This was no come-from-behind win for N.C. State’s opposing team Wednesday night, as both Miami and Syracuse had done in the two games prior.
Just a good old-fashioned whoopin’. No. 14 Florida State (21-4, 9-3 ACC) beat N.C. State (14-11, 3-9 ACC) in Tallahassee from start to finish, 95-71, leaving the Wolfpack wondering whether it ever will figure out how to defend before the regular season ends.
Wednesday night’s loss was the Wolfpack’s fourth in a row. The Pack drops to 13th of 15 ACC teams in the standings.
After the Wolfpack’s last game, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said his team had not finished defensive possessions by corralling loose rebounds. Many of the teams that beat N.C. State dominated on the offensive glass, which led to second-chance points.
Those problems continued against Florida State. The Wolfpack started the game playing a zone defense. But when the shot went up, the Wolfpack had trouble finding a player to box out. The Seminoles grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and had 19 second-chance points.
Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac, a 6-10, 210-pound freshman forward, dominated N.C. State’s big men early. He scored 17 points in the first half on an array of dunks and a few jump shots. He finished with 21 points.
The Wolfpack were without backup forward Beejay Anya, who did not make the trip to Tallahassee after a disciplinary issue at practice between him and Gottfried.
After a quiet first half in which he scored zero points, Dennis Smith Jr. tried to be more aggressive by attacking the basket. It led to some easy buckets early in the second half, but the Wolfpack couldn’t stop the Seminoles on the other side of the floor.
Any attempts at a comeback were quickly thwarted. The early hole the Wolfpack had dug itself was too big to recover from.
Senior guard Terry Henderson led all Wolfpack scorers with 17 points. Maverick Rowan added 16, and Smith had eight points and six assists.
The Wolfpack’s next game will be Saturday at Wake Forest (14-10, 5-7 ACC).