Gottfried: "I'm Happy For Our Guys"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media after the 79-74 win over Pittsburgh.

Opening Statement:
I'm really, really excited for our players. I'm happy for our guys for a lot of different reasons.

We found ourselves down seven in the second half, it was important for this group, we have a lot of young guys, inexperienced guys, and they have to learn how to win. Now we're down seven, and I thought that was important to come back and win a game like that in the league.

Quick turnaround from two days ago. We were pitiful on whatever day that was two days ago. Our guys had a quick turnaround, we talked a lot yesterday, watched film, practiced a little bit, and I thought they came out today and showed some toughness and character.

I'm happy for the guys.  It's a process in learning how to win and what you have to do to win at this level in this league. How hard you have to play every night, how well you have to execute your offense... all those games.

A lot of different guys stepped up and did a good job. Omer, 16 rebounds and 12 points, I thought that was important for him.  Terry and Maverick hit big shots for us. Markell gave us some great minutes off the bench. A lot of different guys did a lot of nice things.

Terry said you guys talked... what do you tell him?
I don't think there was anything magical about what I said. It's understanding how hard you have to play, and if you don't, what can happen.

I thought we were really, really bad against Georgia Tech in a lot of areas and still had a chance to win.  Terry, BeeJay, those guys have been around a little more, Malik, I thought they stepped up and gave us good leadership too. 

The young guys just need to keep learning that it's not easy at this level.

How important was this for Omer?
It was important for Omer for a lot of reason. I have five kids. My children are between 19 and 25 and it's easy for people to forget sometimes that these are young guys.  Young kids. 

Omer is 18 years old and you see this big seven-foot guy and we forget that. He's been... he's feeling bad because he doesn't think he's playing well, and he's a young guy and he's learning.  He didn't have the summer, the fall, and he missed nine games.

I think it's really important for him. Tonight was important for his confidence and for other guys to get confidence in him, that was important.

I'm really happy for him. I thought he did a great job.

Take us through the ups and downs of your defense.
I thought in the first half we guarded them pretty well. Our zone helped us, our man helped us, and I thought our ball pressure was better. We had active hands, active feet, and got a couple of deflections.

We were completely different than a couple of nights ago. I thought in that stretch in the second half our defense wasn't that bad. We got to them a second or two too late and they got rolling.  They made some tough one's.

We went back to our zone and I thought that was the best way to play them because they are a versatile, interchangeable team. They don't really have a point guard or center, about five guys all the same size.

I thought our guys regrouped and didn't give in.  For a young team, sometimes that is what happens. The game will start to go against you and it's easy to give in a little bit.

I was really proud they didn't do that.

Any particular reason for Ted not playing tonight?
Nope. The other guys were playing well.

Defensive rebounding has been an issue at times; talk about keeping Pittsburgh off the board.
Obviously we have to play hard, defend, and finish with a defensive rebound.  

I thought collectively everybody did a good job, Omer especially. Malik was in foul trouble the whole game and I thought that was tough for Malik, but I thought our guards stepped in and got big rebounds late in the game.

Our offensive rebounding was good too. We did a great job of going to the offensive glass.

How were you able to get them to understand what they needed to do in the last 48 hours?
It's a magic wand that I can do just that.  

It's just continuing to emphasize to our team. Our guys are sometimes like the fans... you should just beat that team, you should beat them by 20. You'll probably win that game, lose that game. They listen and they are people too. Probably some of that happened the other night, to be honest.

Our play showed it, the way we played. It was abysmal. This isn't highly complicated stuff here. If you play hard, get in your stance, really defend, and if you execute and move the ball offensively, good things happen. That was kind of the message we had to these guys yesterday.

For Maverick do you think this was playing Pittsburgh or they were playing a zone?
I wish we could play PITT every night for Mav with the way he's playing against them.  No, they zoned a lot and I think Kevin has a short bench to try and avoid foul trouble. They have length... I actually thought to be honest, Markell playing a lot of minutes with Dennis helped Maverick and Terry.

What it did, when they played a 1-2-2... we had Dennis and Markell and it kind of pushed Terry and Maverick down on the baseline... we wanted those guys on the baseline trying to find shots in the corners and on the wings.

I thought Markell and Dennis found those guys... they stepped up andmade big shots, but I thought the combination of Dennis and Markell helped Maverick and Terry.

Can you talk about putting Maverick Rowan back in the starting lineup and the way he's played since then?
I just think Maverick has a chance to be a great player. He's got the ability offensively, like tonight, he can make shots and open the game up for us. Defensively he's got better.

Last year at times he really struggled and this year he's done a much better job and figured some things out.  He's a really important part of our team, and tonight he stepped up and got it done for us.

Michael Young is unorthodox... what did you do to try and make him uncomfortable?
They are a hard matchup team. As you watch tape, most teams have tried to play man and at some point they've gone zone.  Notre Dame did, Louisville did.  Virginia didn't, but Miami did.

They don't really have a true point or a true post and are all interchangeable. With BeeJay in there he was the one guy left that BeeJay could guard and he made two three's on him. It's tough, he's a hard matchup.

I just thought we went to our zone and it helped us I thought. They are a hard team to matchup with... with their size.


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