Again, a tough ball game. Our young men just went out and played with a lot of guts and a lot of character and a lot of pride against a good ball club. We made plays when we had to. I felt our defense was pretty good throughout the ball game and I felt we were fortunate enough to come out with a win.
On the red jacket:
The cleaner was open. It was freshly cleaned yesterday. Picked it up this morning about 10:30, so we'll just have to see if we can get it done one more time.
On being a part of NC State's ACC Tournament legacy:
This would mean a great deal to not just NC State, but to the fans and family. I think today is Coach Valvano's birthday, so that's special. With the way we're doing it right now - very similar to what a lot of our fans saw in 1983 - it would just be an outstanding accomplishment for this ball club. As Gavin said, we played 12 games without our starting point guard and, really, our only true point guard. These young men, they stayed in there, they hung in there, never complained. I just told them, keep fighting, keep staying together, and good things will happen. I had no idea that we'd be playing in the ACC Championship game, but I told them every game here that special things happen in this tournament every year. Whether it's a player who emerges and becomes a great star, or it's a team that does something special. And I told them, 'Why not be that team?'
On Fells' three-pointer that gave NC State a nine-point lead (1:33):
We were just trying to get a good shot; trying to get a good look at it. This group has been very good at coming out of timeouts and really executing and getting the shot that we want. They did it again; we made the right read, the right pass and we were fortunate to knock it down.
On confidence from the free throw line:
I had one that almost rimmed out. After that, I was probably a little nervous. But once I got the ball back I was fine. Bryan (Nieman), Courtney (Fells) and Dennis (Horner), they were just hot all night.
On NC State's regular season performance:
We played the majority of our year without our point guard (Atsur). Even right now, he's still not 100 percent but he's given us all he's got. For us to come out and not compete in games of this magnitude, it would be wrong to send him off like that. Like I said, it's going to be tough, it's four-straight games in four days. We're going to go home and try to get some rest. I think we can win it if we play hard and play together.
On beating Virginia Tech for the third time:
I thought the play that set the tone for the game was on the first two possessions when Courtney was able to pick Dowdell and get a layup on him. That pretty much let me know that I had to lock it down myself. To take the ball from a guy like Dowdell, one of the better ball handlers we have in our conference, that just let me know that Courtney was ready to play. He was going to play hard and I had to play hard as well. The whole team stepped up and played well.
On beating Virginia Tech for the third time:
We just wanted to come out with great intensity, energy. We knew that they were a great team, they're guard-oriented. We just wanted to come out and play hard, play together, execute the offense, take care of the ball and put ourselves to at least win the game.
On Atsur's presence on the court:
Engin is a great guy. He's a great player for us. He keeps everything composed. We just feed off of him. He has great leadership vocally. We just play off of him and execute the offense with him well.
On his late three-pointer:
Brandon Costner did a great job of penetrating. He found me on the kick. I just didn't want to relax and try not to shoot the shot without confidence. So I just shot the shot, it went in for us and g
VIRGINIA TECH Quotes
I'm extremely disappointed that we didn't do the things we needed to do to win a game of this magnitude. An area that we really concentrated on and that we've improved on more than any other area this season is free throws. In league (play) I think we're over 70% and to not be able to step up to the line and make a free throw is like a turnover. Obviously it set us back a tad. I thought we tried to defend, I thought we did a nice job with that, I thought when we got in transition we were fine.
On Virginia Tech's offense:
We never had any pace on our offense in the first half and a lot of that had to do with probably... I made a mistake. We went with the small arm because I wanted to defend, and we flip-flopped A.D. (Vassallo) and Markus Sailes because I wanted to have A.D. (Vassallo) running off screens as opposed to Markus (Sailes). We never got any flow into our offense in the first half, and I'll take full responsibility for that. I think that we tried to re-create some things as opposed to just sticking to what we were, and maybe going with a more normal line-up and making the play to Nigel (Munson) and rotating between A.D. and Markus. That was probably the first half mistake. We got great looks, we got great opportunities to score. Two times in a row coming out of the time out we got the shot we wanted, we just couldn't put it down.
I thought we did a very good job on (Engin) Atsur and (Ben) McCauley. I thought Coleman (Collins) did a nice job on (Ben) McCauley. First half, uncharacteristically, we turned the ball over early but then we kind of got our composure and made 10 for the game, which is about our number. Obviously those early turnovers dug us a little bit of a hole, but we just didn't play the way we've been playing.
On where the program is today:
I'm still disappointed, but like I told the guys, they need to hurt, they need to be disappointed. We were in a position to win and didn't do the things you need to win a game. Having said that, we're going to go home tomorrow and we're going to meet and we're going to watch our name come up on that screen and that's a hell of an accomplishment for a group of guys that no one thought could play in the ACC, the Big East or anywhere else. That's a hell of a statement for our program, in four short years to go from the worst program in the Big East to the NCAA Tournament and I'm very proud of our guys.
VIRGINIA TECH Players Quotes
On shooting in the game:
I feel like I got some good opportunities to get some easy baskets, but I went to the lane and the guys pretty much backed off. I think I did a bad job of finishing tonight and I just wasn't feeling it tonight.
On taking advantage of the Engin Atsur injury:
I think he was coming out in the second half really laboring. I think the hamstring really bothered him tonight and I just tried to pressure him and get up into him and make him work for everything. I think we did a good job of that, but other guys stepped up on their team and that's why they were able to get the win tonight.
On the play of Gavin Grant and Courtney Fells:
I think they are some very versatile guys. They can post up, they can knock down perimeter shots and they can also get in the lane, so it's definitely hard defending those guys with their size and their ability to put the ball on the floor and make shots from the perimeter. We did the best that we could. I think we focused a bit too much on trying to stop their post guys coming in to the game and those guys (the guards) ended up hurting us.