Gottfried: "We Took A Major Step With Our Defense"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media after the win over Tennessee State.

Opening Statement:
I think there's a couple of storylines today, one is, the job that Debbie Yow and everybody did here, Michael Lipitz... it's always been a great place, but the atmosphere, the intimacy, the loudness. What a great college basketball environment today.  It helped us...they were loud, into it, enthusiastic.  Our fans were phenomenal today. I'm glad we were able to pull one out for them.

BeeJay today, what more can you say.  The guy affected the game in just about every way.  Defensively, it was a great matchup game for him. They had a big guy in there like him, really strong, so it was a good kind of matchup for BeeJay, and offensively, he did a good job of getting the ball around the rim and scoring.

Blocked shots, defensive rebounds, he impacted the game in a lot of different ways.  It was really a big factor... a great day for BeeJay.

I thought we took a major step with our defense.  We left our offense somewhere else, but defensively, we got better. It's something we spent a lot of time on obviously, it's been a point of emphasis.  

Our zone was good for us today. It helped us eliminate some of their penetration. they are a really quick team that gets the ball to the rim really well.  

I'm not sure we would have won this game two or three weeks ago.  We're getting better, and today was a lot of fun for our players. I know that.

How has BeeJay's mental approach been?
BeeJay has had a great attitude everyday. He's been upbeat and he wants to contribute like every player does, but he hasn't shown any kind of negative attitude.

It's a great lesson for other guys. Get in there and play well and you'll get to play more... it's real hard to figure that one out, huh. Play better, play more.  He certainly did today, but his attitude has been really good.

You closed the game on a 14-0 run. What does it take for a young team to do that?
We had some foul shots that helped us, but I do think we finished strong.

When the score was tied, Dennis wanted the ball in his hands. I'm not sure we could have done something different because he's such a competitor. He wanted it badly.

He drove in there and got his shot blocked and sometimes for a young player that can negatively affect them, but I thought he came back in the overtime even better. 

I thought our defense was probably the difference in the game. We held them to a really low percentage. If we could have made some shots, we probably wouldn't have been in that position, but you have to give them guys some credit.

I was in the Ohio Valley Conference for three years when I was at Murray State, and Heath Schroyer, my assistant, was a head coach in that conference. I have a hard time seeing anyone in that league play with that team.  That's a good basketball team.... veteran and old.

They are going to win a lot of games. That team is a pretty good team. It ends up being a nice win for our guys early in the year.

You mentioned the offense struggling. What part of that was miscommunication and shots not falling?
Well they are pretty good defensively. You have to give them credit.  They do a great job of helping, getting in the gaps, and not a lot of opportunities to drive to the rim. Then we had some good looks we didn't make.

They are really solid defensively, well-coached. They had a lot to do with it, but I thought we missed some good ones too.

We got better defensively, but struggled offensively today. That's why it ended the way it was.

When it improved...
I thought we made some tough ones too.  Terry made a bank shot in front of our bench, and Dennis made an amazing shot going to his left.

When you have young players and have struggles, a lot of times it wears on them more than a veteran team. Our guys hung in there and stayed with what we were trying to do.

It was a big step for us today, for our team and the young guys we're playing, it was a good, positive day for us today. Hopefully we can build on it a little bit.

Defensively at 38-30 they went almost eight minutes without scoring...
Our matchup zone helped us a lot. They are a very good dribble penetration team.  I thought the zone eliminated some of that. They didn't have as many drives to the basket.

Our zone helped us in that regard with BeeJay inside. Defensively, we took a good step forward. We had four really good practices this week, and I thought defensively we carried that over into the game.

How much does playing close games help?
I always think it helps. There are friends of mine in the coaching profession, a small fraternity. I'll have guys call me up and ask why we'd play Tennessee State this year.  They won 21 or 22 last year and have everybody back...I like playing good teams.  You still have to win, but I think you learn a lot more about your team and forces your team to play better.

I think this was a good team we beat today for their level and their league... a good, solid team.

Did you have any Wofford flashbacks when they were up 38-30?
Not really, but you keep reminding me of that everytime. You reminded me of that two days ago.

It happens all across the country sometimes, especially if you are aggressive with your scheduling. A lot of teams won't play coaches like that. They just won't do it. They understand how dangerous they are and understand it's a big risk. I still think it's good to do.

Is the jacket a Norm Sloan tribute?
We got this one out kind of for Reynolds, so it was fun.  

Only for Reynolds?
Nah, I may break it out again. We won in it, so it's like a hotel. If you win staying in a hotel, you'll always stay in the hotel until you lose.  It's the way you do things.

Pack Pride Top Stories