N.C. State's Ball-handling Struggles Aid Terps
One unforeseen variable last night was the Wolfpack’s propensity to turn the ball over. In recent weeks, N.C. State’s coaching staff praised the development of the team’s ball-handling ability.
But last night, the Wolfpack’s decision-making was poor and its capacity to withstand Maryland’s intense pressure was low. N.C. State committed 16 turnovers on the night. Eight of the nine Terrapins who entered the game recorded at least one steal.
With 4:01 remaining in the game and Maryland ahead by five, sophomore guard Cliff Tucker and junior guard Eric Hayes hasseled N.C. State guard Courtney Fells into a turnover near the Wolfpack bench. Hayes knocked the ball loose and then Tucker got to it before N.C. State forward Brandon Costner, who also made a play for the ball.
"When you're a guard in that situation, you have an advantage because you're quicker," Gary Williams said. "You're just quicker to the ball. And it's not a jump ball situation. That ball was pretty low when they went for it. That was a big play."
Moments later, Vasquez found sophomore forward Dino Gregory underneath the basket at the other end of the court for an easy bucket. The Terrapins lead grew to seven at that point, and appeared in prime position to hold on for the much-needed win.
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