Gottfried: "That Was The Difference"

CHESTNUT HILL, MASS -- NC State's Mark Gottfried met with the media after the loss at Boston College.

Were you surprised with how you responded after the way you played at Chapel Hill?
I wasn't surprised. I was proud of our guys. I was proud of them tonight. I told our team we got better tonight. We took a big step forward. We don't have a win to show for it and that hurts. I feel bad for our players but we took a step forward and did a lot of things better.

The biggest thing tonight was our turnovers. It's hard to win on the road when you have 17 turnovers in a game like that. Defensively, I thought our guys played extremely hard. We have to get more scoring out of our inside guys right now. We're putting too much pressure on our perimeter players to score too many points.  

Whether it's... we got careless with the ball and made some lazy passes. 17 turnovers, that was the Achilles heel tonight. That was the difference.

Do you understand people won't interpret this as progress?
I don't care. I don't care if you do.  I don't really give a shit if anybody does. We got better tonight.

We've played four in the league and three have been on the road. Most people think Boston College, they aren't very good, and they are wrong.  They beat Providence, beat Syracuse. They are a good team.  

Our team got better tonight and it's a long season. We have a lot of young players playing. It's like Omer. I love the guy, but he's a freshman learning... on the road. Markell was fantastic, Dennis was really good, played through getting hit in the face.  We had a lot of great things happen for us tonight. I know our team got better and we'll keep getting better.

We'll go from there.

To finish my question, in which way do you think your team got better?
We fought through adversity tonight, we ran our offense better, as long as we didn't turn the ball over, we executed things much better than we have. We got good shots when we didn't turn the ball over but a lot of times we didn't make them, and that's part of the game in basketball.

But we executed our offense and got better shots. Defensively I thought we did a heck of a job. Jerome and Ky, those two kids stepped up and played pretty well, but they had to earn everyone of them.

We just can't turn the ball over 17 times.  That was the difference.

Markell seemed to get more minutes tonight... was that a matchup thing you saw?
I think his last two days of practice he's been terrific. When he and Dennis are on the floor together a lot of good things happen, on both ends of the floor.  Offensively, he can take pressure off Dennis sometimes where you have a second playmaker on the floor. I like that.

But again, those two guys are both freshmen, and at times you'll have Omer on the floor and that's three freshmen at the same time. We'll keep getting better.  Like I said, the difference tonight was the turnovers. 17 is too many.

Can you share what happened when Dennis and Markell went out of the game?
With Markell it was a shoulder, I think his shoulder kind of popped out of joint a little bit, and with Dennis, it was inadvertent, it wasn't intentional but took an elbow to the eye there pretty heavy. I thought he showed great competitive spirit. He wanted to play and I thought he played well, played hard. That's part of the game.

You moved Maverick back into the starting lineup.
He's been playing better. At North Carolina he was playing better and you miss so many games early on he's kind of getting his groove back.  He made a big shot for us late. He did good in there. We'll keep getting better.


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