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November 18, 2012
No. 6-ranked NC State came out flat and didn't respond well to Oklahoma State's intensity in suffering its first loss of the young season.
A disappointed NC State coach Mark Gottfried was dismayed by the players "casual" approach and promised that there would be some changes made this week following the Wolfpack's 76-56 loss to Oklahoma State in the title game Sunday of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tourney.
Below is a transcript of what Gottfried said on the Wolfpack Radio Network:
What did you learn about your ball club?
"I think there was a lot to learn. What is important to say off the bat, that was a pretty pitiful performance I think. I think we are a lot better than that obviously.
"I thought at the start of the game, I thought they had more of a sense of urgency than we did. I felt like our team was casual. I didn't like that at all. We had fastbreak opportunities to start the game, and they are blocking shots. We aren't putting the basketball in the basket like we have in the past.
"Once we got down, we could have handled the adversity much better. Our veteran players when you go back looking at last year, they've through the wars. They understand how hard it is to win. I expect a lot out of those guys to start off with. We didn't handle adversity as well as we should have. I'm not sure we were as ready to play as we should have.
"I'm not sure that Oklahoma State played that great. They deserve a lot of credit, no question, but we went through stretches in the second half where we kept them from scoring and we couldn't score the ball.
"I want to give them the credit. They got the job done, we didn't. We need to look in the mirror after this one. We are going to make sure to right the ship early on."
Did Oklahoma State's shot-blocking affect the players?
"I just felt like we weren't taking the ball strong enough to the basket. There were times where you just have to take it right up there and put it in the basket or dunk it or make sure you are going to get fouled. We just seemed to get it around the rim and it was like we were playing a team that wasn't very good. Here was a team that was very athletic, they defended us very well, especially around the rim
"We can't afford, and I don't know if there is any team in America that can afford to be a casual or maybe you aren't as ready to play as you should be every night and still win. Not against good teams, but lesson learned tonight. We better learn from this one."
Did Oklahoma State on defense force NC State to hurry up shots?
"What happened to our team, and again, we talk about handling adversity. We got down and at that point, we just seemed to get very impatient. Every guy, and a lot of those, we also had off of one pass some pretty good looks. We just couldn't make them. Scott Wood had a lot, and Tyler [Lewis] had one right over here. We had good shots too.
"At the same time, we did get very impatient. We wanted to make a eight or 10-foot shot every time we shot the basketball instead of just continuing to play. We had some odd lineups in the game. We had to go away from some of the things we do offensively because of the foul trouble. We had to play offensively different than we have, and we didn't run our high post as much because of the lineups in the game. We got impatient, the ball didn't move nearly as well and offensively, we were pretty abysmal."
What did you see out of Lorenzo Brown and the performance he had?
"First of all, defensively, Marcus Smart played really well for a freshman, wow. What a good young player he is. I also thought defensively, we didn't do a very good job of helping Lorenzo on some ball screens either. We kind of left him up there for dead and Smart made us pay. That can't all fall on Lorenzo. That's a team effort defensively and we weren't as good as we should have been.
"I thought Lorenzo started to press a little bit. We talked to Lorenzo a lot about being straight up and down with the basketball, and he had a couple of turnovers where they got up underneath him. He has to bend his knees and be a lot better than that. He struggled tonight, and it certainly wasn't a great game by Lorenzo. I do believe he has is a lot better than that. We have to get him back on track."
Freshmen T.J. Warren and Rodney Purvis continued to play hard and how much did they achieve in trying to lead the team back?
"They did. I thought those two guys, and they are still learning, but there are so many things that are happening throughout the game that they are just a little bit clueless on right now, that is a part of being young. It's not their fault at all.
"There were other times in the game, I think it is important to note, I thought the start of the game was casual. There were other parts of the game where we were playing pretty hard, and we just weren't playing good. Sometimes that happens. You are playing hard, giving a good effort, but you just can't make a basket. It's like a baseball guy that is trying to give his best in hitting the ball, and he keeps swinging and missing. We had some of that happening too.
"We were playing hard, but we were playing bad. Combination of all it. It just kind of like when it rained, it poured in just about every category."
What do you need from the four veterans?
"Every team needs their better players. You can say all you want to say, but if Oklahoma State, if they didn't play without Smart, Nash, and whoever, they are a different team. We are a different team without Leslie and Howell, we all know that. Calvin can't do that, it's that simple. You can't get your fourth and then your fifth, it's just real simple. We all got to learn and get better. We have to look in the mirror and everybody has to be willing to be a grown man and accept responsibility. That is part of life, and then respond from there."
What do you want your players to think about on the three-hour flight home?
"Well, the first thing is, they have to think about tonight and we have to get better. Part of life, part of adversity is being able to say, 'My bad, my fault and I'm going to do better, me personally.' It's easy to blame somebody else. That is the easiest thing in life to do, and we have to make sure that doesn't happen.
"We need to look at this. The first thing we need to understand is we are in a different situation this year. If we don't come out and play, everybody is going to be a little more jacked up to play us than they have in the past. You have to respond to that and you have to be able to match that competitive spirit every single night. We have to be able to look at ourselves first.
"We'll get home and we'll ourselves regrouped and get ourselves ready to play Friday night [vs. UNC Asheville]. After Friday night, it's Michigan and UConn back-to-back. Part of playing a great schedule, is you better be ready to play every single night. We have to be able to do that ourselves."