NC State Press Conference

DAYTON, OH -- Richard Howell and Scott Wood met with the media following the Pack's loss to Temple in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Mark Gottfried

THE MODERATOR: Right now we're being joined by the head coach of the NC State Wolfpack Mark Gottfried as well as student‑athletes Richard Howell and Scott Wood.
Start with an opening statement by Coach Gottfried. After that, we'll open up the floor for questions for our student‑athletes.
COACH GOTTFRIED: I think we got off to a really poor start. Defensively we weren't very good early, and they were really good early offensively. They made shots. They made a few tough shots. They made some open shots, combination, because they had a great start and we didn't.
First half, we come in there and don't guard them nearly as well as we should. We turned the ball over ten times. They turned just about every turnover into a basket. Then we turn around the second half and shoot nearly 70 percent, or we do shoot 70 percent. They only make eight field goals. We fouled them some late in the shot clock.
We just didn't guard them for 40 minutes. It's real simple. We guarded them for 20. Didn't guard them for the first 20. Tough way to go out.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for our student‑athletes.

Q. Question for both seniors, talk about leaving NC State a better place than you found it and the future of the Wolfpack.
RICHARD HOWELL: Me and Scott are definitely leaving a better place than what we first got to NC State. It's been a great experience, especially these two years with Coach Gottfried and the type of turnaround that we all had.
I know that with the recruits coming in and the players they still have now that they're going to be a dangerous team next year.
SCOTT WOOD: I mean, just like Rich said. We've been here through the ups and the downs. We both came here pretty much the same reason, to put NC State back on the map.
We know it's in good hands with Coach Gottfried, and he's going to do everything he can to make them improve. I like where it's at, and I know Coach Gottfried is going to continue to do a good job with it.

Q. Scott, what was the problem defensively in the first half? You guys ratcheted it up in the second half, but by then it was kind of too late.
SCOTT WOOD: I think we just needed to come out with a little better energy there to start the game. I think communication, we were just kind of lackadaisical, gave them some easy ones. Any time you let someone see a couple go down, they get some confidence.
That's on me as a senior. I've got to do a better job of just getting them to pick it up. There's no reason that it's the NCAA championship and we should come out sluggish.

Q. All year you guys have been kind of taking the criticism of not having the full effort for 40 minutes. Do you think that's a fair criticism, and do you think that played out at all today?
SCOTT WOOD: You can come watch us in practice and tell us if you think the same.

Q. Scott, you've played against a lot of really top‑tier players. What was your take on Khalif Wyatt tonight of Temple?
SCOTT WOOD: He's really crafty. I thought he did a good job tonight of‑‑ even though Lorenzo was on him and we had pretty good help side at times, he was able to draw the foul and get to the line.
Any time you shoot 14 free throws in a game, that's going to help you see the ball go in and give you a little bit of confidence.
He's a good player, and that's what makes them go.

Q. I'd just like to have you comment on the second half, particularly the last three or four minutes when it really looked like maybe you were going to get all the way back, what the feeling was out on the court, and were you surprised you didn't ultimately make the comeback?
SCOTT WOOD: Yeah, I think our team had great confidence. We knocked down a couple of shots, and we were getting stops there for a couple of times.
But like I said, that first half kind of put us in a hole, and it was just too much to come back and try and chip away. We just did a good job of getting stops. Maybe if we'd have started that five minutes into the first half a little bit quicker, we'd have been right there at the end.

Q. Richard, if you could maybe talk about the offensive struggles the first half, what you felt like were the biggest things or what were some things that you felt like Temple did that succeeded?
RICHARD HOWELL: I don't think there's a real surprise. We just didn't play the best basketball we could in the first half. We wasn't knocking down open jump shots. We wasn't defending like we should have.
Everything that could possibly go wrong in the first half, it did, and it definitely bit us in the butt.

Q. Did the preseason expectations of winning the ACC and things like that, did that weigh on you guys at all throughout the season?
RICHARD HOWELL: I wouldn't say it weighed on us, but when you come in the season with a target on your back like we had, people are going to give you their best shot. There were times when we came out and didn't give other teams our best shot. That's something that you have to do when you have a target on your back, especially at the start of the season.

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