Gottfried: "We Could Have Played Better"

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

Opening Statement
Tough night. I certainly felt like we could have played better. I look at the game a lot of different ways. On one hand we score 78 points. That should be good enough to win. We score 78 when we had a couple of guys really struggle from the field. So 78 could have easily been a lot more than 78.

I think defensively late in the game, especially in the second half, I thought we got real spread out. They made some threes. I think that the way they were running the high-middle ball screen we were so concerned with the size and the length of the guy rolling down the basket to the middle of the lane that we left some shooters open.

But they made every shot they needed to make. They made big shots. You have got to give them credit for that. I thought Malik was terrific. Malik played really hard. I thought he rebounded extremely well. He just played with a lot of competitive spirit.

Our team needs to get better and I think we can get better but certainly it is frustrating because I don’t think we have played our best basketball for 40 minutes yet here in the league. We will play it for spurts. You’ll see glimpses but certainly it is not thereover a 40-minute period. We have got to figure out how to do that.

NC State has been right there in the end in all four of its ACC losses. What do you think it is that is missing?
I don’t think that it is one thing. I don’t think there is one thing to fix. I think it is a matter of -- some of it is our offense and some of it is the shots we are taking. Some of it is our defense. Some of it is our defensive rebounding. Some of it is our foul shooting.

It is never one thing that you have to fix. It is a lot of things. So again, we just have to make sure that we keep improving. I think sometimes when you have got a team that has a lot of inexperience, there are times throughout the game that they lose their way just a little bit. They might lose their confidence a little bit. Then we have got to get it back. We have got to learn how to play at a high level all the time. We are just not there right yet.

How do you look at this as a coach? Is it frustrating that you can’t get over the top or do you take confidence that you were able to get into these games?
Honestly, probably a little of both. I still look at our team and I have said this before, I have seen bad teams. We are not a bad team. I know that. They know that. I think most people that watch us play know that. We are a team that needs to be better throughout the entire game. We have stretches where we are really good.

 

We have stretches where we are not so good. That is just part of a young group growing up but you have got to grow up at some point. We have got to get there, get over the hump. We have got to understand what it takes to win. We are a team, I think, that can improve in a lot of areas yet at the same time we are not far off.

I know that sounds like a broken record but that is where we are.

How big of an issue was Cat Barber’s two early fouls?

Obviously, it hurts us. Cat is a big part of what we do but throughout the game of basketball, things happen like that. Good teams overcome it. Good teams overcome whatever it may be; foul trouble, poor shooting. We actually played okay with Cat on the bench but that disrupts us obviously with him.

 

What did FSU do to disrupt Cat Barber?
I don’t know if it is one thing. I think a lot of teams now with the ball screens, they are extending the traps and the helps. They are showing [playing tighter defense] forever. They are forcing him to give the ball up a lot earlier than they did earlier in the year. He has to learn how to adjust to that. I think he is doing a pretty good job at times where he is getting the ball out of his hands quicker.

Tonight, you look at Caleb and he struggled and I thought Cat got him the ball two or three times -- I thought one of them was a deep three -- but outside of that, I thought out of his 10 threes, seven or eight were pretty good shots. That would certainly change things. I thought Cat did a good job of finding him a number of times.

Again, we are just a team that has got to get better in a lot of areas.

How do you approach Caleb while he is in this shooting slump?

There are all different types of approaches. What I want from Caleb is for him to take really good, high-percentage shots. That doesn’t mean every player that every shot they shoot is a great shot. For tonight, I thought a lot of them were okay. Like I said, I thought the one he shot was too deep and the floater there in the first half. He had a lot of good looks and for our team to be good, he and Maverick need to make open shots. It is just that simple.

I don’t think we'll ever get to a place where we tell Caleb not to shoot. I don’t think I am one of those guys. Good shots and high-percentage shots are where he needs to step up and he got some tonight. He just had one of those nights where he really struggled.

How big of an issue is the team’s depth?
It is what it is. This ain’t the NBA. I can’t sign guys to 10-day contracts. We got who we got. It is what it is. A number of teams around the country are a little bit short. It is not something we are going to be using as an excuse. It is not a crutch. It is part of life. We got who we got and we have got to figure it out. That is the way I look at it and that is the way our team is going to approach it.

Did FSU’s size give NC State problems?
I think at times it did. I think, on the flip side, there were times where we tried to block too many shots. I bet you we attempted to block 15 shots. We blocked two at the rim which opened up all kinds of offensive rebounding for them. We have got to be smarter about when we are going to try to block our shots. We were going after everything around the rim and we are leaving guys open for offensive rebound dunks. That is another thing we have to get better at.

 

But yes, their length probably bothered us a little bit inside.

 


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