Something was off in the 73-56 loss to the Tigers. It cost the Wolfpack their 10th loss of the season, pushing them to below .500 in ACC play.
"I just think, in general, our team has had a great edge it seems like, every game. We've had that edge to us. It's been a real positive edge, a spirit about us," Gottfried said. "It just kind of seemed like we had cement boots on, couldn't get going."
After trailing by as many as 11 points in the first half, N.C. State closed out the period with a 12-4 run, and took a 33-32 lead into the halftime break.
Clemson started the second half just like it did the first, on a 7-0 run. They never looked back.
"We just never could sustain that. We just didn't seem to have as much in the tank tonight," Gottfried said. "We made a couple of runs at it. I thought our kids played really hard, I thought theirs did, too."
More credit went to Brad Brownell's team.
"Brad's done a great job with this team, terrific job, because I don't want to take anything away from what they did. They played well," Gottfried said. "[Rod] Hall gets 20 and [Damarcus] Harrison gets 14, but I don't think that was the N.C. State team I've been watching the last six or seven games. I thought we were a step slow tonight."
The Tigers ran away in the second half, despite Gottfried's efforts to bring his team back within striking distance. He stomped. He screamed.
But it wasn't enough.
"Just trying to get our team going, just never really seemed to get going," Gottfried said. With the loss, the Wolfpack fell to 16-10 [6-7 ACC].
Time to restTyler Lewis has a firm grip on the pulse of his team. After three games in seven days, he said they're in need of some respite. They'll get that after they get back home to Raleigh.
"We have a day off [Wednesday]," he said. "Everybody needs to take that day to get rejuvenated, to get some treatment with the doctor, team trainer -- get whatever is nagging, get that helped out and just get refocused for Virginia Tech on Saturday."
After Saturday's trip to Blacksburg on Saturday, the Wolfpack will turn around for a home game against North Carolina on Wednesday. On Saturday, they'll host Miami.
"We know we have to win from here on out," Lewis said.
Tough place to playDespite being known as a football school, the folks down in Clemson take pride in making life difficult for opponents in Littlejohn Coliseum.
Lewis, who scored four points and handed out four assists on Tuesday night, now has two games in Clemson under his belt.
"Just the two times I've played in here, it's been difficult to win down here," he said. "I feel like Clemson always has a very good team, very well-coached. They have some good athletes on their team."
The Wolfpack were held to 56 points on 46 percent shooting from the field and a 36 percent clip from behind the 3-point line. It was just the third-time in ACC play that N.C. State was held under 60 points.
"They're able to take you out of your offense a little bit and do things you just do want to do out there on the court," Lewis said.