When he crossed the Kohl Center Court on Tuesday night, he quickly shot his suit and tie for a more…
When he crossed the Kohl Center Court on Tuesday night, he quickly shot his suit and tie for a more comfortable red Wolfpack warming, not known Kevin Keatts, or saw that part of a losing contemptive coach.
The pack had just been won 79-75 by Wisconsin Badgers in ACC / Big Ten Challenge, in a game where N.C. State led for almost 32 minutes at all. Always losing stitches, especially when a shot here or a questionable charging call could have been the difference. Then it was Tuesday.
But Keatts was relatively optimistic. Disappointed to lose, sure but optimistic as he thought of the games that would come and what could be this season.
“I’m proud of these guys,” he said. “You know when you take so many new guys and put them in an environment like this, the first real way to respond as they did …
“If the ball bounces in another way or we come to the free throw line a bit more could have been another result. But I have to be proud of these guys. They fought. I thought their energy was amazing. It was a good environment and I thought our guys did a good job. “
The pack’s first five wins this season, all at the PNC Arena, was 40 minutes win for Keatts and the players. Mount St. Marys scored 50 points or UNC Asheville at 51 did little to stress them.
Only Mercer did the last Saturday. The packet had a 21-point second semiconductor meltdown to two before Eric Lockett attracted a 78-74 victory on the line to improve the state record to 6-0.
Comes into Kohl Center to meet Badgers , before a crowd of 17,000, was the kind of game that could test the true team of the team. The Badgers ranked 22nd nationally and led by 6-10 exam centers Ethan Happ, a pioneer of AP All-America.
In 2010, Wolfpack came to Madison for the Challenge game and left with a humiliating 87-48 loss for Badgers. Sidney Lowe was Pack Trainer and Bo Ryan on the Wisconsin bench that season.
But this time Packet came to play. Wolfpack, well prepared, hit Badgers p boards. The players fought for loose balls. They kept their poise when conversation did not go when Badgers beat down the long distance 3 pointers – Wisconsin was 11-of-21 from the 3-point line – to educate the audience.
Badgers had 20 free throws for the eight of the pack. The N.C. was required for 24 personal mistakes and Wisconsin 12 in a game where both teams were aggressive against the defense. And almost won.
“I think we showed we can compete with someone in the country,” says Packs C.J. Bryce. “I definitely think we are a top 25 team.”
It remains to be seen but the pack has some ingredients that can make it difficult every time.
Mark Johnson has quickly become a very dangerous guard with elite speed and an improved shot. Torin Dorn played like a man on Tuesday, goes hard to the boards and ends with 11 rebounds. Bryce hit a few points with 18 points.
Wisconsin Ethan Happ Center is fouled by North Carolina State’s Braxton Beverly (10) during the second half of a NCAA college baseball game on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, in Madison, Wis. To the left is North Carolina State Wyatt Walker (33).
Andy Manis AP
There are still some things that need to be leveled out. Devon Daniels, the transfer from Utah, sometimes has an overly quick trigger finger and was required for some offensive misconduct that seems to escape this shot. Braxton Beverly, who missed some practice time with a hand injury, does not look quite comfortable with his photography yet.
Packs bigs, Wyatt Walker and Derek Funderburk, are efforts guys but not always effective. Lockett, Blake Harris and Jericole Hellems still discover where they fit best and what their roles can be.
Keatts said Tuesday’s game, in many ways, felt like an ACC road game in February. It required that kind of focus and intensity, and in the end, with the game match, won by the team making the most gigs that made the right decisions.
“We have not drove down. Too many mental errors,” said Dorn.
But Dorn also thought it was the kind of game Packet needed, one to prepare for difficulties to intensify in competition.
“Every game is a fight in ACC,” said Dorn. “Everybody is fighting as you are in and can see which guys will fight and what guys are going to fold, playing in hostile environments, it will help you move forward.”