Lowe: 'They've Been Very Resilient'

NC State head coach Sidney Lowe fielded questions from the media during his weekly teleconference. Lowe talked about his team's character, the status of Tracy Smith, and much more.

Opening Statement:
We had a good game down at Miami... played well. We're looking forward to continuing to play well when we go up to Virginia Tech.

I know you've seen some teams from the past that when they struggle it's hard to keep focus and effort up. How is it this team has played arguably it's best basketball when they were 2-10 in the ACC?
It's the result of the character of the guys to continue to play and continue to try and learn and understand the game... how to win the game. They never got down to the point where they wanted to quit. Never got down to the point of where they wanted to all of a sudden individualize and try to do things.

They've been very resilient in terms of coming back to practice after another tough loss and having a great practice. They won't allow themselves to get down, and that's rare.

It's rare that you'll find a group that are playing hard and can't finish a game or there's one thing they can't do that's costing them a game... to have them stick together like these guys have.

I've always said that about them.

What do you think that kind of attitude means for the future of the program?
I think it means everything. I think it says to you that you have the right people, the right kind of players. The new guys coming in will learn from those guys. It's no secret or mystery that when you have a positive atmosphere and you have guys that are on the same page and in it for the right reasons, they are going to teach the right things to the new guys coming in.

That's what good teams do. The players that are leading in the right direction... the new guys coming in have no choice because that's the way you do it. I think it means a great deal because we have those kids and this program is going to get back to where it should be because you have those kind of players.

What do you think your team would get out of a NIT appearance?
I think they would get a great deal out of that. Obviously to continue to play, opportunities to win and be together. I think postseason play is certainly something that we all want. The fact that they have continued to do what they have been doing, in terms of playing hard.

Looking back at some of the games we lost, some tight ballgames, games we were right in, 70-foot shots and things of that nature.

I think it would be great for them. We have some great wins that guys should be proud of.I think it would be great just from a standpoint of showing them that your continued hard work and great attitude has paid off and you're going to continue to play.

Any update on Tracy Smith's knee?
It was a little sore [Sunday], but he came in and practiced a little [on Monday]. We didn't want him to do too much, but he went through some drills today. We sat him out, we had him put a band on it just for protection, but he's going to be okay.

He came back into the game with a sleeve on his knee and it seemed to have some magic in it. He seemed effective.
Once again, that's the character of this team. All the way down the line, every single guy. He was determined to help us win that ballgame. When he came back in there he went after every single rebound and wasn't concerned about his knee.

You're absolutely right. He showed great toughness and great leadership, which he does with his actions, not verbally. He came right back in and played well.

The first time you played the Hokies was a 20-point loss. What must you do better to have a better chance on Wednesday?
I think we're going to have to certainly be better transition-wise on our defense. We're going to have to get back and not allow them to get easy baskets. I think they do a great job. I think Hudson really thrives off of getting down the floor and of course Delaney finding him for open threes or drives to the basket.

We certainly have to shoot the ball better. One way to eliminate fastbreak points is by making some baskets. We didn't shoot the ball well in that ballgame. I think a couple of our perimeter guys were 3-of-22 or something like that. It was a tough day for us.

We're playing a little bit better, and I think that's going to be a factor. But we have to be better transition-wise and score some points.

What are you doing better these last two wins?
I think we're playing smarter basketball. I think we're playing more patient from an offensive standpoint. We're not forcing shots. We're not just trying to get a shot because we haven't had one in three or four trips down.

We had a guy the other night in Dennis Horner who we really count on to score for us, but the shots weren't coming to him. He took two shots in that ballgame, but he played outstanding. He still graded out well because he had rebounds... he had eight rebounds I think and five assists, a couple of blocked shots.

He didn't force anything and that's what we've got to do. That's what we did in the last two ballgames against Wake Forest and Miami. We didn't take a lot of bad shots, and we didn't turn the ball over. I think we had 10 turnovers in this last ballgame. That's going to be key, and we've done that well the last couple of games.

Can you help me out a story about Greivis Vasquez and Jon Scheyer? Can you talk about what they bring to the table? They are probably the two guys most of us will be considering for Player of the Year.
I think they both are very, very tough mentally... extremely tough mentally. They both are good shooters and smart basketball players. They just bring so much to the table. They refuse to let their teams lose.

You saw Vasquez the other night in overtime where he just refused to let his team lose. The same with Scheyer. He gives them that energy, he's pumping guys up, talking to guys. They both provide leadership and they both are winners. They refuse to lose games and refuse to allow anyone around them to lose games. They are both outstanding basketball players.

When you were a senior and a part of a senior backcourt, you guys had pretty good success to put it mildly. Is it a coincidence that the two teams playing for the regular season title are the two most experienced teams in the league?
No it isn't. A lot of times we had to use that as a reason, having a young team or young guards, but when you have experience that really counts for a lot. And when you have experience and talent at the guard positions you are always going to be in the hunt.

There are different ways they can control the game. They can control it by scoring and shooting the ball. They can control it with their leadership and getting the ball to the right people. They can control it with their defense or emotion... there is just so much.

To have that kind of experience in situations where you don't panic when you're down... you keep everyone else calm. That's so important and part of what those two guys do.

No question about it. We had experience and as long as we were calm as the veteran guys the young guys were going to be calm. It really means a lot when you have that. In this league, young guys have trouble against the experienced players. It's just going to happen.

Do you think the way a team wins or loses prior to playing you has any effect on your game with them? Virginia Tech had a gut-wrenching loss to Maryland on Saturday. Do you think that has any effect on how they perform against you on Wednesday?
If I read those guys right, absolutely. Just knowing some of those guys individually, they are very tough mentally and physically, and I know they want to bounce back from that.

Some of the players I know from recruiting them and knowing them in the past, they are not a team that is going to let themselves get down. They are going to come ready to play, they will be at home, and they are going to look to come out and get another a win.

We don't expect anything less than them to come full force.

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