Observations

J.P. GiglioJanuary 1, 2012 

It was surprising to see Larry Hunter's Western Carolina team run a conventional offense. It was Hunter who installed a version of the Princeton offense at N.C. State when he joined Herb Sendek's staff in 2001. The success of that offense helped Sendek save his job and effectively got Hunter the Catamounts job.

Like Sendek's teams during the early 2000s, Hunter's team does love the 3-pointer; the Catamounts took 23 (and made seven) Saturday.

The old, freshman version of C.J. Leslie made a cameo appearance during the second half. Leslie, who can handle the ball even at 6-foot-8, broke Western Carolina's pressure with his dribble and then instead of re-starting the offense, went 1-on-3 and forced a bad shot, a 10-foot fadeaway.

Mark Gottfried immediately subbed for Leslie, a good move. But instead of letting Leslie wallow on the bench, which happened for long stretches last season, Gottfried made another good move and brought Leslie back in a minute later. Leslie finished with 14 points, five rebounds and a season-best three assists.

For the second time in as many games, forward Richard Howell inspired a technical foul by the opponent. Western Carolina forward Tawaski King definitely deserved his after pointing to Howell and threatening him - after he clobbered Howell going for an offensive rebound.

"I can't remember what he said, but I'm glad the official heard him," Howell said.

Mike Eades, one of the better ACC officials, called the foul.

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