Three Points from N.C. State's 76-64 win over Hofstra:
1) Hofstra's the kind of team Mark Gottfried schedules to test his team and help his RPI. These type of games (St. Bonaventure in 2012) tend to work out for N.C. State on Selection Sunday, even if it loses (N.C. Central 2014).
Talent-wise, the Pride certainly didn't look like a Colonial Athletic Association team. They had plenty of experience, too. Coach Joe Mihalich used three juniors and a graduate senior in his eight-man rotation. Half of the eight players who logged more than 17 minutes are transfers, none better than guard Juan'ya Green, who led the Pride with 19 points.
"I think we beat a team tonight that's going to win a lot of games in their league," Gottfried said. "They are well-coached, they have veteran players and they attacked some of our weaknesses."
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Guard Dion Nesmith, a graduate from Monmouth who's listed at 6-1 and 215 pounds, looked like he could start for N.C. State's football team at linebacker. He had 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half when the game was getting away from Hofstra.
Other than the three games against Purdue, Tennessee and West Virginia, N.C. State's non conference schedule lacks name power but not potential NCAA teams. Gottfried pointed out that like Hofstra, Boise State, Louisiana Tech and Wofford will test his team.
"We've got four of five of them coming up just like this," Gottfried said. "That are better, quite frankly. Those are the kind of games I like to play, they are hard and challenging. Your RPI and who you play, it becomes a big deal. It is a big deal."
2) Ralston Turner has a funky delivery and funkier spin on his jump shot but it's hard to argue with the results. The senior made five 3-pointers on Monday night and really kept Hofstra at arms length when the game got tight in the second half.
Turner led N.C. State in 3s last season with 77 and will likely do the same this season. Cat Barber has shown an improved shot through two games and Trevor Lacey has a smooth shot but Turner's a specialist, in a similar role that Scott Wood occupied for four seasons.
They're going to need him to make 3s to beat good teams and he did on Monday.
There's no getting used to Turner's unorthodox shot, which I've compared to Daisuke Matsuzaka's "gyro" pitch, but he figures out a way to consistently make it.
Turner played on the same AAU team in Alabama with Gottfried's oldest son, Brandon, before he began his career at LSU, then transferred to N.C. State. Gottfried has learned to accept what he calls the "hitch" in Turner's shot.
"I like Ralston's shot the way it is," Gottfried said. "When he has his feet set and his shoulders squared, I feel like he has a great chance to make it."
Gottfried said the real key to Turner's shot is confidence. Turner, who was 3 of 8 in the opener against Jackson State last Friday, said the key to being a good shooter is not the release or spin but a short memory.
"You're not going to make them all," Turner said.
3) Gottfried wanted more from the bigs after the Jackson State game and Lennard Freeman delivered with 13 rebounds and nine points. Freeman also threw in two assists and two steals in 30 minutes.
BeeJay Anya had three points and three blocks but was limited to 9 minutes with four fouls. Anya picked up a "Richard Howell" foul, as Gottfried called it, in the first half defending a ball screen about 25 feet from the basket.
One area of concern: forwards Kyle Washington and Abdul-Malik Abu had five turnovers between them.
Another area of concern, not related to the bigs: foul shooting. State went 20 of 31 from the line on Monday, after going 21 of 32 against Jackson State last Friday.
After the way the Saint Louis game ended, Gottfried has devoted a lot of time on free throws. There was a stretch on Monday where Hofstra got two technical fouls in 10 seconds and N.C. State made just two of the four free throws.
One plus: Lacey was 5 of 6, after going just 3 of 7 against Jackson State. If there's one thing N.C. State needs it's a closer from the free-throw line.