ETHAN HYMAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Horner picked a fine time to get bloody and go off on a team.
After a nasty spill that required stitches above his right eye, Horner came back in the second half to lead State on a 19-5 charge that sealed State's third win in four games.
He finished with 14 points, most of them coming in a flurry at the end on old-fashioned three-point plays and huge long-range shots.
He had the second-highest +/- ratio at 13, second to CJ freaking Williams' 22. When you add in the 10 points scored against the Pack when CJ was off the court, his Roland Rating was an astounding 32. In fact, State didn't score a single point in the five minutes CJ was on the bench. His play down the stretch has been huge and frankly a bit unexpected. It's seems we've been waiting all year for the promise we saw in him last season to bloom into what we've seen the last two weeks.
Farnold Degand didn't have as memorable a senior game as Horner; in fact it was rather forgettable: In 15 minutes, he logged just one point, one assist, one rebound, one steal and a couple of fouls. Still, I'm sure it was sweet for the senior who transferred here from Iowa State to get a win in his final home game as a Wolfpack player.
As for the women, they started the ACC Championship game strong. They built a seven point lead against Duke at one point, but Duke cranked up their press and forced the Pack into what felt like a baker's dozen straight turnovers. Once the Blue Devils took the lead, they did so for good. The Pack would rally twice to cut it to single digits, but could never get even.
As we've seen from State teams that have made it to the ACC title game recently, usually having played four games in four days, there just wasn't enough left in the tank to make a big enough push against a fresher, not to mention bigger and more athletic, Duke team.
That's not to say they phoned it in. The Pack fought to the bitter end, a quality I think we'll see from here on out from the teams of first-year coach Kellie Harper. Lee, get that checkbook and fancy pen ready...we need to lock up Harper for the long haul.
All in all, not a bad Sunday. The Pack men will now face Clemson Thursday night at 9:00 in a rematch of State's almost-win-but-still-a-73-30-loss at the RBC Center earlier this year.