Gottfried: "We Came Up Short"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media after the loss to Syracuse.

Opening Statement:
Well, let me just say I am extremely proud of our guys. I am proud of how that played. I am disappointed , sick to my stomach for them because I thought they played hard and I thought they did enough to win the game. [They] put themselves in a position to win the game. In regulation it just came down to Gillon making an incredible shot.

We switched. Maverick had two hands in the air. The kid even looked a little off-balance to me and [he] makes the three. [It was] kind of in the flurry of what was happening. Maverick hits a big three on one end, guys come down on the other end and, outside of how he played which was spectacular, that is probably a shot you would want to have a guy take against you, to be honest, and he made it.

[Gillon] was out of this world today. He played amazing. Our guys did enough, put themselves in a position to win so that one hurts.

Is it tougher because of the number of things you did well for 31 minutes?
I just think it is hard, you know, we got up at one point in the second half and they made a couple of shots -- tough ones too. I think that makes it hard and, like I said, our guys did enough to win. They played with great character. They played with toughness. They played with courage. They did everything.

Terry fouling out probably hurt us on a blocked charge call there. Not having him down the stretch there was big. Torin was hurt. He came into practice and hurt his back and was very limited. I put him into the game and he looked like to me he was not nearly 100 percent. He kept telling me he was fine, but I thought during the minutes he played he looked really stiff. The back was stiff so we are down a guy there.

Losing one of those guys, especially Terry-- he was four-for-six from the three-point line -- fouling out that was probably tough for us.

You have got to give Syracuse credit. This guy Gillon, he made 12 three-point shots coming into this game in the league -- I think in nine games. Two or three or four of them were two or three feet behind the three-point line. They are not right on the line. The guy played terrific.

Thoughts on Syracuse's full-court press:
It probably changed [the game] a little bit. We have been pressed a ton this year. There are some guys that have pressed us so I thought we should have handled that a little bit better than we did.

On Markell Johnson and Dennis Smith playing together:
They do good things together. You know, Markell is still young. He is still learning. He had a great steal there late in the game and then, I thought he was fouled, but he turned the ball over. Then he went down and fouled.

On Smith and Rowan...
Overall, those two guys were great.

Dennis gets a triple-double. It is disappointing to lose a game when you play like that. His second triple-double -- it was just terrific and then Maverick, I thought, just made some huge shots for our team. Just huge shots.

Expanding on the play of Maverick Rowan:
I thought our guys did a great job finding him. I thought he made big shots. He did a good job of kind of getting lost defensively on them where they couldn't always locate him. He wasn't shooting from the same spot on the floor. Then I thought he made some timely ones for us. Big ones. Important shots. He was really shooting it well today.

Should NC State have fouled Gillon with a three-point lead?
I think it is easy sometimes in a flurry like that, you know. Maverick hits a three, there is no timeout and they are coming full speed ahead on you right there. If I would have said -- the game he had today changes it -- but yesterday if you asked me if I would have taken a fading three-point shot by Gillon at the buzzer, I'd have probably taken that one. I take my chances but not Lydon, not White, not Battle.

The kid just had one of those days. He made every shot and made every important shot, including that one. That is just unfortunate on that one for us.

Syracuse Free-Throw Shooting:
That is another thing with Gillon. He was 14-for-14 from the line. You know, White made some shots there. You have got to remember with Gillon and with White, I think both of those guys -- I don't know for sure -- I guess they are 23 years old and they are veteran guys.

Both are fifth-year seniors. They went on the road today and played like it. They played like older, veteran players that you hope they would if you're Jim Boeheim. They both made some big shots late and both made all their foul shots -- you know, 21-for-23 as a team. Gillon went 14-for-14.

Did the moments where NC State excelled show you what your team can be?
I just think we played really well. I thought our guys did a good job of moving the ball against the zone, finding Omer in the middle of the zone there -- he's such a good passer down there with his size. I thought our guys did the things we worked on the last couple of days offensively against the zone. I thought we did enough. What did we scores, 90-something?

So, we did a lot of things well and played really well and then there was a stretch where I thought defensively we were really good too outside of the one stretch where they pressed us -- they had a little flurry right there.

Again, you have got a guy like John Gillon stepping up there and have the absolute game of his life. I mean -- a tough one.

Did free throws make a difference?
Probably but, again, let's keep our eye on the ball. We are up three, in a flurry and we are in a great position to win the game. We have done everything at that point and the guy just makes a shot. So yeah, now it is easy to say, 'Well, if we had made a couple more foul shots and they had a couple of more offensive rebounds..'-- all that kind of stuff.

They didn't miss any. We missed some. It may have changed some things, but we put ourselves in position to win and we came up short. That's a tough one.


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