Sunday, January 20, 2008

What A Thriller!!

NC State finally showed some heart and came out on top against a tough Miami game 79-77. State came out fast and went into half time with a 36-27 lead thanks in most part to Costner hitting all of four of this three point attempts. The second half began and State maintained their lead until there was 12 minutes remaining it the game. Miami guard Jack McClinton scored 24 points after half time and hit 8 of his 10 shots in the second half to give Miami the edge heading into the final moments of regulation.

Trailing 76-72, State brought the ball up court and set up the play that would give them a chance to get back in the game with less than a minute remaining. Courtney Fells, tightly guarded, got the ball four feet beyond the 3-point line and threw up a prayer. Some how this prayer was answered and the ball found its way into the basket and put the game at 76-75 with 20 seconds left. Miami increased their lead when Anthony King hit one of his two free throws with 15 seconds left in the game giving Miami a 77-75 lead. Lowe then drew up a play that would hopefully push the game into double overtime. The play was a drive by Johnson who would pass to Grant coming off a pick. Grant's shot hit the rim and bounced off but J.J. Hickson muscled his way past the opposition and tipped the missed shot back into the game. State had done it. Unless a miracle shot went in we would be able to push the game into double overtime. During the celebration, King threw an inbound pass intended for Jack McClinton. Gavin Grant, tired of seeing McClinton hit shot after shot, jumped in front of the pass and hit the lay up giving State a surprise lead with two seconds left in the game. Miami's next inbound pass hit its intended target but it was too late. The half court shot missed the rim and State finally got an ACC win.

What a turn around from the last two performances when State showed no heart or chemistry. Players worked for each other and created good shooting opportunities. State shot 61% from the beyond the arc, which aided their dismal shooting effort inside the three point line only hitting a little more than 30% from that range.

State attacked the zone defense Miami threw at them and found open lanes. Costner made his shots and Grant has proven once again that he is the heart and soul of this team leading the Wolfpack in scoring (22 points) and having the vision to pick off the inbounds pass and give State the lead late in overtime.

What could possibly make this day any better? How about a UNC loss? 7 loss Maryland went into Smurf Hill and pulled off the upset. I don't know if any of you saw the end of the broadcast, but which was funnier, Hansborough attempting a last second three pointer to win the game or the girl who was balling her eyes out at the end of the game? A video of these events can be seen here

Anyways, lets hope our guys can build on this win and keep up the intensity as we await for Georgia Tech on Wednesday. State's heart came through in this game. After giving up a lead halfway through the second half and coming back twice to win the game was impressive. Hopefully this team is finally understanding how to play with each other and the preseason predictions can hold true.

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