NC State Head Coach Mark Gottfried
Talk about how the matchup zone changed things...
We had a slow start and we had that hangover from last night. We had no zip, no energy, and took a couple of timeouts to kind of wake them up to be quite honest.
But I thought for about 30 minutes we really played. We really did a good job of playing. We guarded them really well. Our matchup zone was good for us. We eliminated penetration and got great shots.
We get 23 field goals off of 16 assists, I love that, and really the only glaring negative in the game was offensive rebounding. They get 22 of them. They shoot 32% from the field and if we get half of those offensive rebounds... some of them were long rebounds. I'd bet of the baskets they made 6, 7, or 8 of them were on second shots.
We've got to do a better job there, but we held them to 32% and we got our legs around the 10 minute mark of the first half, and from there we really did a great job of defending them.
Coming to the islands, State struggled hitting three's but the last two games you hit 14-of-28 and 11-of-21 three-pointers, what have you attributed it to?
I think guys are confident, and Dennis does a great job of finding guys. If you get two feet set, so it's a good-looking three-point shot on balance... penetrate and pitch. We're moving the ball. A couple of times it's an extra pass... I think guys are stepping up with great confidence right now and shooting the basketball.
You were down 20-9 and went to the matchup zone, they missed 11 straight shots and had four turnovers.
We were able to find them a little better. Sometimes when you play a zone defense, the zone offense isn't as active... guys stand a little bit, and what they were trying to do against our zone we kind of solved it a little bit. That made it easier and from there it was guarding the ball one-on-one.
It eliminated the cutting and handoffs they were doing and put us in a better position to guard them.
Did you expect to use that defense so much?
I've been wanting to play it a lot, now we tried the other night against Creighton and they torched us a little bit. We have to get better at it, and tonight was a good step. If we can correct the long rebounds... that defense can be good for us.
More on the offense.
We had four guys in double figures. I'd love to have five, but we got four in double figures. I love 16 assists by our team collectively.
Dennis gets eight assists with just two turnovers, 24 points... a terrific night for him.
It was a good overall effort by everybody.
You played most of that game with just six guys.
When you get in the ACC Tournament you'll have to play back-to-back. This was good for us.
We wanted to be 3-0. We wanted to win this tournament, we're disappointed. I saw Creighton was rated 12th in the country, and they are a pretty good team, but only one team will go 3-0. Only one team.
I'm disappointed in that but glad we got two. Let's get home, keep improving, and go from there.
Freshman Guard Dennis Smith
We had to come out with energy. We wanted to be in the championship game so it hurt to lose yesterday, but we had to come out and play hard. We started to pick it up towards the second media timeout of the first half.
When things weren't going right you went back to fundamentals. That was a focal point in practice. How did you do in that regard?
I think we did a good job. We had 16 assists on 23 field goals.
How did you play the matchup zone?
We are learning it... there's some peaks that go into it... you can't learn it by scouting it, you learn it in practice.
How challenging has that been to learn? Is it a fun defense to learn?
For me it wasn't hard to learn at all because I ran it all summer in AAU when my pops was coaching it, so it wasn't nothing for me to learn.
It's fun for everyone to play because you get a lot of steals, a lot of fastbreaks and dunks like you saw the first night.
It's a fun defense.
What did you learn about your teammates?
They'll go as I go. The harder I play the harder they are going to play for me. I do my best to give my all every time I play.
39 minutes, we had two guys play 40.
Where is the three-point shooting coming from?
Just being more comfortable... we are shooting with confidence.