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December 2, 2010

Quick hits from NC State's loss to Wisconsin

Quick hits and notes from NC State's embarrassing 87-48 loss in front of 17,230 fans at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., Wednesday night.

Play of the game

Believe it or not but the game was somewhat competitive early in the first half. NC State trailed only 22-17 with 9:09 left before halftime and was down 29-21 with 6:36 on the clock when sophomore power forward Richard Howell fouled Wisconsin senior forward Jon Leuer. Leuer made both free throws to give Wisconsin a 31-21 lead.

On the next possession, Wisconsin junior guard Jordan Taylor stole the ball from NC State sophomore center DeShawn Painter. On the other end, Badger senior guard Wquinton Smith missed a three, but the offensive board was fielded by senior forward Keaton Nankivil, and the ball was eventually worked over to an open sophomore wing Mike Bruesewitz for a three-pointer. That gave the Badgers a 34-21 lead, and those five points sparked what would be a 23-0 run that would extend into the second half.

Highlight of the game

NC State trailed 19-11 when senior guard Javier Gonzalez whipped a behind the back pass to freshman forward C.J. Leslie in the paint. Leslie then made an over the shoulder pass to Howell underneath the basket. Howell made the lay-up, was fouled and connected on the free throw for a three-point play.

Player of the game

Leuer was sensational for Wisconsin Wednesday night. He connected on 7 of 11 field goals, including a 1 of 2 three-pointers, and 7 of 8 free throws for a game-high 22 points. He also added game-highs 11 rebounds and two blocks to go with two steals and two assists in just 27 minutes.

Honorable mention goes to Wisconsin junior guard Jordan Taylor, who was pretty darn good in his own right. He made 8 of 12 shots, 2 of 3 three-pointers, and 3 of 4 free throws for 21 points to go with a co-team high three assists and just one turnover in 29 minutes.

Yes, it was that bad

No way to get around how bad the game was Tuesday. It was NC State's worst loss since being trounced by Maryland 94-48 Jan. 10, 1999. The 48 points were the fewest in a game for NC State since they lost 45-42 at Iowa Nov. 30, 2005, also as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

According to our unofficial search of the record book, the last time NC State lost a non-conference game by at least 39 points was in the pre-Everett Case era. State lost by 39 to a team called "NC Pre-Flight" during the 1943-44 season. Earlier that year they also lost to Cherry Point, a marine base near Jacksonville, N.C., by 42, the last time State may have had a worse non-conference defeat than Wednesday night.

Ugly stats

The domination of Wisconsin is spelled out in the stats. Wisconsin shot 50.0 percent compared to just 31.6 percent for NC State. The Badgers made 11 of 20 three-pointers while the Pack was just 4 of 13 from long range.

Wisconsin out-rebounded NC State 41-30, and amazingly they had a 14-13 edge on the offensive glass despite the fact that they missed 11 fewer shots than the Pack. The Badgers turned it over only six times compared to 13 for NC State.

NC State had two players, Howell and sophomore center Jordan Vandenberg, foul out, and a third, Painter, finished the game with four fouls. Wisconsin attempted twice as many free throws as NC State, connecting on 20 of 26 attempts while State was 8 of 13 at the line.

Any positives?

Sophomore wing Scott Wood played a good game for NC State. He made 5 of 10 shots, including 3 of 6 three-pointers, and he finished with a team-high 13 points.

Wood continues to shoot well, now having made 17 of 40 three-point attempts this season for 42.5 percent. He has also scored in double figures in five of the first six games.

What the loss means

NC State falls to 4-2 on the year and faces a stiff challenge Saturday at Syracuse. Wisconsin improves to 5-2. This was only the second meeting ever between the two teams. Wisconsin won 65-56 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2005.

The Pack is now 5-6 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and is just 1-5 on the road. State is 1-3 in the challenge under head coach Sidney Lowe, and they have lost three in a row by an average margin of 24.6 points per game.

Wisconsin improves to 6-6 all-time in the event and is on a three-game winning streak in the challenge. They are also on a six-game winning streak against ACC opponents overall.

NC State is now 36-20 all-time against teams from the Big Ten. They are not scheduled to play another squad from that conference this season.

Other stats of note

- Wisconsin had a 18-9 edge in points off turnovers and 19-10 advantage in second-chance points.
- NC State outscored Wisconsin 26-22 in the paint.
- Neither team was in transition much. The Pack had a slight 4-2 edge in fast break points.
- Wisconsin's bench outscored NC State's reserves 25-19.

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