Apparently, all the Pack needs is a little privacy.
With virtually no one watching except for some desperate folks on ACC Select, and parts of the Triangle subjected to static-laden 99.9 radio coverage on account of a telethon on the Pack's usual radio station, the Pack finally -- FINALLY -- nailed down a win in which they held a lead.
Now, I'm not one to gloat and say I told you so, but in the game preview yesterday I stated two reasons why I thought State had a chance: Wake's tendency to fold when challenged and their struggles away from home. Both came to fruition last night.
Sidney Lowe, for all the questions folks may have about his team management, knows his damn Xs and Os. Against a youthful Wake team, he threw everything in his defensive playbook to keep the Deacs off-balanced, including a healthy dose of Box-and-1 on Jeff Teague. Teague -- averaging nearly 21 points/game -- was blanketed by Courtney Fells and could only get off three shot attempts the whole game. He finished with 11 points -- 10 below his average -- with six of his points coming from the line.
With Teague neutralized and Al Fariq Aminu fouled out at the 12:00 mark in the second half, the Deacs fell behind by as much as 20 in the second half.
But as is State's M.O., they handed back nearly every bit from that point forth until the end of the game. Silly turnovers, lazy passing and a desire to sit on the lead instead of continuing to play the game aggressively all contributed to the evaporation of the lead. It seemed like Sunday afternoon all over again.
State found a leader when they needed it in this game, however, in Brandon Coster. He played like a man possessed in the final moments, scoring big buckets to slow the bleeding enough to finally let the Pack savor a big time win in a game they'd dominated at one point. Costner's 23 points led the team.
This was just what the doctor ordered heading into the second Georgia Tech game of the year. Win that one, and who knows. We've seen State get hot at times under coach Lowe. A repeat of the 2006-07 late February/early March would be a welcome site for thousands of sore eyes.