North Carolina State v Duke

Lorenzo Brown’s return and a Scott Wood three-pointer stop N.C. State freefall

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Entering Sunday’s game at Clemson having lost five of their last seven games, it’s a safe assumption that ACC preseason favorite N.C. State won’t win the conference’s regular season title.

Of greater concern was whether or not the Wolfpack would be able to snap out of their funk, and for much of the afternoon it looked as if a team in search of answers would suffer yet another close defeat.

But Lorenzo Brown’s pass to an open Scott Wood led to the three-pointer that gave the Wolfpack (17-7, 6-5) a 58-57 victory and kept them from dropping to below .500 in conference play.

As was the case in four of their five losses the little things would play a role in the outcome, with N.C. State nearly losing because of two late turnovers. But the Wolfpack would get one last shot at the win due to Milton Jennings missing the front end of a 1-and-1 with 12.3 seconds remaining, and they took advantage of it.

Brown didn’t start the game but he made up for lost time (and shot attempts), scoring 15 points (6-of-15 FG) and dishing out four assists in 32 minutes of action. For significant stretches head coach Mark Gottfried went with a backcourt of Brown and freshman Tyler Lewis, who played well in losses to No. 8 Miami and No. 4 Duke.

However the rotation change had an adverse effect on freshman Rodney Purvis, who was largely ineffective and failed to score in 27 minutes of playing time. In theory Purvis and the other guards will get more comfortable as they get practice time with Brown back in the fold, but who’s to say that will definitely happen?

Forwards Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie both posted double-doubles in the win, combining to score 28 points and grab 21 rebounds, but they also accounted for eight of the Wolfpack’s 12 turnovers. And with Leslie racking up 13 turnovers over the last three games, that’s an area he needs to clean up as N.C. State begins this stretch run.

Sunday’s win was a result the Wolfpack needed for their collective psyche, and the schedule works in their favor with home games against Virginia Tech and Florida State next week.

But Sunday’s result should not mask the fact that N.C. State is a team still looking to find its rhythm.

Video credit: ACC Digital Network

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej

VIDEO: Shane Richards’ shot lifts shorthanded Manhattan

Shane Richards
Associated Press
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Thanks to injuries and the departure of Jermaine Lawrence, the beginning of the season has been difficult for Steve Masiello’s Manhattan Jaspers. Entering Wednesday’s game against George Mason, which was coming off of a surprising run to the Charleston Classic title game, with just six available players the Jaspers looked to pick up their first win of the season.

And Manhattan was successful, with a Shane Richards three-point play with 1.1 seconds remaining being the difference in their 69-67 win at Draddy Gymnasium. Below is video of the game-winning play, courtesy of Manhattan Athletics.

Richards (13 points) was one of three Jaspers to reach double figures, with Rich Williams leading the way with 26 points and nine rebounds and Thomas Capuano adding 14 points. What also helped the Jaspers was the fact that they forced 25 George Mason, converting those opportunities into 24 points.

Not sure if Manhattan and George Mason are due to play again next season, but the last two meetings have produced dramatic outcomes. The Patriots won last year’s game in Fairfax on a Jalen Jenkins’ 75-footer as time expired.

Video credit: Manhattan Athletics

UNLV hangs on for 72-69 win over No. 13 Indiana

Tom Crean
AP Photo
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LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) UNLV answered every run by Indiana, and the Runnin’ Rebels were able to hang through the frantic final seconds for a 72-69 victory over the 13th-ranked Hoosiers on Wednesday.

The game had the intensity of a February conference matchup and just enough mistakes to make sure it was November.

“One of the reasons we came to Maui, other than it was exciting for our fans, was to play against the best,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “See how we match up. See where we’re good. See where our deficiencies are, and now we’ll have all next week to practice.”

Patrick McCaw had 20 points for the Runnin’ Rebels (5-1), who bounced back from their opening loss to UCLA with wins over Chaminade and the Hoosiers (4-2), who leave Hawaii with just one win in three games.

“This is a test,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “The eight teams walking out of here, no matter what, in three days are getting tested. All right? Even if the champion tonight blows through it, whoever the champion is, they’re still getting tested because you’re playing three games in three days against very high level competition.”

Indiana trailed by 15 points in the first half and turned on some solid defense to get back in the game. The Hoosiers closed to 55-53 with 8:20 to play. The Runnin’ Rebels then went on a 12-1 spurt, with McCaw scoring seven of the points, including a run-closing 3.

“Coming in, we knew since Indiana is a great offensive team, we really had to lock down and play defense,” Ike Nwamu said. “It was really paramount for us to execute defensively.”

The Hoosiers weren’t done. They got within three points twice in the final 30 seconds. The first time was on a dunk by Thomas Bryant off a tremendous pass from a flying Yogi Ferrell. UNLV’s Jerome Seagears made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 13 seconds left to make it 72-67.

Max Bielfeldt’s drive for Indiana with 7.5 seconds remaining provided the final margin, but the game was far from over.

Nwamu missed two free throws with 7.1 seconds left, and Indiana gave the ball back to UNLV on a 5-second count on the inbounds. UNLV then threw the ball away on an inbounds pass. Nick Zeisloft’s 3-point attempt was partially blocked by Ben Carter, and Nwamu was fouled on the rebound. He missed both free throws with .8 seconds left, but all Indiana could get off was a heave that was well short.

“I knew my man set the screen. I knew they were looking for a 3,” Carter said of the blocked shot. “I saw Pat was trailing his man a little bit, so I knew I had to help. Luckily I was able to get the tip on the ball and it was a pivotal play.”

Crean said he wouldn’t change the play.

“That was excellent. They made an athletic play. But he did a good job taking the shot,” Crean said.

Carter and Nwamu had 16 points apiece for UNLV, and Seagears added 12.

“These kind of games, it’s so much about momentum,” Rice said. “It’s about a big stop here, a big basket here. We always focus on what happens at the end of the game. And that’s obviously critically important. … It’s an entire game. That’s why we focus on it’s every play throughout the course of 40 minutes.”

Zeisloft led the Hoosiers, who lost to Wake Forest in the final seconds in their opener, with 17 points, and James Blackmon Jr. had 13. Indiana had 21 turnovers that led to 22 points for the Runnin’ Rebels.

“We got ourselves in a hole at the beginning with our turnovers, and you’re not going to beat any type of team, let alone one as talented as UNLV, when you’re giving them 22 points,” Crean said. “It’s unacceptable with the guys that have the ball in their hands for us to be giving the ball that way, and we’ve got to get that fixed. We really do, or we’ve got to fix the lineup.”