N.C. State vs. Flagler

C.J. Leslie

C.J. ("Calvin") Leslie talks to the media after the Flagler win.

There aren’t too many concrete take-aways from a 102-61 beatdown of a team called Flagler, but N.C. State certainly looked good, particularly on offense. Scott Wood – who had 26 points (and made 6-of-8 3’s) – said you shouldn’t expect 102 points every night, though: “We probably shot over 55% from the field. Most nights, it’s probably not going to be that high. We were joking on the court because – I think Semi-Pro is that the movie where it’s corn dogs for everybody.”

(It was indeed “corn dogs, for all these people!” (to be exact) from Will Ferrell’s Semi-Pro. I’ve never seen that movie, but the best quote I could find from it was: “It’s just like the Titanic but it’s full of bears!”)

Mark Gottfried’s up-tempo offense seemed to work well most of the time. There were a few turnovers (14) but the Wolfpack shot nearly 57%,  had 24 assists on 37 field goals and ended up with 31 fast break points. C.J. Williams, coming off a broken hand, played a solid all-around game as did graduate student Alex Johnson and Belgian frosh Thomas de Thaey. Freshman Tyler Harris and junior DeShawn Painter scored 20 of the Wolfpack’s 55 bench points, and Gottfried complimented both of them after the game. “Offensively, (Harris) let the game come to him. He didn’t get in a hurry and try to shoot real quick; he had a little poise. One thing you tell all those guys if you’re not a guy that’s in those top 5-6 guys, take your two minutes and turn two into four, turn four into six, turn six into eight. He helped himself tonight. DeShawn Painter helped himself with solid minutes. That’s what you like to see from guys like that.”

That’s the key for this team. NC State has a talented core but its bench is certainly unproven. If Harris and Painter, who combined for 20 points in 26 minutes on 9-of-11 shooting, can provide reliable support, that would be huge.

Lorenzo Brown looked pretty good in his first game as the Wolfpack’s full-time starting point guard. He had eight assists (with six turnovers) and looked in control more often than not, even at a faster tempo. He and Scott Wood had a nice groove together as well  as Brown assisted on three of Wood’s six three-pointers. C.J. Leslie (just doesn’t feel right to call him Calvin, does it?) had some up and down moments but finished with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting (and 6-of-8 from the foul line, which is encouraging after last year’s 54.2%). The dynamic between Leslie and Gottfried is already fascinating, but it appears for now that he is on board, per Gottfried: “He wants to be good, bottom line. I think that he’s very eager and willing to make changes and play harder and play better and be more responsible. That’s kind of this whole concept with him. I thought tonight he gave great energy. But it’s every player, it’s not just him. We single him out a lot, but we all as a group have to make sure we’re going to play extremely hard every night, whether it’s him – it doesn’t matter who it is – or they won’t play. That’s something he’s learning.”

Here’s what Leslie had to say:

The Wolfpack opens things up with UNC-Asheville Friday night, and it will be a tougher test than many teams will open with but certainly not too much for them to handle. They are much more talented than UNC-Asheville but Sidney Lowe teams have let lesser opponents hang around. This is not a Sidney Lowe team and it’s Mark Gottfried’s first real game as a head coach since January 2009, so it will be interesting to see how the Wolfpack looks against a legit team. I think they’ll win fairly convincingly, and they’ll win even more convincingly on Sunday when they host Morehead State (sans Kenneth Faried).

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