Gottfried: "We Needed To Guard Better"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried discusses the loss to North Carolina.

Opening Statement:
“I loved our start. We had a great start and didn’t sustain it. But I thought our guys competed really hard. At about the 10-minute mark in the second half, it was about a four-point game and they had a run there that separated them. That was really the difference.

"In the second half Brice Johnson was terrific. They had too much offensive firepower for our guys."

"We had some good looks and missed some shots in that stretch. In my opinion, that was the name of the game in the second half. That is when they seemed to pull away a little bit. They are a good team, and I thought their offense in the second half was pretty good.”

 On Struggles Against Small Lineup:
“We had some match-up problems. I stuck with our two big guys in there, thinking we could take advantage of that offensively, but we didn’t get the ball inside enough during that stretch. So that gave us a disadvantage on offense. 

"We came out in the second half, and we were right there in a four-point game. Then we just had a really bad stretch after that point.”

On Cat’s Hot Start:
“Its hard to maintain that level of play. Early in the game he was spectacular, he just played at a high level. I think he started to get a little tired, so I gave him a blow there. I thought he came back and played good. He was really good early and he was good later. He struggled somewhat in the middle. But those first 10 minutes of the game he was spectacular.”

On Limiting Transition Points:
“They had a few, they got out and ran a little bit. But that wasn’t the difference in the game. 

"And their offensive rebounding wasn’t the difference; it was their ability to score in the paint.  We had way too many defensive breakdowns. We didn’t defend the ball-screen action well at all. I think that was our biggest defensive flaw throughout the game. They got inside on us and got in the paint. That was probably the difference more than anything. They’re a team that runs a lot and they’re going to get a few. They’re a good offensive team, and you look at their last couple games, and they are playing extremely well right now.”

On Brice Johnson's Play:
"I thought Brice was the difference. So many guys in college basketball think it's a negative to being a senior... there's a stigma with that; like somehow they've failed to still be in college as a senior.

"I look at Brice... as a freshman he struggled, sophomore kind of struggled.  Now he's playing like a senior.  He stepped up in the second half and was terrific... I thought he was the difference for them."

Length on Barber:
"A little bit... that was a different matchup for him...just his length. They got back and took away some of Cat's opportunties in the break, open floor. Those two things probably slowed him down some... sure."

What did you say to your team in the huddle in the second half?
"We needed to guard better. I don't know exactly what I said, but we weren't defending like we could be defending. We weren't doing things the right way.  You have to defend the way you're taught, and we had some lapses, that hurt us."

What role does fatigue play?
"If I sit up here and said it did and in my own mind I'd be saying I'm building an excuse for my team.  I'm not into that. We're not into excuses. I don't care. They have more guys than us probably and they are deeper. I don't care.  You have to play through all of that... not a factor in my mind."

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