Maybe I should take off for Atlanta more often. Or maybe State needs to face more ranked conference opponents.
After all, State's three conference wins this season have all come against teams ranked in the top 25 at the time. Perhaps Sid can slip a few greenbacks to the guys in the producer truck next game to slap up a faux number beside our opponent's name. Maybe that'll fire the guys up.
In a game that looked to be unfolding too similar to the Maryland game for anyone's taste (another 10-point lead at the half), State did what it could not do the game prior and closed the deal this time.
C.J. Williams played out of his mind Saturday, pouring in timely threes but also contributing with some key blocks on the defensive end, including a nice stuff against three-inch-taller Al Faruq Aminu.
Farnold Degand chipped in with two monster threes right when Wake was making their push.
Wake had cut it to seven with 6:21 to go on a L.D. Williams free throw but missed the second, and after snagging the miss, Dennis Horner found Degand for a look at the top of the key that Farnold drained. Following the aforementioned block on Aminu, C.J. found Javier Gonzalez for a three to push the lead to 13. Wake scored on the following possession, but Farnold dropped the second dagger in response to score points 55, 56 and 57, all State would need for the night.
It's tough to look past the rebounding numbers and not see all the warts...at one point in the game, the Deacs had more offensive rebounds than State had total.
But maybe Sidney's right...it really is simple when guys actually make their open shots. The Pack hit five of their seven three-point attempts in the second half and shot 52% overall in the back frame when it mattered. This, against a good defensive team in Wake that typically makes it tough on perimeter shooters.
Ironically, Wake Forest didn't hit a single three, just 10 days after State pulled off the same dubious feat against Virginia Tech.
It wasn't all shooting, though. State turned the Deacs over a ton, too. While Wake got back a lot of their misses, they still had a great deal of empty possessions. Wake turned the ball over 15 times in the first half alone, and finished the game with 23 to State's 15.
Another solid win to go along with a fistful of tough losses in a baffling season thus far. The good news? With games against Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech, State still has a decent chance to make a play for the NIT, which--had you offered it last week--most State fans would've leapt at.