Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NC State 83, LSU 72: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Barclays Center as seen from the press box as LSU faced NC State in Legends Classic consolation matchup. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Brooklyn, NY -­ NC State 83, LSU 72 (overtime)

The consolation game of the Legends Classic gave us an interesting matchup. LSU and NC State. Both teams trying to shake off the ill effects of a tough loss 24 hours early. Both dearly wanting to exit the Barclays Center floor with third place and a split in the tournament.

The first four: After a first half ending in a 33-­31 NC State lead, the Wolfpack came out and ‘won’ the first four minutes after halftime in convincing fashion. A 12­-5 spurt boosted the lead to nine points. Similar to last night, many of LSU’s ‘sins’ resurfaced. The Wolfpack attacked the basket, penetrating and breaking down the Tiger defense.

Another similarity to last night also surfaced. LSU showed resiliency. They gradually battled back and, on this evening, took a lead into the stretch before the game went to overtime.

Ben Simmons, such an important cog of the LSU offense, fouled out with 4:06 remaining in overtime. The Tigers soon stagnated on offense, carrying over to a poor showing on the defensive end as the Wolfpack went on a spurt in the final minutes to seal it. The numbers of note:

Possessions: LSU 82, NC State 80
Offensive Efficiency: LSU 88, NC State 104

Four Factors
eFG%: LSU 44, NC State 44
Free Throw Rate: LSU 13, NC State 43
Offensive Rebound %: LSU 24, NC State 36
Turnover Rate: LSU 15 , NC State 18

Leading Scorers and Efficiency Factors
LSU: Tim Quarterman 19 points, EF 29
NC State: Cat Barber 20 points, EF 34

Didn’t score much, but had a huge effect: Ben Simmons shot 1-of-6 for four points. The outstanding LSU freshman stuffed the stat sheet with a game-high 14 rebounds, 10 assists, three blocks and three steals. His efficiency factor was an outstanding 34 with an .850 per minute figure, and zero turnovers in 40-plus minutes.

The difference: NC State showed the ability to get to the rim and draw the fouls. Rebounding, which LSU coach Johnny Jones spoke of, was a significant difference. NC State had the offensive rebound percentage advantage and led 54­-41 in ‘raw’ rebounding totals.

Final Thoughts
NC State coach Mark Gottfried:
“Proud of my team, we bounced back. We got out late last night. By the time we got something to eat and settle down, it was 1:30 a.m. A short turnaround, but we got back nicely.”

“We were willing to eliminate his (Simmons) driving lanes a few times they kicked it out and hit threes, but it is 'pick your poison.' I thought our guys collectively did a nice defensive job (on Simmons).”

“We came together as a team a little bit more. We want to win naturally, but it is important we learn to play and get better.”

“He has just been phenomenal.” -­ Gottfried on Anthony "Cat" Barber

LSU coach Johnny Jones:
“We knew coming in both teams would be aggressive to bounce back. It was a hard-fought battle. We fought back from a big deficit to get the lead, but did not play sound defense in the stretch. Credit NC State, they made some big plays in overtime.”

“This tournament, with quality teams, lets us know what we have to work on. These setbacks are something we have to look at to get better.”

“He can impact a game without taking a shot. He will not score every night, but in this game, he really put his teammates in a great position.” - Jones on Ben Simmons

“As a team, we have to work more defensively. We can get better, and we did not rebound well tonight.” LSU coach Johnny Jones

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