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Thursday, December 18, 2008

ECU game post: State wins 87-76

I know there are going to be some of you out there in Wolfpack Land that view a close game with ECU as sign for concern. You thought last year's loss was the lowest point in State basketball history and assumed we'd crush the Pirates in our house this year by 30. And as such, since we only won by 11, somehow you think that's disappointing.

I'm here to tell you that last night's win over ECU was a quality win, over a good team, and that there's reason to feel good about that game and the team after winning it.


The Pirates are a scary good offensive squad. They shoot the ball extremely well, especially from the perimeter, and feature outstanding guard play from both their point (Brock Young, one of the nation's top assists men) and their two guards (Sam Hinnant and James Legan). And in last night's game they started out strong, hitting over 50% of their first-half threes.

But Coach Lowe made a concerted effort in the second half to take that aspect of their game away and force their point, Young, to beat the Pack on his own. He damn near did, as the Pirates cleared out the post and let Young attack Javy, Degand, or whoever else we tried to throw in front of him. But the Pirates' perimeter game was effectively shut down in the second half as they shot just 2-15 from three. Young got his 25 but State won the war.

This was my first time seeing the team in person this year. I can say they look worlds better than they did the year before--exerting much more effort on both ends of the court, hustling for loose balls, getting downright nasty at times. You could tell this was a game the whole team wanted badly. The key will be channeling that type of emotion and effort over an entire 35+ game season.

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