|Off Reb Rate
NC State overcame the worst half of basketball it has played all season by out-scoring Youngstown State 46-16 over the final 20 minutes; the Pack scored 57 points over the last 27:29. Javi Gonzalez and Ryan Harrow led the team out of the hole with strong play in the second half, while CJ Leslie overcame a horrible start to score 14 points and grab 19 rebounds.
State's second half performance was about as good as it gets at both ends of the floor:
That's the good news.
The final score is not remotely indicative of the struggle NC State faced; it took the team nearly 10 minutes to score five points, by which point Youngstown already had 20. It's becoming a familiar story. They get down a bit, go into total panic mode, and become completely discombobulated at the offensive end. Guys going one-on-one and turning the ball over or forcing up shots that have no chance, snowballing the situation. Leslie got out of control, as is his way. Even Zo Brown got in on the act. When we were down 13-3, Richard Howell decided that was the time to take a three-pointer. It was all very unfortunate.
I hate to say it--I desperately want to be encouraged, to see some sign of progress--but this team is nowhere near NCAA-caliber right now. It's just a mess. After the nice start to the season in Charleston, we've seen red flag after red flag. I hope Tracy Smith's return is enough to change everything for the better. But the more games we play, the less I think he'll be able to put us over the top and into the NCAAs.
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