Abu: "It Hurts"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State junior forward Abdul-Malik Abu met with the media after the loss to Syracuse.

Describe the emotions of the game and the ending...
Our goal is always to win and to play as hard as you can. We felt like we gave it our best effort.

What do you think was the difference down the stretch?
Right now I don't know. Both teams played hard. Both teams went out there and gave it their all. It came up to two big-time shots. Maverick made one and they made one to tie it. They overcame us in overtime.

How difficult was it to break the full-court press in the second half?
You just try to get the ball into transition and make plays. That is how we got that big lead.

Zone defenses mean chances for three-pointers.
Absolutely. Maverick got going,. He played a heck of a game. That was the game plan, to get our shooters hot, probe and get the best shot possible.

Does this loss sting?
It hurts. All losses hurt. As one of the older guys on the team, you just have to move on. It feels like a million [losses] but it is just one. We have got to look forward to Saturday.

Were you aware of how hot John Gillon was?
I didn't know he had that many points until a free throw when he had 30 and I was like 'Man, thirty.' He played a great game but more to it, he was hot. He went out there and shot the ball and stayed hot the whole game.

How did you feel when Gillon hit the three-pointer towards the end of regulation?
It is basketball. Anything is possible. Maverick made a tough one.

How tough is it to have Smith finish with a triple-double yet lose the game?
He would give it away to win. We all feel the same.

Was there thought of fouling Gillon before he hit his game-tying three?
I think in retrospect anybody can say it. Even I thought of it after it but when you are playing live your instinct is not to foul somebody when you are up three. Maybe after a timeout we could have thought of that.

Do you think NC State is reaching the point where it is must-win time in the season?
I feel like every situation is a must-win. We don't go into any game feeling that we need to win this more than the last one. We are not in panic-mode. We still believe in ourselves. We just have got to do what we have to do. Just go out there and play hard.

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