Michigan Narrowly Squeezes by Wolfpack, 79-72


North Carolina State is enjoying a season of very good coverage and success for the first time in the past several seasons. Mark Gottfried and the #18 Wolfpack traveled to Michigan to take on the #3 Wolverines for the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge where the Wolfpack has lost their last four games against the Big Ten in the challenge. 

November 27, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Jordan Morgan (52) dunks the ball on North Carolina State Wolfpack forward C.J. Leslie (5) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Wolfpack Starters: CJ Leslie, TJ Warren, Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown, and Scott Wood. Wolverine Starters: Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Morgan, Glenn Robinson III, Matt Vogrich, and Trey Burke.

Michigan won the tipoff but the dominance was with NC State as they dominated the first five minutes of the game. Their physical defensive presence took some time for the Wolverines to adjust but with 15:18 left in the first half, Michigan woke up and began to roll taking their first lead of the game, 9-8.

The home field advantage showed to help Michigan as the fans made it impossible for State to focus. Michigan would roll on and play some of the best basketball all season long forcing Gottfried to take a time out with 8:34 remaining in the half. It was 27-16 Michigan and NC State just could not defend the Wolverines.

The Wolfpack made a late first half surge, coming as close as 5 points to the Wolverines before the end of the half. However, Michigan would not take long to make the appropriate adjustments and would fight off the Wolfpack and head into the locker room at the end of the half with a 43-36 lead. NCSU’s Rodney Purvis would be shut out in the first half.

NC State would begin the second half with the ball and stay close to Michigan with a lot of back and forth inside the paint action, however, Michigan would hold onto the edge. They would extend their lead to 12 points in the first 5 minutes in the second half. The Wolfpack defense struggled to find any way to stop Michigan’s offense led by Hardaway and Burke. Foul troubles would not help them out either.

Gottfried would call another timeout to try and calm his team down with 59-46 point deficit. Lack of communication was a key for their lack of defense, and something that ESPN pointed out was an obvious reason Michigan was able to make such easy shots.

With a little over 10 minutes left in the game, NCSU would find a way to defend better and keep themselves within reasonable distance of the Wolverines.

The second half was a heavily contested battle and it seemed Michigan while playing hard, would still get away with some very questionable fouls. With 7:20 left in the game, the struggles would continue for State, who trailed 71-56. It’s obvious not to now only fans, but everyone that watched the game that the Wolfpack’s issues are clearly being able to defend the offense. Offense would not be much of an issue for State as they shot over 50% as well as Michigan.

With 5:57 remaining, trailing 71-58, Richard Howell would foul out of the game with 12 points, which did not help matter for State as he played the best ball for the Wolfpack up to that point in  the game. State would charge back to within 9 before Michigan would take a time out to stop their run with 4:24 remaining.

Under five minutes left, Gottfried’s Wolfpack decide to show up and would go on a run that would put them within 7 with 3:17 left. Michigan at this point had not had a field goal in four minutes.

10-0 run in 3:20 with over 2 minutes remaining would be a key factor for State in getting themselves back in contention. It would not be enough as a late offensive foul by Leslie would cost State a chance to come within three points and the #3 Wolverines would go on to win the game 79-72.

Key Factors of the Game:

  • Trey Burke
  • NCSU’s Lack of Communication & Defense
  • Questionable Officiating

Box Score:

#18 NC State363672
#3 Michigan433679