North Carolina State v Duke

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

Leave a comment

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

Louisville’s Rick Pitino on allegations: ‘We will get through this’

Rick Pitino
AP Photo
Leave a comment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”

The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.

Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”

Georgia Tech lands Class of 2016 guard

Brian Gregory
AP Photo
Leave a comment

Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.

The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.