ACC Basketball

Wolfpack ride out the Hurricanes

If this game taught us anything, it’s that turnovers…they really matter.

With 3:20 left in the game, the Miami Hurricanes had a 53-51 lead over the North Carolina Wolfpack. In reality, they had no business being there, not with the way they were turning the ball over. At that point, the Canes had committed 13 stupid turnovers, leading to 19 Wolfpack points. Yet, here they were, in the lead with the ball.

They got to to this point because they had actually gone nearly eight minutes without a turnover, while N.C. State got sloppy and turned it over three times in three minutes.

So with a one-point lead and the ball, what did Rion Brown do? Yep, he turned it over. Two possessions later, Garrius Adams turned it over. The Wolfpack took advantage and rolled off seven straight points. By the time Miami would score again, they were down 10 with 22 seconds on the clock.

Ball game. Season over.

In the end, Miami would turn it over 15 times to just eight assists, completely mitigating the fact they out rebounded the Wolfpack by six and shot over 60-percent in the second half.

So what did N.C. State do right? Well, they didn’t turn it over (just five times), dishing out 17 assists to their 24 baskets.

Matt Gottfried’s strategy on defense deserves all the credit. He packed his Wolfpack defense in tight, daring Miami to shoot the deep ball. In the first half, the Hurricanes refused to take the bait, instead insisting on driving to the hoop. The problem was, when you have five defenders in the paint, you’re going to run into a lot of traffic and turn the ball over.

In the second half, Miami did take some threes (hitting 3-7), which actually opened things up inside a bit, but in the end, they still found a way to turn it over in crunch time.

T.J. Warren, to the shock of no one, led all scorers with 24, although I felt like Miami did a decent job guarding him (9-18 from the floor). His mid-range runner is just so good, there really is nothing a defender can do. However, Ralston Turner, the transfer from LSU, decided to give Warren a little help, knocking down five three-pointers, finishing with 22 points.

Rion Brown was the only Hurricane to score in double figures with 22 points.

For Miami and head coach Jim Larranaga, he’ll be starting fresh again next year, losing five more seniors this season. On the flip side, N.C. State earned their 20th victory and will get to face off with Syracuse Friday night. However, while 20 wins is nice, especially with this young group, if the Wolfpack want an invite to the NCAA Tournament, they are going to need to win the ACC tournament.

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