Mark Gottfried lamented after N.C. State’s loss to Georgia Tech that the “numbers don’t lie.”
With No. 15 Miami (16-3, 5-2 ACC) coming to town on Saturday and N.C. State (11-10) trying to dig out of a 1-7 ACC hole, a few numbers to ponder:
The Wolfpack’s scoring average in the first half in 10 home games this season. That’s about an average of nine points less than it scores in the second half.
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It’s not unusual for teams to score more in the second half than they do in the first but the Wolfpack is shooting only 40.6 percent on the basket in front of the away team bench at PNC Arena, compared to 46.1 percent at the basket in front of its bench.
When you’re talking about the “little things” being the difference between ACC wins and losses, as N.C. State’s players have many times this season, that qualifies as an area of improvement.
N.C. State has had three 50-point halves this season at PNC Arena and all of them have been on the home basket in the second half.
The visiting teams don’t have the same issues with the “away” basket as N.C. State does. The road team has made 45.7 percent of its field goals at the basket closest to its bench. The road teams are shooting 42.2 percent on the home basket.
Short of N.C. State petitioning the NCAA to shoot twice at the same basket, it needs to improve its first-half shooting and scoring ability.
N.C. State’s shooting percentage (33 of 68) in the final 5 minutes of regulation in its seven ACC losses. In the first 35 minutes of the same games, N.C. State shot 39.7 percent (152 of 382).
The problem is the Wolfpack wasn’t close enough in home losses to Georgia Tech, Duke, Florida State and Louisville for the uptick to matter.
In particular, freshman guard Maverick Rowan has had his best moments at the end of ACC games. Rowan, who leads the team in 3-pointers (49) on the season, has made 42.8 percent (12 of 28) of his field goals in the final 5 minutes of N.C. State’s seven ACC losses.
In the first 35 minutes of the same games, he has made just 28.6 percent (20 of 70) of his shots.
Before the season started, N.C. State’s record under Mark Gottfried against Virginia Tech (5-0) and Georgia Tech (5-1). The Wolfpack is 0-2 against the Techs this season.
Gottfried has said many times this season the ACC is more competitive, from top to bottom, than it has been at any point in his five-year tenure. He’s probably right but N.C. State is losing to the teams it usually beats in the ACC.
The Wolfpack can hope the inverse is true against Miami. The Hurricanes, well-rested after an 80-69 home win over Duke on Monday, has won three of the past four regular-season meetings between the two teams.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio