Gottfried: "Our Defense Won The Game"

CLEMSON, S.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media after the win over Clemson.

Mark Gottfried

Opening Statement:
We are excited. It is a big game for us, obviously. I thought the biggest thing that stood out to me tonight was how we defended for them for most of the game.

In the last couple of minutes there we gave up some baskets, but outside of that, the majority of the game we really defended well and made it difficult for them to score.

Brad does such a good job with his team defensively, it was hard for us to score. I thought our defense won the game for is tonight.

And then, Ralston got going there in the second half. He made some shots. It loosened everything up for our team. We gained some confidence off of Ralston's shooting. That was really big for us.

From tip to buzzer I liked how we guarded them. I thought we did a really good job.

On difficulty of playing in Littlejohn:
First of all, Brad does a great job. He's got these guys where they are hard to score on. It's just hard. At halftime it was 20-to-21. I felt good. We only had 20 but they only had 21.

It is a tough place to play. Great atmosphere. The fans are great and we've been able to win in here a couple times but it is not easy. It is not easy and I think that's because of the way they play and how they guard you.

On whether he anticipated playing better after the loss to Boston College:
We get home from Boston--it's almost like when you have a big win you want to forget it and it's hard to do. We didn't do a very good job of that. We've got a tough loss and you've just got to forget it. You've just got to get past it.

It's not one of those things for me that I wanted to walk into practice and yell, scream and throw chairs and all that kind of crazy stuff.

We got our legs back underneath us, got our minds right, discarded that game. Let's get back to playing. I thought we came back very focused defensively and really, really defended them well.

It was pivotal game for our club. A nice bounce back after such a disaster the other day.

On holding Clemson scoreless for over nine minutes and 13 minutes without a made field goal (Had his team ever done that before?):
Not very often. I don't know the stats. I don't know that we've done that. We really--usually--are not that great of a defensive team (laughing). This year we are a little better.

Tonight, I just thought we were just locked in. Just really locked in. We locked in on their personnel. We talked a lot in the last couple of days about each particular player and what they do.

Sometimes with players, you're not sure how much of that really registers. I thought in the last couple of days it has sunk in and they did a really good job.

Lennard Freeman just did a great job. Lennard is one of those guys that, he may not fill up a stat sheet for you, but, boy, he does a lot of things that help your team at the right time. He gets a put-back, he switches defensively when it needs to be and just does some really smart things for our team and I thought that was really important.

On NC State's ups and downs:
We are the definition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We are all over the board, but one thing I do like is our that our guys keep coming back. They keep competing.

I think a lot of times we all forget that this is a young group. We lost three starters off a NCAA Tournament team last year.

So this has been a group that's kind of earning and their coming. They've had ups and downs and they've been all over the place. They keep coming back with a great attitude and they keep competing.

Obviously, we've got to do that Saturday. We've got a big game with Syracuse. I like our team, I really do. We've just got to keep getting better.

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