Gottfried: "We Are Not There Right Now"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media after the loss to Louisville.

"I think my first thought is I am proud of our effort. I am proud of our guys. I think they obviously never quit. They gave themselves a chance. We are a team, I believe, that is not far off. I think we are close but we are not there yet. We are not there right now."

"I think you have got to give Louisville credit. They made every big shot they had to make. It seemed like every time we would make a run or get the momentum  swung, they answered with a tough three or tough two. They made some big shots, so they answered everything. You have to give them credit for that."

"I thought our kids played hard. We are a team that can get better. We are not far off. I like my team. We are going to stay positive and try to improve some things. We have had some key defensive breakdowns in tough times. In the second half we moved the ball much better. The ball moved better, the offensive flowed much better and we shot a better percentage. In the first half, we didn't."

"We still got ourselves in trouble here and there. We have got to be a better foul shooting team. It is one of those that is hard to fix, but we are not far off. We are a good team that just has to find a way to get over the hump a little bit." 

I thought in the second half we were moving the ball better and getting some good shots. We started the half well, then we had a stretch I thought where we had some tough ones. We took a few tough ones."

"We also some good shots that didn't go in. Cat had a drive and missed a it. Malik got it on the block one time, I think, and didn't score. We had some of those too. We went to the foul line during that stretch and missed a few. That is when I thought they really made some big shots. We closed the gap and we are right there and bang, bang. They hit some big ones. That was the difference in their team and ours right now."

"It is tough. In hindsight, I probably would have preferred an open three if you can get one but I thought there was still enough time on the clock that if we score right there, we can cut it to one. They have got to take the ball out. There is still enough time."

"He didn't take a good shot and then the ball clearly -- I watched the tape in our locker room -- the ball clearly went off Cat, so they corrected the call. They got it right. The only tough thing about that is you spend your whole timeout talking about your offense and you have got about three seconds to get your defense set as  it kind of falls. you enter back in but that is just the way it kind of falls. They got it right. Cat was being aggressive so I am not going to take that away from him."

I just thought what happened to us in the first half, we just moved the ball so slowly. Every time we caught it, we held it. It just stuck in our hands. I thought in the second half Cat came off the ball screens and I thought we moved the ball really well. We just zipped it. We started to zip the ball a little better."

"In the first half, we had 29 points and in the second half we had 43-- and we had about a six-minute drought and still had 43 points in the second half. Offensively, the ball seemed to move a lot better. We are a team that needs Maverick scoring, Caleb scoring. Malik is getting better. He gets a double-double again -- 15 points and 12. Again, we just need to keep improving."

"It is important. The ball has got to go inside a little more for our team. We need BeeJay and Lennard to score a little bit more for us. Malik, I thought, he has played like that pretty consistently for the last six or seven games now. He has had a number of double-doubles and was close the other night. I think he is just getting better. I think he is improving. Guys are having a lot of confidence in him going in there. I want the ball to go in there more. That is more of a point of emphasis for me. He is stepping up for us."

"I thought he was tired. I thought he needed a blow. We went down pretty quick when he was out too. We got down about seven or eight pretty quick. We had to get him back in there. Against them and the way that they play, I thought he looked tired there. Like anybody else, we got him a breather."

"No, I did not. I don't know why. I think outside of about-tackling the guy way down the floor I don't know what else we could have done. We had two hands and grabbed him, kept telling all officials, 'We are fouling him, that guy right over there. Look, we are grabbing him.' and they just wouldn't call it. No explanation."

"A little bit of both. I think that we are a team that, when we played in the second half, you could see it is in there. It is there somewhere. We can become a confident team, I think, as we play better but like I said before, foul shooting takes the wind out of your sails at times. A defensive breakdown can take the wind out of your sails, whether we take a bad or forced shot, when we are playing well and those things, those are things that I think we can get better at."

"I like the fight we had. We never quit. There was no doubt about that. Our guys gave it everything that they had and I do believe we are just not that far off. We have just got to get better at some things. If we do, I think we can be a good team."

"I thought we were aggressive. The ball moved quickly. I just think we need to stay aggressive and to stay confident. I just don't want us to play tentative at all. They have got to turn it loose and let the cards fall where they may. You have got to play that way."

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