Obviously, we're disappointed, and this is one for us that we've got to quickly kind of erase from our memory. But I thought Duke was terrific today. They played sensational in the first half. They moved the ball quick. They were quicker than we were. We had a hard time defending them, and it was just one of those days where they had everything going, and we struggled to get something going.
So I was proud of the fact that our guys kept battling. They battled all the way to the end. Obviously we were down in a giant hole, and. But you've got to give Duke credit. They're the story today. Wasn't us. We obviously didn't play very well, but they played terrific basketball in the first 20 minutes, just sensational.
Trevor said that what Duke was doing defensively he just at times had no idea what they were doing that he and Cat would give up the ball and he was just kind of baffled. What was it that you guy his so much trouble recognizing what they were doing?
COACH GOTTFRIED: I thought what happened was they played match-up zone and really put a lot of attention on not letting those two guys have a lot of room to operate. I think what happened to our team is we didn't move very well. We didn't move the ball well, and we didn't move our bodies well. We tried to put a square peg in a round hole. We just kept trying to create some things off the dribble with very little ball movement, and I thought that really hurt us.
I thought the second half we started moving the ball, and we got the ball from side-to-side, and all of a sudden things began to open up a little bit. But I thought early in the game, we tried to do too much by ourselves.
Do you have an update on Cat?
COACH GOTTFRIED: No, I really don't. I don't know that there's any determination yet on what his situation is. So I don't know.
Just to follow up on that. Is there any procedural stuff that you guys have done or plan whether it's concussion protocol or even going to a hospital or doctor?
COACH GOTTFRIED: No, he's in the locker room with our doctors, and, again, I don't think anything has been determined yet. I don't know. If it has, they haven't told me. Our medical staff is with him. Obviously, the number one priority is to make sure he's okay. That is the first and most important thing right now with Cat.
Coach "K" just said that he thought that your team might have been fatigued after playing a tough game last night. Do you think that played a factor this evening?
COACH GOTTFRIED: Oh, I don't know. We looked tired, but I think in a tournament setting you've got to be ready to play and bounce back after a tough game. That's the advantage of finishing in the Top 5 seeds. You don't have to play the first night. You get to rest. But we did look a step slow, there is no question about it, and they looked a lot quicker early on.
With Cat, did you think he was banged up from last night with his back or anything else?
COACH GOTTFRIED: Not necessarily. Before? Yeah, not necessarily. He was a little sore today at our walk through, but he wanted to play. There wasn't any part of that that would have led anybody to believe that he wouldn't play today. That's just part of the normal bumps and bruises of a game, so, no.
Ralston, a couple times this year Duke lost at Notre Dame and blew them out in the first half at Cameron. Wake Forest gave them the game at Winston-Salem. You guys beat Duke. Did you see it coming? Were you aware of any of what they'd done? Did you know about any of that?
RALSTON TURNER: If you asked anybody on our team, they would tell you they knew they'd be ready for us. If they would have beaten us, we'd be ready for them. That's just how it goes. But you know, even though, you have to give them credit because they played great. They came out really good. They came out crisp. We couldn't get stops, so I think that was the game.
Your assessment of N.C. State's tournament credentials?
COACH GOTTFRIED: I'm not on the committee, but I think we've certainly earned the right to be in the tournament. We'll find out on Sunday like everybody else. But I think that we've proven that we're one of the teams in the at-large pool that needs to play. I think we've done enough, but we'll see.
Can you walk us through what the protocol is in the event that maybe Cat did suffer a concussion in terms of just a time line of what it would take for him to play next week or Thursday?
COACH GOTTFRIED: Well, the good news is we have basically a week before you play, and maybe a week and a day, I guess, if you played on Friday. So I don't know all the exact steps with him. I do know that our medical staff will do everything that they're supposed to do.
Like I said earlier, the number one thing that we're going to do is look out for his safety and well being, and so hopefully in a day or two he's good. If not, we'll learn that as we go. We'll just wait and see. I don't know the answer to those questions as I sit here tonight.
When you played them the first time, you basically doubled their points in the paint. Tonight kind of the reverse. Two-part question. First, what were some of your issues in terms of establishing your offense in the paint, and then what were some of your defensive issues that allowed them to be so successful in the paint?
COACH GOTTFRIED: I think offensively it starts with our lack of ball movement. We didn't move the ball very well. I thought we were really easy to guard. We didn't move the ball and get it from side-to-side.
So that hurt us some, and we didn't get the ball around the basket. We just tried to do too many things one-on-one.
Second part of your question, I thought with Okafor, he demands a lot of attention. We doubled down on him a couple times. He got the ball out of the double teams. They made pretty much every shot. As they got the ball out of the double teams and moved it once or twice, and it's kind of a pick your poison sometimes with him. You can play him one-on-one in the post and latch on to shooters, and he's tough to guard that way too. So they were on top of their game today.
The first half they were on top of it. They played-- like I said, they were sensational early.
Ralston, your season has had its ebbs and flows. Do you think you have what it takes to drop this and get geeked up for the NCAAs, assuming you make it?
RALSTON TURNER: I think so. We've been in this situation before this year, and I'd like to say that we've learned our lesson and learned how to let things go. So I know I'm going to let it go, and I'm pretty sure everybody else is with me too.
COACH GOTTFRIED: One thing too, just to remind you on that, I told our team this, hopefully we get in the tournament. So I'm not one to assume anything. But if I got this right, I think I am, I think UCONN lost last year in their conference tournament by 40, 40. They came back and won six straight games.
So we're going to let it go. Obviously we're disappointed, but, if, in fact we're chosen to play in the greatest show on earth, we're going to be excited about playing and we'll move on from here today.