Locker Room Report: Mark Gottfried

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media following the win over Tennessee.

Mark Gottfried

Opening Statement:
I thought that our guys did a lot of things throughout the game that really were important factors. We talked a lot about handling their pressure. They liked to make the game kind of 'Helter Skelter,' and [Tennessee head coach] Donnie [Tyndall] has done a great job with his team in that regard, so I thought we handled the pressure without turning the ball over a lot.

The other part of the game I thought was important was our ability to keep them off the glass. I think, at times, their best offense is a missed shot, and they just miss it, go get it and score it. They've done it against everybody, and they didn't get a whole lot of second chance points tonight. They got a couple late and a couple when we went to our four-guard lineup.

And obviously, Ralston Turner was just absolutely spectacular. I'm proud of Ralston. It's a great two days for Ralston because at 1 o'clock tomorrow, he'll walk through graduation. He gets 33 points tonight and graduates from N.C. State tomorrow, so it's a heck of a two days for that young guy.

Good win for our team.

On Tennessee:
Let me say this. If you go back to about last April when [former Tennessee head coach] Cuonzo [Martin] left and the departure of all those players, Donnie and his staff have kind of hodge-podged this together as best as they could.

I think he's doing an unbelievable job, not just good, but unbelievable. They're playing like us. I mean, we're not a great team, but they've come on the road and played a tough schedule. They're playing the way they have to play to give them a chance to win.

There's no question about it. They're pressing, they're trapping, and they're utilizing Josh Richardson, so I think he's done a phenomenal job in the short amount of time.

On Ralston's Long Three
I thought it was too far, but he was in that groove, and he was hunting that shot. When you've got a good shooter and he gets in that zone, even if he would have missed it, it would have been considered a decent shot for him just because he was in a great zone mentally. Eight threes tonight was still awfully good.

On Abdul-Malik Abu's Performance:
We're getting better. Tonight was a different kind of game because of the way they defended. They zoned for 40 minutes. It was kind of a scramble-zone. They're all over the floor, so sometimes it's difficult for those guys to get as many touches. I think Malik was really good.

I've said this many times, but he's just scratching the surface. He's just beginning. He's like a newborn out there. He's just trying to learn how to walk, and he's just going. I think the more minutes he gets, the more he's going to come along.

On Cat Barber and Desmond Lee:
I'll tell you another thing that was important for us. I thought Cat's second-half play was really good. He ended up with eight assists and one turnover. He found guys, and I thought Desmond was really important tonight. Desmond had some good quality minutes, defensively and offensively, that helped our team too. Those two guys stood out a little bit to me as well.

On Non-Conference Schedule:
They're all important. I've said it many times, but I like playing good teams, and I like playing a hard schedule. Sometimes on game day, my gut doesn't say that. I'm thinking, 'Why did we schedule these guys?' But it's what makes us better.

This Saturday night [at Madison Square Garden], West Virginia will be a great challenge for us, and when we get back, we'll have LA Tech who lost at Syracuse on a last-second shot last season.

Then, Cincinnati is obviously very good, but it's who we like to play. We've got a great schedule, and our next game in New York is going to be a handful for us.

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