Pack's Brown finding his groove

Point guard was near perfect in win over Norfolk State and coach liked what he saw

lkeeley@newsobserver.comDecember 17, 2012 

  • Next game Stanford at N.C. State Tuesday, 9 p.m. TV: ESPN2

— N.C. State knew entering the season that there would be plenty of scorers available.

Now, nine games into the year, the Wolfpack feels like it has found a way to maximize its offensive talent.

“It was tough at the beginning because we didn’t know what to do with all these scorers,” point guard Lorenzo Brown said. “Now, we’re getting in a rhythm better with the basketball and passing to the right guys at the right time.”

As the point guard, it’s primarily Brown’s responsibility to distribute the ball effectively. But, as head coach Mark Gottfried said after the Wolfpack’s 84-62 win over Norfolk State Saturday, Brown needs to score, too.

“I don’t want point guards that can’t score at all,” Gottfried said. “That doesn’t help your team. He’s got to be able to distribute the ball, run the offense and score on top of that. I thought tonight he was pretty good at that.”

Brown was near perfect on offense, going 7-of-8 from the field for 16 points, with his lone miss coming on his last attempt, a layup that was blocked. Brown was especially aggressive early, scoring 12 points in the first half.

When the No. 25 Wolfpack led by just two points at 24-22 with five minutes remaining in the opening half, Brown keyed the run that effectively put the game away. Of the five field goals N.C. State made to end the half, Brown scored two and assisted on two more. The Wolfpack went into the break with a 38-25 lead, and the Spartans never trimmed the deficit closer than 13 points.

“He controlled the tempo,” Norfolk State head coach Anthony Evans said. “He got guys shots where they’re used to getting shots. He attacked the basketball when he saw the opportunity. He’s a very talented guard.”

Brown has gotten better at picking his spots to attack. Coming into Saturday, he had made fewer than 41 percent of his field goal attempts in half of the Wolfpack’s games.

“Early in the year, he tried to do too much at times,” Gottfried said. “He was driving and really ended up with some tough shots. He’s really running our team better lately. It’s made our team better.”

As a team, the Wolfpack is an unselfish bunch, recording 21 assists on 31 of its field goals. Sometimes, N.C. State is unselfish to a fault, making one too many passes in attempt to create a highlight-reel play. There were a few fast-break opportunities that resulted in turnovers. “We tried to get a little too fancy a couple of times,” Gottfried said, “but, in general, all the scorers’ willingness to share is advantageous. It’s just up to Brown to put it all together and remember that he needs to score, too.”

“It’s basketball,” Brown said. “You’ve got to make the right read and make the right plays.”

Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley

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