The Jackets headed to Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday Feb. 26 to face the N.C. State Wolfpack to begin the first of the final three ACC games left in the season. It was the only meeting between these two teams during the regular season, and the Wolfpack came out on top, 79-74.
The Jackets opened up play with a 5-0 lead before the Wolfpack rallied to tie the game at 8-8. Tech would regain the lead only once at 10-8 during the first half before the Wolfpack regained control with a three pointer from Lorenzo Brown. Though N.C. State managed to lead Tech by up to 11 points during the first half, the Jackets were able to fight back to trail the Wolfpack by only six before halftime, 39-33.
The second half did not show great improvement for the Jackets in shooting percentages.
Three-point percentage dropped by half, and two point percentage diminished from 56 percent to 40.6 percent. The Jackets did manage to improve their perimeter defense in the second 20 minutes, as the Wolfpack only shot 20 percent from beyond the arc.
Tech opened up the second half with a 15-10 run that spanned five minutes and gave them a one-point lead. N.C. State immediately retook the lead with a dunk by Jordan Vanderberg.
The last two and half minutes of the game was back-and-forth between the two teams.
The Jackets’ greatest deficit was just five points in the last few minutes. Still, the team was unable to come within less than three points. Two final free throw shots in the last ten seconds sealed the game for the Wolfpack.
Not only was the score between the two close, they were nearly identical in several statistical categories. Both teams had similar rebounding numbers, but Tech was able to out-rebound the Wolfpack 33 to 31 thanks in large part to the presence of redshirt freshman center Daniel Miller inside the paint.
The story of the game was the disparity in fouls and turnovers. Tech committed 20 fouls in the game compared to 13 by N.C. State, and this gave the Wolfpack plenty of oppurtunities to score from the charity stripe.
As good as Miller was on the glass, he had a hard time hanging onto the ball as he and sophomore guard Glen Rice Jr. combined for half of Tech’s 14 turnovers. N.C. State was sometimes careless with the ball as well, committing 10 turnovers. Still, by forcing four more than the Jackets committed, the Wolfpack walked away with a four-point win.
Junior guard Iman Shumpert played a large part in Tech’s efforts in the game. Shumpert led the team in both points and rebounds, finishing with 21 and eight, respectively. Shumpert also showed great defensive ability in the game by making three steals, the most of any Jacket in the game.
This loss made the Jackets 0-10 on the road this year going into their next game at Wake Forest, which was played prior to the time of print.