After a disappointing loss to state rival the North Carolina Tar Heels, the North Carolina State Wolfpack rebounded with the type of performance many thought they’d be seeing from the team all year long.
The Wolfpack dominated the Boston College Eagles in an 82-64 victory, by out-rebounding their opponents 38-24, while shooting 55.9% in the win to see five players finish in double-figures.
Freshman Rodney Purvis led the way with 21 points and three rebounds, while Scott Wood delivered 17 points, four rebounds and two assists. T.J. Warren recorded 13 points and eight rebounds, Lorenzo Brown finished with 11 points, six assists and three steals and C.J. Leslie chipped in with 10 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Richard Howell also contributed a team high 10 rebounds to go along with his six points and two blocks.
The type of balanced attack displayed against Boston College is the exact reason many predicted the Wolfpack to claim the ACC Title this season. However, due to inconsistency and a lack of maturity from key players, N.C. State has failed to live up to expectations.
Still, the team has shown flashes of what they are capable of all season before being struck down by a superior opponent on multiple occasions. Growth and chemistry have been the two biggest reasons the team continues to struggle, but a quick look at their schedule suggests the Wolfpack have the best possible chance to improve in both areas just in time for post-season action.
With three games remaining on the year, the most difficult portion of N.C. State’s schedule is behind them as they close the season against teams with losing records in the conference.
On Mar. 3, the Wolfpack will travel to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, a team they beat by 13 points in their second conference game. Three days later, they’ll return home and attempt to avenge a Jan. 22 86-84 loss to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Then on Mar. 9 they’ll finish off their conference schedule by traveling to face the Florida State Seminoles, a team they just defeated 84-66 at home on Feb. 19.
In terms of building team chemistry and working out the kinks, the Wolfpack couldn’t have asked for a better schedule to improve themselves before tournament action tips off. Knowing this N.C. State team, none of these games are guarantees by any means given the inconsistency, however, few doubt the talent the team has to capture all three and ride into the conference tournament with significant momentum.
The Wolfpack are loaded with skill at every position, but playing like lone wolves instead of a pack will guarantee an early exit in both post-season tournaments.
However, if they use the final games of the season to come together as a unit and play team basketball, few teams have the potential to be as scary N.C. State when their heads are screwed on straight.