Updated 9:23 FINAL NC State moves on to face Duke tomorrow, beats Pitt 81-70
- Pitt just could not stop Anthony Barber, who finished with 34. The backcourt of Lacey and Barber went for 55 of the Wolfpack’s 81.
- Cameron Wright played as well as could be expected, leading the Panthers with 19, but James Robinson was a virtual no-show in the back-court. Scoring just two points, and not playing adequate defense to even slow Cat Barber down.
- Michael Young of Pitt gave one of his typical performances where he scores 13 and grabs 8 boards, and you think that’s good enough until you realize that 8 points came in a 5 minute stretch and he was a wallflower the rest of the way.
- NC St beat Duke in Cameron earlier this year, so they’re likely not going to shy away from the challenge. This win gives the Pack 20 and they have faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation. This likely cemented their at-large bid.
Updated 8:59 PM
- Trevor Lacey just picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench with 7:12 remaining. Lacey is pacing Cat Barber (19 and 21 respectively). Need Ralston Turner to have his own spurt to offset the loss of Lacey.
- Bad officiating there to deny Barber the hoop AND the harm. He will go to the line as NC State is now in the bonus.
- ACC 6th man of the year, Beejay Anya almost ripped Jamel Artis’s arm off with a clean block from behind. The crowd made a little bit of noise.
- Barber picking up the slack, scores on a leaner in traffic. 63-51, State by 12 as valuable minutes tick away.
- Chris Jones knocks down a three, keeping Pitt within striking distance, down nine.
- Pitt pressing and wait to foul Anya when he catches it. But Anya keeps making his FTs tonight! Knocks down both. State back up 12.
- Freshman guard Martin with a strong take, draws the foul, puts NC St back up 13.
- After two quick Pitt buckets generated off of the press cut the lead to nine, the Pack breaks it and gets a dunk by Anya at the other end.
- FInal TV timeout of the game sees NC St in control 69-58
Updated 8:40 PM
- The margin is 12, and coincidentally so is the difference in Points in the Paint. NC St leads 20-8.
- Since the half Pitt is 4 for 6 from three and NC St just 1 of 6, so the Panthers have narrowed that gap some. They have not been able to slow the Pack in transition, although Cat Barber has served as a facilitator, and other NC State players have been finishing.
- Lacey with another jumper, hand in his face, he’s in charge right now. NC St earns back their halftime lead of 14.
- A Pitt three to stop the bleeding by Jones. But time is starting to become an issue.
- NC St’s Gottfried decided the possession was going nowhere and called TO right before the 8 minute TV TO, with just 11 seconds on the shot clock. To me this is a curious decision, when all else has failed for NC State this year, they give it to Lacey.
- Cat Barber is fouled and we are now at the 8 minute TV TO. Pack by 11, 57-46.
Updated 8:32 PM
- Pitt has scored six quick points out of the TV TO, with Michael Young’s five being the catalyst.
- NC St with two easy buckets though, stretch the lead back to 10.
- After a slick up and under by Lacey stretches the lead back to 10, Michael Young hits another three. Pitt cuts the halftime lead in half.
- But Abdul-Malik Abu with another key jumper to keep Pitt at bay.
- And Jamie Dixon has seen enough, he needs a TO after that deep Trevor Lacey three and NC State leads by 12 once more with just over 10 minutes to play.
- Pitt cannot keep allowing these one-man runs that NC State has put on them tonight with Lacey and Barber scoring for stretches without interruption.
- Jeter comes out and hits a three for Pitt on the first possession. Pitt cuts the lead to 11.
- Lacey fouled on a long jumper with the shot clock winding down, he converts the three point play, and the Pack leads 42-29.
- After a Ralston Turner miss, Pitt’s Cameron Wright cans the jumper. Turner still hasn’t scored yet. And on the very next play. Barber with a quick outlet to Lacey who hit Turner in stride for a breakout dunk. Turner is finally on the board.
- Sheldon Jeter risked life and limb there saving his errant three attempt. His wild pass was recovered by Pitt and in the scrum, Trevor Lacey picks up his third foul.
- It will be Pitt ball after we return from the under 16 minute TV timeout. NC State still in front by 12, 44-32.
Updated 8:05 by Justin Cates
Despite all the NC State fans in the building this crowd is absolutely dead. There’s no energy and no flow to this game. I can’t even believe the half is over because it doesn’t feel like anything has really happened. Cat Barber is playing out of his mind with 21 points at the half. Everyone else is kind of going through the motions though for the Wolfpack which isn’t encouraging if you’re Mark Gottfried.
Pitt is desperately in need of a spark and at this point I’m just not sure where it’s going to come from. Maybe Cameron Wright or Jamel Artis can get going, but they’ve dug quite a whole for themselves. The only bright side so far is that the Panthers are matching up well with State’s strong frontline, managing to outrebound the Wolfpack 16-15.
