Lowe: 'You Have to be Tough'

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State's Sidney Lowe met with the media today to discuss the game against Florida State. Here is a sample of what the Wolfpack head coach had to say.

On Courtney Fells' leadership:
"He's been more vocal and his effort has been very good obviously. I think he wants to do it and I think he's comfortable at it. And knowing that the guys will rally behind him helps."

On what's been different for Fells in the ACC:
"He's looking to do it, he's being more aggressive, more assertive, and he's taking those looks. A couple of times, he's just going right up and shooting over people. I think it's his confidence, I think he knows we need him to score points for us. He's taking the good shots and they're going in … I think there are also times where his teammates are looking for him. I think it's just his overall demeanor, overall mindset with the way he's been playing. He's playing aggressive, hard – not that he wasn't before - but now he's knocking down those shots, which gets you going a little bit."

On if his team had answered the "effort" question:
"I think so. Hopefully we've made that turn and now we understand how we have to play and how we have to come out of the gates. We didn't come out as fast last ball game but then our guys picked it up and got right back into it. I've been pleased in the effort the past two games."

On his expectations for the team the rest of the way:
"To continue to play hard. And not just hard, but tough. You have to be tough. There's a difference between playing hard and hustling and playing tough. I think right now in our conference teams are trying to out-tough each other. That's what it's coming down to. Obviously it's the effort part, but it's also being physical and being tough both mentally and physically. I want to see us grow in that area until we get to the point where we get to the point that we know every single day and night that we're going to be tough. We're going to hit people; we're going to battle people. If we can do that and hit a couple of shots then we'll be fine."

On why GT scored on 14 of the last 16 possessions:
"They hit a couple that were over us. We relaxed I think. We didn't fight through a couple of situations and gave them some open looks. They made some nice plays. Causey especially is very cagy, very smart, he was able to see what was happening and create things, get a shot off, make passes. And their bigs scored down there on the block and we weren't able to defend that."

On what "fight through situations" meant:
"It was help-side [defense]. [Players were] a little too concerned about a shooter out on the perimeter instead of cracking down on the backside. Again, they were very physical. Our two's and three's were chasing those guys around and getting hit [by the screens]. I thought they did a nice job and I thought Gavin Grant did a tremendous job on his guy. I think our cover down on that backside hurt us."

Thoughts on Florida State:
"You have to be able to rotate. They'll go small at the four-spot and that's a little different for us after playing in the ACC a few games. Now we're going to have Brandon or Ben chasing those fours around and try to isolate them. Our team defense is going to have to be solid tomorrow because they're going to have four guys at one time that can put it on the floor and create for themselves as well as others."

On Javi Gonzalez's confidence after a sour end to a good game:
"I told him if I had to do it all over again I'd have him take that shot again. That's it. It was an open shot for him and I know he can make that shot. I know he can make it. I thought he played an excellent ball game for us. He read the defense when we ran a certain play; he kept getting to the basket. He ran the show for us. He missed a shot. He's going to have many opportunities to win the game. And I think as he grows he'll be more confident that he'll get it done."

On why Gavin Grant is good in the clutch:
"Because he doesn't think about it. He's in attack mode. He's more focused in that point and time in the ball game than ever. He's just one of those players. I'm not saying he's not focused prior to that but it's just certain players that thrive on that atmosphere and that situation. He's used to doing it, he wants it. I think that's the main thing, he wants to have it."

Confidence going on the road again:
"We're hoping those two games gave us an indication of what it's like and gave us some experience at it. But right now we're not going to think about those two games, we're just going to try to build on the past two games that we played and focus on things that we've had to play the way we did against Miami and Georgia Tech and try to do it down there … it's going to be crucial that we control the game in our favor."

Biggest challenge about FSU:
"Their quickness. Especially when they go small. They have four perimeter guys basically. They have shooters, so they create and spot up. And then they're active."

On if losing at home factors into the importance of winning on the road:
"You definitely think about that. You think about making that game up. You want to get as many as you can on the road, but you definitely want to make up for that home loss. That's our mindset. To go down to Florida State, we know what happened down there last year and we have to go down there and stick to our plan and not allow the environment to take control of us."

Challenges of playing a team with a smaller lineup:
"The perimeter. Drawing some of our bigs out away from the basket as far as rebounding. What you give up there, you want to take care of on the offensive end. If they're smaller than you are in those areas you want to try to take advantage of that. And in order to do that you have to make outside shots. You have to make perimeter shots. Our bigs have to be aware enough to kick back out to the open man. Just like a team that's pressing you, if you don't attack and burn them a few times, trying to get them out of it, then they're going to stay in it. So teams that are playing us for our inside play, doubling down and things of that nature – we have to make some outside shots. It could be a problem for our fours and things like that but that's why we need solid defense and good rotations. If we can do that then you force them to go back into a normal lineup."

On the recent minor NCAA violation (commenting on a recruit's performance):
"I have no comment."

On why his team has been unpredictable on the road:
"Youth. It's a very tough deal. Not to mention to start off at Carolina and Clemson. That's not the easiest thing for a young freshman point guard to see. And I think our ball club is still looking for that guy, that person to step up and calm things down a little bit. That's all it was. Teams know that. I think we're a little better now, I hope we're a little better now, but teams know that. I think Lawson had a comment on Javi at that time saying he looked young and ‘I could see it in his eyes that he was a little nervous.' And you look for every advantage you can. I know Javi's better know, I know he is."

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