win for a Virginia team who could be emerging as a contender in the ACC, but they’ll have to prove they can win some road games – they’re currently 5-0 at home and 0-2 on the road in conference play – before they become a threat to No. 5 Duke and No. 14 Miami.
As for NC State, the extent of Brown’s injury isn’t known yet, but his return to the bench for the second half of Tuesday’s game has to be an encouraging sign for the Wolfpack. We’ll keep you updated.
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