by Bob Geary
"Guts." That was Sidney Lowe's summary of why N.C. State knocked off Clemson, 59-57, in the first round of the ACC tournament. In a very physical game in which the refs' calls were few and random, the Pack was stronger physically and mentally.
Interesting that Lowe brought Tracy Smith and Farnold Degand to the media room. (I'm listening on the radio after seeing the game on TV.) Smith played big, as did Richard Howell. Nice game by C.J. Williams too. In fact, nice game by the State guards, who stood up to Clemson's pressure and -- yes, there were turnovers -- they made plays. That's right, the much-maligned State backcourt had an excellent game.
And the best in the backcourt, the MVP of the State win, imho, was Degand, who played great defense all night, scored nine points, and handled the ball against pressure with zero turnovers and high energy, so that Clemson paid a price for pressing. Lowe shuffled his other guards all night. I don't see a boxscore yet, but I believe Degand played the most minutes of anyone.
Dennis Horner was the star on Senior Day against Boston College. But the other senior, Farnold Degand, was the star tonight. Nice to see. Degand has been through a lot over his four years here -- a sit-out year, out with an injury the second year, out of control as a point guard his third year, and this year finding a role as a two guard where his speed has been a big asset offensively and defensively. I remember Degand from media day at the start of the season. Friendly, smart. Glad to see him finishing the season strong.