Lowe: Pack Must Play Tougher

Raleigh, N.C. – NC State head coach Sidney Lowe held a press conference today at the Weisiger-Brown complex to discuss tomorrow's game against Duke. Here are some major comments from today's meeting with the media.

After losing 11 straight games to ACC opponents, dating back to last year, Sidney Lowe and the Wolfpack got a much needed win Saturday in a come-from-behind overtime victory over Georgia Tech.

According to Lowe, the win was a boost for his team psychologically, as State will look carry the energy and momentum from the Georgia Tech win to Cameron Indoor Stadium as it takes on the No. 2 ranked Blue Devils tomorrow at 8 p.m.

"It was definitely one that we needed," he said. "And I think the way that we did it probably helped a little more. The fact that we were down and fought back and got in the ballgame and took them into overtime, and just being real solid in that overtime, only allowing one basket, I think psychologically was good."

Though Lowe started freshmen guards Julius Mays and C.J. Williams against Tech, it was the contributions from his veterans that kept the Pack in the game. Redshirt junior Trevor Ferguson connected on 3-of-5 three-pointers and scored 11 points in 19 minutes, though Lowe was unsure how much he would be able to contribute offensively due to a lingering wrist injury.

Dennis Horner scored six of his eight points in overtime and helped seal the win for the Pack. Lowe would not comment on any changes he might make to the starting lineup, but said State will need a similar effort from his veterans.

"I admire guys when they're ready to play. You congratulate them and everything, like Dennis came in and did a great job," Lowe said. "But at the same time, as I said before, that's what I expect. It shouldn't be a surprise. That's what you should expect from yourself every game. You go out there and you do your job. Definitely, it makes you feel good when your veteran guys can pull you through or set the tone for you to win the ball game. For me, those are the expectations you have to have. You've got to do it. It's the only way we can win."

Though the Pack pulled out the win against the Yellow Jackets, it was sloppy. Both teams had 22 turnovers in the contest, and State's young backcourt will have to protect the ball against a notoriously aggressive Duke defense.

"It's not what they do [defensively]; it's how they do it. It's how hard they do it. There are other teams that try to do it, but these guys just play hard," Lowe said. "That's what it's going to come down to. It's just like our last ballgame. We're going to have to be tougher, we're going to have to be more aggressive, and play harder."

Lowe said he has been particularly impressed by Duke junior Gerald Henderson, who has averaged 22.3 points in his last three games, and is emerging as the emotional leader of the Blue Devils.

"Henderson is the guy that really sets the tone," Lowe said. "He's taken on that leadership role and those guys follow him. He is aggressive and he is a heck of player."

An intriguing matchup in the game will be that of Duke power forward Kyle Singler and State's Brandon Costner, both who have the ability to do damage from the post and on the perimeter.

"You've got to play [Singler] tough," Lowe said. "We can't give him anything. We have to be on him. He's a very good basketball player. He can hurt you inside-outside. I think we have a guy similar to that. Hopefully we can play better."

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