RALEIGH, N.C. – With Jace Hogan, Devin Harris, Antwon Clayton, and Aamahne Santos all sitting out due to injuries, underclassmen logged key minutes in Jacksonville's (4-10) game at NC State (10-3) on Friday. Several younger Dolphins shined in big moments, but the veteran presence of NC State played a large role in the Wolfpacks' 116-64 win in PNC Arena.
"We had a couple of goals coming into the game," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "We thought if we could control the tempo of the game and not turn the ball over, then we would be able to come in and compete and make it a ball game late. Unfortunately we weren't able to take care of the ball, though early in the game we did an okay job with what we were trying to do."
The offense seemed to jell better in the second half; Jacksonville had only seven turnovers in the period compared to 12 in the first half and snagged nine offensive boards compared to just four in the first 20 minutes. The Dolphins also scored more effectively with 36 points in the second period as opposed to 28 in the first. That was buoyed largely by the offensive efforts of Damien Sears (10 points, nine rebounds in the second half), JD Notae (13 points, three rebounds, one assist in the second), Radwan Bakkali (all six of his points came in the second) and Tanner Rubio (six points, including 4-4 shooting from the line). But NC State followed up a 9-16 three-point shooting effort in the first with a 10-22 mark in the second, which proved too much for Jacksonville to overcome.
Jacksonville kept pace with the Wolfpack early by shooting the lights out from beyond the arc. Rubio made his first three three-point attempts, and JU shot over 50 percent from deep through the first eight minutes. With 11:41 left in the half, NC State led by six, 21-15, with Rubio leading all scorers with nine points. Turnovers started to plague the Dolphins though, and with that JU's shooting began to come down to Earth. At the end of the first half, JU trailed 60-28. Rubio had 12 first-half points, leading all scorers, and Notae had six points, three assists, a steal, and a rebound.
- Sears secured his first double-double largely on a herculean effort in the second half. The redshirt freshman had 10 pts and nine rebounds in the final 20 minutes.
- Notae was the leading scorer for Jacksonville with 19 points, four rebounds, four assists, and a steal. He also played heavy minutes; his 37 minutes on the floor were 10 minutes more than any other Dolphin.
- Rubio has come alive from three; the sophomore had his best shooting performance (4-9 from three) since hitting three of six attempts in Jacksonville's 92-84 win over Fairfield on Nov. 24. His 18 points are a season high.