Every so often, we feel sorry for State fans. It's impossible not to, particularly after days like Saturday.
|Sunday's ACC Action|
|Pitt @ Wake Forest||6:30||ESPNU|
State has really surged lately. The Pack has recent wins over Top Twenty teams Louisville and UNC.
State was also competitive with Notre Dame (losing in overtime) and Virginia (losing just 51-47).
Yet a lot of that good work is sacrificed with losses to Wake Forest and, on Saturday, B.C.
Boston College had lost nine straight games. The Eagles only other ACC win was over hapless Georgia Tech by (naturally, given Tech's season) two points.
Other than a double-overtime loss to Miami, BC, which does fight and has competed, has rarely lost by less than double figures.
So how did this team have a 23 point lead on the Pack - when the students and band were all on their way to spring break?
Simple, according to Mark Gottfried: "We had no zip, no energy. We were dead."
That tends to make life tougher.
State just basically tossed it away and certainly did damage to its NCAA hopes. It's inexplicable. But that's State.
At least Mark Gottfried has a core he can work with, which really hasn't been the case since he got to Raleigh. Almost every year has seen NBA departures or transfers. He's really done a remarkable job in many respects and he loses just Ralston Turner and Desmond Lee from this group, assuming no early departures.
Next year he should have just one senior of note, Trevor Lacey, four juniors and four sophomores.
No matter what happens this year, State should be better next season.
Of course we've heard that before.
For BC, with nine seniors, it's a much longer road.
Unlike State, UNC came to play Saturday, beating Miami on the road, 73-64.
Brice Johnson, who has had trouble with consistency, was excellent, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 boards.
Angel Rodriguez only played three minutes due to a wrist injury and Sheldon McClellan had foul trouble. Big man Tonye Jekiri had just seven rebounds and none in the second half.
Miami's made a nice recovery from last year's low, but a bid is going to be a stretch at this point.
We watched the first half of the Clemson-Tech game and were amazed to see that the Yellowjackets scored their first basket at the 6:05 mark. This came after 14 missed shots and six turnovers.
So pushing the game into overtime was a minor miracle.
Unfortunately, Georgia Tech then returned to form, giving up the first eight in overtime before losing by seven.
Tech thus falls to 12-17. It must be incredibly frustrating not to be able to finish out games.
Marcus Georges-Hunt finished with 20 points, nine boards and six assists for Tech; Jaron Blossomgame continues to blossom for Clemson, with 19 points and nine boards of his own.
Virginia Tech continues to surprise and impress: we figured that on Senior Day, UVA would kill the Hokies.
Not quite. Virginia Tech was within four at the half and kept fighting.
Virginia won 69-57 and was clearly the better team, but the Hokies made them earn it.
Darion Atkins hung on the rim deliberately in the second half, drawing a technical, then said this after the game: "We don’t like Tech and I was glad I got a tech. It was a spicy ending. You can quote me on that...I couldn’t ask for a better ending."
As we expected, Louisville responded to crisis with alacrity, beating the mess out of Florida State, 81-59.
FSU coughed it up 21 times and Louisville converted those turnovers to 32 points. What else do you need?
Well, holding FSU to 39.6% helped too, and Florida State shot just 62.5% from the line. Those shots might have helped.
Giving up 32 points on errors is pretty much fatal though no matter how you cut it.
Montrezl Harrell shot 80% against Florida State's massive inside.
And despite his astonishing outburst against Miami - 30 points in the final 4:38 - Xavier Rathan-Mayes managed just 5-16 for 12 points.