Three Points from N.C. State’s 80-78 overtime win over Georgia Tech on Sunday:
If it wasn’t the first time all year Tyler Lewis, Desmond Lee, Ralston Turner, T.J. Warren and BeeJay Anya were on the floor together, it was certainly the longest stretch for that lineup.
Warren checked in at 14:15 in the second half, with State down 54-44, and the group played together for 6 straight minutes. When Turner picked up his fourth foul at 8:15 and exited, Georgia Tech’s lead had been whittled down to 59-58.
“I think that’s one of our best lineups when we’re quick and we get out in transition more,” Lewis said.
Lewis, who hadn’t score more than 6 points in an ACC game until Sunday, made two 3-pointers to really get the Wolfpack back in the game and give the building a pulse.
“They gave us great energy and hope and belief,” coach Mark Gottfried said of Lewis’ 3-pointers. “They were huge. Tyler played terrific.”
The smaller lineup also put more shooting options on the floor at the same time, which helps Warren. As did Gottfried’s decision to start Turner, instead of Lee.
After Turner scored 23 points against Maryland, it was clear State needed Turner’s outside shooting in ACC play. He hadn’t started in a conference game with Warren until Sunday, though.
Turner finished with 11 points and two 3s against Georgia Tech, including a gigantic one with State down late 72-67.
Lee, who had a strong game against Maryland on Monday, said he didn’t mind coming off the bench. It was the first time this season he didn’t start.
“I’m an older guy, I’ll do whatever to help the team win,” Lee said. “If coach wants me to come off the bench, I’ll come off the bench. If coach wants me to start, I’ll start.
“If coach wants me to jump off a bridge, nah, I don’t know if I’ll jump off a bridge. I’m just a team player.”
Lee finished Sunday’s game with 11 points, four rebounds, a steal and an assist. He also took a key charge on Georgia Tech’s Trae Golden with 2.5 seconds left in overtime.
After Georgia Tech’s Marcus Georges-Hunt scored on two uncontested shots, Gottfried called a timeout and gave Warren a palms-up, “What was that?” look.
Gottfried benched Warren, the ACC’s leading scorer, for a little more than 3 minutes.
“Once I put him back in the game,” Gottfried said. “He responded really well.”
That wasn’t something Gottfried was willing to do last season with his stars, especially C.J. Leslie, and it eventually hurt him.
Gottfried takes a lot of flak for his in-game tactics, or lack thereof, but he pushed a lot of the right buttons on Sunday.
N.C. State improved to 11-2 at PNC Arena against Georgia Tech, its best mark against any ACC team.
I still like Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory but I seem to be in the minority of that opinion. Kind of hard to tell what the Jackets should be when they don’t have Robert Carter (out for the season with a knee injury).
Finances aside (and Paul Hewitt’s still on the books), Gregory’s long-term security was reduced when Dan Radakovich, the AD that hired him, left for Clemson.