Back to work, back on the road for NC State

jgiglio@newsobserver.comDecember 29, 2013 

  • N.C. State at UNC-Greensboro

    When: 7 p.m.

    Where: Greensboro Coliseum

    TV/Radio: 101.5-WRAL

    Projected starting lineups

    N.C State (9-3)

    G Cat Barber 11.8 ppg, 4.4 apg

    G Desmond Lee 10.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg

    F T.J. Warren 23.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg

    F Lennard Freeman 4.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg

    F Jordan Vandenberg 7.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg

    UNCG (7-7)

    G Drew Parker 1.7 ppg, 2.7 apg

    G Tyrone Outlaw 6.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg

    F Kayel Locke 11.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg

    F Kyle Cain 16.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg

    F Nicholas Paulos 10.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg

    Player to watch

    Kyle Cain, forward, UNCG

    The 6-foot-7 junior forward carried the Spartans to a 55-52 win against Virginia Tech on Saturday with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

    Observations

    Another opponent, another coach with an ACC tie. Former North Carolina guard Wes Miller is in his third season as the Spartans’ coach. He’s the fifth former ACC assistant, coach or player the Pack has faced this season.

    Joe Giglio

— N.C. State scheduled Monday’s game at UNC-Greensboro to give its players a chance to play in the Greensboro Coliseum before the ACC tournament.

After Saturday’s 68-64 home loss to No. 25 Missouri, the Wolfpack needs the game just to get the bitter taste out of its mouth.

N.C. State led Missouri for the first 36 minutes of Saturday’s game and by as many as 10 points in the second half. The Wolfpack (9-3) looked like it was on its way to an eighth straight win headed to Greensboro to face Wes Miller’s Spartans (7-7), who knocked off Virginia Tech earlier on Saturday.

But it was Missouri, not N.C. State, which kept its composure and made the clutch plays down the stretch in a lively PNC Arena on Saturday night.

“We really didn’t fall apart,” senior center Jordan Vandenberg said. “They just started hitting big shots.”

The Tigers got a 3-pointer from Jordan Clarkson at 2:55 and another from Jabari Brown to go ahead for good with 55.1 seconds left.

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried credited the Tigers for their poise and playmaking after Saturday’s loss but also said there was room for improvement for his team.

“I thought we were in a position to win the game, and we have to do a better job,” Gottfried said.

The coach pointed to the Pack’s problems at the free-throw line, also a problem in the team’s loss to N.C. Central in November.

The Pack went 8-for-14 from the line, which is both a poor percentage (57.1) and not enough attempts. Freshman point guard Cat Barber was an uncharacteristic 2-for-6 from the line (he entered the game shooting 71.1 percent for the season), including a key miss of a front end of a one-and-one with 26.8 seconds left and State down one point.

“We didn’t make foul shots,” Gottfried said. “We missed some key ones.”

It was a tough night for Barber, who was limited to 23 minutes because of foul trouble and he finished 2-for-11 from the floor. Barber did have six points and six assists in limited action.

“He never really got going,” Gottfried said.

Vandenberg, who’s return from an ankle injury had been a key factor in the team’s seven-game winning streak, was also hampered by foul trouble and finished with just two points and three rebounds in 22 minutes.

“I can put a lot of this game on me,” Vandenberg said. “I was a non-factor the whole game and that’s really disappointing.”

There were bright spots for the Pack. Sophomore forward T.J. Warren had a game-high 24 points but none in the final 12 minutes. Freshman forward Kyle Washington came off the bench and scored all 10 of his points in the second half.

Washington led a key 10-2 sequence, where he scored six points and blocked two shots, which gave the Pack a 53-43 lead with 8:56 left.

It looked like N.C. State would close out Mizzou from there and take an eight-game winning streak into Monday night’s game in Greensboro.

Instead, Missouri headed back home to the SEC with a win after a late comeback.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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