By: Eric Lyons
Six shots-four missed threes in the last position of the game and zero points. When the Orange needed someone to step up with some late-in-the-game heroics all five men on court just looked at each other in bewilderment.
The Wolfpack definitely had home court advantage in the Greensboro Coliseum, but there was a surprising amount of orange in the stands and every once in a while you could make out a "Let's go Orange" chant. Even with the crowd support the Orange came out flat and stayed that way the entire game.
Senior, C.J. Fair shot a dismal 3 of 16 from the field and slump ridden sharp shooter sophomore, Trevor Cooney was 1 of 6. Starting center, junior Rakeem Christmas was limited to 21 minutes of action after receiving three quick fouls and spent most of the game sitting next to assistant coach Jerry McNamara on the bench.
Many were concerned with how the limited seven man rotation would last with the frequency of play during championship week, but the only two Cuse' players who seemed to show for SU's inaugural ACC appearance were freshman guard, Tyler Ennis and sophomore forward Jerami Grant, who both respectively scored 21 and 19 points each.
The Orange had the edge on the boards pulling down 36 rebounds, but noting would fall tonight. Surprisingly, the game was close for all 40 minutes, but the Wolfpack had the edge from start to finish. The Orange offense never gained any momentum and the patented 2-3 Zone was no match for the Wolfpack's play in the paint.
ACC Player of the Year, Ty Warren led the Wolfpack with 28 points and hit two clutch free throws in the last minutes of the game to the seal the third round win for NC State. The Wolfpack will move on to play Duke in third round action at 3 p.m. tomorrow.
The loss definitely knocks the Cuse' out of contention for a 1 or 2 seeding in the big tournament, but the week off might just what Boeheim needs to reenergize his team. If the Orange managed to get past NC State tonight, they would have definitely needed another Tyler Ennis miracle to make it past Duke. Even with the lack of energy and poor performance the one thing Cuse' fans can look forward to is: things can only go up from here.