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Wolfpack falls at FSU, 71-67

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Florida State handed N.C. State a ticket for a bye in the ACC tournament and then the Seminoles took it away.

Freshman guard Devon Bookert scored eight of his 18 points in the final 3 minutes to carry Florida State to a 71-67 home win over the Wolfpack on Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla.

N.C. State (22-9, 11-7 ACC) only needed a win to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament and avoid having to play on Thursday. The Wolfpack beat FSU by 18 points in Raleigh two and half weeks ago and led by as many as eight points in the second half on Saturday.

It was FSU's home win over Virginia on Thursday which put the Wolfpack in control of its ACC tournament seed. After Saturday's loss, the Pack is back to being a helpless spectator.

If Virginia, 10-7 in the ACC, beats Maryland (8-9 ACC) at home on Sunday, the Cavaliers will be the No. 4 seed and N.C. State will be the fifth seed. If Maryland beats Virginia, which is 8-0 at home in ACC play, N.C. State will get Thursday off.

Virginia, by virtue of its 58-55 home win over N.C. State on Jan. 29, owns the tiebreaker over the Wolfpack.

"We're probably going to have to play on Thursday," a dejected Mark Gottfried said in his post-game radio interview. "We get that."

N.C. State had multiple chances in the final 2 minutes to escape Tallahassee with a win but couldn't convert. Junior forward C.J. Leslie, who spent most of the game in foul trouble, turned the ball over twice in the final 63 seconds with the Pack trailing by two points (65-63).

Leslie, who finished with five points in 18 minutes, also went 1 of 4 from the free-throw line in the final minutes.

Leslie traveled with 1:03 left in the game and then lost then ball out of bounds with 34.6 seconds left after a T.J. Warren steal started a fastbreak.

After Leslie's second turnover, Michael Snaer broke loose on the fullcourt inbounds play for a dunk and a 67-63 lead with 33.1 seconds left.

Senior forward Richard Howell gave the Pack one last hope with a three-point play with 21.4 seconds left to cut FSU's lead to 67-66 but Aaron Thomas made one of his free throws and Okaro White tipped back the miss on the second free throw to keep the ball in FSU's possession.

Bookert was fouled with 13.1 seconds left and he iced the game with a pair of free throws.

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Pathetic

Another season of "What could have been". CJ was sleep-walking for most of the game, but really blew it with less than 2 minutes to go. It's hard being a State football and basketball fan. Year after year, disappointment!
Let's move to a conference where NCSU may be able to achieve or even overachieve.

Two things: Definition and Health

Definition: For those of you not on Twitter, there exist such an appropriately titled Twitter handle called @NCSUshit. The profile aptly describes what all of us NC State fans suffer thru all too regularly. Pathetic play lost this game for NC State. Had a chance to seal a bye AND end up with the 3rd seed in the ACC tournament now that Dook beat the cheats. All they had to do was beat an inferior, at least on paper, FSU team. Nope. The Pack fell right on their face. W-T-F. Ridiculous. This loss is way worse than the one to WF. FSU played physical and got into the already weak psyche of NCSU. Not good. Not good at all. What happened or didn't happen yesterday is precisely why NCSU will be going home early from both the ACC and NCAA tournament.

Health: I'm worried for Mark Gottfried. It was clear yesterday this season has worn heavily on him; it's worn on a lot of us. Not too hard to understand why when there's a team with plenty of talent that insist on playing like they do.

Prove me wrong, Wolfpack.

Also, I've read a few too many comments about this falling on Gott's shoulders. Granted, before the season began, I wrote a post that I was lambasted for that said Gott hasn't really ever overachieved at any of his previous coaching stops and to proceed with caution. However, I don't put what happened yesterday (or rather didn't) on Gott's shoulders. Yes, his job is to motivate and coach. But what can he do when players come out there and play like it's just a relaxed practice?

No crap statement: Everyone knows what made MJ, Bird, Magic, and several others great. The same thing that makes Kobe Bryant great. They all played every game like it was their last time ever on the court, especially when the stakes were high. They played like their lives depended on it. I see a lot of "we'll get'em next time" from this NC State team. This team needs to wake up and realize they're no longer in the next time part of the season. They're in the "see ya next year" part of the season.

OK GO WOLFPACK!

Pretty much nailed it. This

Pretty much nailed it. This squad has been, and will always be, characterized by a lack of ambition and drive. Not to mention a TEAM motivation to win. I have have always marveled at the ability of this team to melt into the floor boards at the slightest sign of adversity. Just making observations and trying to be objective. Gott is the real deal and will do better when he gets his own recruits in his system. Interestingly I think that the fab four on this team will probably do pretty well in the pros. They just do not work well together.

Hey, unc098

How's it going?

I would partially disagree with the characterization that the Pack's "Fab 4" don't work well together. I have seen every game except one and truly believe this team works well together with one exception. There is one player who sometimes plays well with others, but many times does not. When he doesn't, everything goes haywire and I can't help but look to see if Brandon Costner is on the floor.

As you know in business, it just takes one disfunctional employee to put a monkeywrench in the entire operation. Sports teams are no exception to this rule. To paraphrase a well-known truism, "CJ Leslie. Can't live with him, can't live without him."

Regarding the Fab 4's pro prospects, I see it like this:

Brown- NBA starter with All-Pro potential. Lorenzo has barely scratched the surface of what he can be.

Howell- Solid NBA backup and potential starter. Not an All-Pro, but a long and productive career. Every team needs a relentless rebounder.

Wood- Bound for Europe. At best, a spot player for an NBA team, providing instant offense of the bench in limited minutes.

Leslie- Journeyman who never achieves his full potential (See JJ Hickson). A guy who can't maintain intensity and focus in a 30+ game college season will never survive an 82 game plus playoffs NBA season. The enabling will be over and CJ will disappear from the public eye without notice or fanfare.

Agree

And I wil add Hansbrough to your list.

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.
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