Updated 8:02 by Meredith Beck with her halftime observations
In all seriousness it was quite a slow and sluggish start for both N.C. State and Pittsburgh in the first half. N.C. State, a team that is coming off a heck of a win against Syracuse is not exaclty playing with the momentum I would like to see right now. Lets be real this is a do or die type of game for these guys. The one thing I would like to see N.C. State cease right now is all this body movement and head gyration when they have the basketball. Cat Barber, who is having an outstanding first half, has almost turned the ball over on a few occassions because he feels the need to bring out all that movement, which are points that they do not need to lose. Protect the ball, I know you want to fake them out but in all honesty play some fundamental basketball here, no need to lose senseless points. Lacey, Abu and Turner have been quite in the first half not really making too much noise, a few points from Lacey here and there; not really rebounding too much and getting the ball down low. I would like to see more movement and better ball handling from those guys on the inside.Pitt has no big bodies, so the mis-match will give State some easy points. And as of right now it is the Cat Barber show and clearly has the hot hand, so there is your go-to-guy Pack, keep getting the ball in his hands and hopefully he can continue to lead you to the promise land.
As for Pitt they continue to struggle on both the offense and defense. Consistency is not in their vocabulary right now but they have got to find a way to make some stops and put the ball in the hoop. They are getting beat in transition by Barber, who is not the best shooter but his speed compensates for that still giving State the advantage. Pitt is just not the same team that we have seen in years past; they are just not as physical or good defensively, but hey when you do not have big bodies on the inside it is hard to win ball games. The Panthers need to find a way to create some offense off of their defense. Their team is rebounding the ball but not creating profitable opportunities that count for anything. It will be interesting to see what Jamie Dixon says to his team at the half to get them back in this game. Some buckets are falling but not enough, and at the end of the day or in this case the game it is all about what drops. So for Pitt going into the second half they need to find a way to shoot better, shut down Barber, stop causing stupid fouls and learn how to play in transition.
Updated 7:57 HALFTIME NC ST 37 Pitt 23
- Brant just called Caleb Martin a freshman sensation. And then in response to Pitt’s Josh Newkirk pushing the ball, said “Push it. Push it real good.” This happened, and I’m embarrassed for us all.
- Cat Martin takes a seat on the bench with 5.3 seconds left having set his career-high in points already. The young man has 21 of NC State’s 37. While Pitt managed just 23 total.
- Pitt has 5 TOs, and the veteran Lacey has led a very careful Wolfpack club that has surrendered just two, and those were by Anya and Martin, bench players.
- Rebounds, assists, steals all equal.
- Just 10 points from the trio on Pitt (Michael Young, Jamel Artis, James Robinson). That will not get it done. Cam Wright leads the Panthers with six.
- And Lacey out of the TO hits a three on NC State’s first possession, hits the next bucket too, a long two. Quick five points.
- And it’s a heat check for Lacey, a fadeaway from the right wing, just inside the arc. These last two shots he’s made had a high degree of difficulty. Pitino would have benched him for not being aware of the line.
- Lacey thinking he was invincible takes a crazy shot that leads to a Cameron Wright layup for Pitt, Wolfpack leads 27-19.
- Barber hits a big step back three to give him 14. Wolfpack up 11.
- Pitt got destroyed by NC State in both teams’ first ACC game this year in Raleigh, 79-61. This game is not being played at Pitt’s preferred pace.
- Cat Barber making a name for himself, and he already has a really cool name! Another three. And now the ‘Pack leads by 12. Barber with 17.
- The under 4 timeout got knocked back to 2:11 remaining.
- Ralston Turner, NC State’s 2nd leading scorer is still scoreless on just four attempts.
- NC St (5-9) from three, and Pitt (0-5). NC St is also in the bonus with two fouls to give.
- Another jumper for Pitt out of the TO, but BJ Anya with a crowd inspiring stumbling reverse layup and the foul for the 3 pt play.
- Since the last TV TO, we’ve seen Pitt outscore NC State 5-4. With six personal fouls. So, no, not aesthetically pleasing.
- All-ACC guard Trevor Lacey with just one FG attempt so far to go with two fouls. He remains scoreless 12 minutes in.
- After three Pitt jump shots tied the game at 8, Cat Barber was fouled on a three and converted all three FTs.
- Then he got the ball on a run out and blazed past the Pitt defenders for a layup. He’s moving at a different speed than everyone else on the floor right now. He has 11 of the NC State 16, as the lead is now 16-8. at the under 12 TO.
- So much for Jamie Dixon’s game plan to slow him down and keep him from penetrating.
- Pitt has just one basket at the 16 minute TV timeout, courtesy of Jamel Artis. Sheldon Jeter had another waved off due to basket interference.
- Cat Barber made a three to extend the Wolfpack lead to 6-2. Crowd is heavily pro-Wolfpack.
- Then Trevor Lacey called for a handcheck, what a waste of a first foul. Lacey was exasperated with the call.
- NC State needs to win tonight to feel safe. They’ll pick up a 20th win and beat a team trending very poorly in PItt. The Panthers were within shouting distance of the NCAA before dropping their final three games.