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November 16, 2012

Mark Gottfried loves seeing pressure defense



NC State men's basketball coach Mark Gottfried simply said he loves it when opposing teams try and press the Wolfpack.

NC State freshman small forward T.J. Warren had 21 points, senior center Richard Howell added 19 points and nine rebounds, and junior point guard Lorenzo Brown finished with 11 points and 10 assists in a 94-76 win over UMass on Friday in the Puerto Rico Tip-off in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The Wolfpack had five players in double figures.

The 3-0 Pack will play Oklahoma State at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.

Below is Gottfried's and Brown's transcripts following the game on the Wolfpack Radio Network:

How effective was NC State against UMass' press?

"We like to be pressed to be real honest. If teams press us with the guards that we have and the scoring capabilities that we have, I think we can find ways to get a lot of baskets. The floor was opened up.

"I thought Lorenzo did a great job of managing the game, running when we needed to run or slowing down when we needed to slow down. He got us into our halfcourt offense when we needed to. That is what you want a premier guard to do. Tyler [Lewis] did as well. Tyler did a nice job. I thought Lorenzo was very good in that regard."

Was the first half your best half of basketball so far?

"I don't know, but we played pretty well. Again, every game is different in that the makeup of the game becomes different. Some teams play where it's a halfcourt game, Penn State obviously [did]. That was a different end of the spectrum. I thought in the first half, we were an efficient basketball team. Efficient offensively, taking good shots and the right shots. Defensively, pretty solid for most of the first half."

What are you most proud of from the game?

"We scored 94 points and we missed 16 foul shots. We should have had 105 or 110 tonight. All we have to do is make a few more foul shots. We are a better foul shooting team than that. We went 16 for 32, and that's not going to get it done.

"At the same time, I like that in a game where you are going to get pressed and the floor is going to open, you have to as a team understand within that game, what is the right shots to take - when to push it and when to pull it out. I thought for the most part, our team did a nice job of doing that."

Do you think there really weren't that many bad decisions?

"No, there really weren't very many. A few times we thought maybe one extra pass could have helped. Very unselfish effort by our team tonight. A lot of different guys stepped up. T.J. Warren off the bench again. You look over here and he went 8 for 11 from the field. He's efficient, making the right plays at the right time.

"Scott Wood, I thought made some big threes and was critical. I thought during the second half we had a stretch where we just wanted to pound it right inside and go at them. They were in a little bit of foul trouble. I thought Richard and Calvin [Leslie] pretty much had their way in there. I thought we did a nice job of getting them the ball inside around the rim."

How is the balanced scoring?

"I like that about our team. That was a great characteristic of our team last year. I think this team is very similar. The open man needs to have the ball. A very unselfish group and these four upperclassmen set the tone. I think they do a nice job of making sure we play that way. The right guys, when they are open, they are getting the ball in their hands."

Did Lorenzo Brown show a veteran-type of move by shaking off last night's game and played well tonight?

"I thought he was really good. We talked today at breakfast. I thought yesterday he tried to force the action too much. You want him to be aggressive, and he wants to be aggressive, but you have to do it within the framework of the flow of the offense. I thought tonight he did a great job of getting us into our offense, and then his scoring opportunities seemed to come. They were there for him. He really managed the game well.

"I loved that he had 10 assists with only three turnovers. Three turnovers in a game where he played a lot of minutes, 34 minutes, against fullcourt pressure, trapping style the entire game. He had 10 assists with only three turnovers in that style of game."

How good will this UMass team be in the A-10 and how good was point guard Chaz Williams?

"He is really tough and they are really good. We got them into some foul trouble around the rim. We put them in a disadvantage. I think they are a team that will win a lot of games. They won 25 last year. I think they are a 20-win team if not more than that, 20-to-25, and I think they have a chance to be an NCAA Tournament team.

"You always look back when you get to the end of the year, and you go back to the beginning when you look at those opponents, what we've always tried to do is make sure we are playing good teams. Playing teams we think will be NCAA Tournament teams. I think UMass will be a really good team next year."

How is playing Oklahoma State for the title Sunday?

"What we are here for, to win it. We are excited about it and we are going to play a really good team. They are playing awfully well. They were impressive today with the way they beat Tennessee. We have to play awfully well Sunday night.

"We'll have the day off, but we'll practice though [Saturday]. We might go to old San Juan a little bit and let these guys see the town a little bit."

***

Lorenzo Brown


Was it a lot of fun out there?

"Yeah, it definitely was. We came in with the mindset of playing great defense. They were a fast-paced team just like us. We play each other every day, so we knew how they were going to play, so we came out with the same intensity as them."

Did you feel like you wanted to set the tone in the first half after the freshmen achieved that in the Penn State game?

"That is how our team works because we have so many options to go to. When one guy isn't playing as well as he should, some other guy on the team is going to pick us up. We need that throughout the whole year."

What does it say that five players scored in double figures but nobody took more than 11 field-goal attempts?

"Definitely, coach always tells us to share the ball. We always play great together. Giving out assists is point like that and that is how it is always going to be there this year."

How difficult was it to guard UMass point guard Chaz Williams and PSU's Tim Frazier in back-to-back games?

"Both of those guys are great players and probably the quickest two guys I've played against. Coach just told us to try and keep them in front of us. I think we did that for the most part throughout the first half. We kind of lacked at that in the second half. We got the win and that's what is important."

Was Williams still quick with the injured ankle?

"Yeah, I don't know how he did that. I thought he'd be out the rest of the game. He's a tough guy."

What option did you enjoy watching tonight?

"T.J. [Warren] is doing a terrific job right now. He knows where to be every time I'm driving to the hole. I can just pass it to him wherever. He just has that IQ to be around the rim. I just like the way he is playing."

Are you a mentor toward Warren?

"Definitely. That's my job this year, is to be the vocal leader. I wasn't that vocal my first two years of my college career. Coach wants me to be more vocal and direct guys on where to go on the plays."

Do you need a day off Saturday?

"I'm just ready to get back to Raleigh and see everybody. I just want to get this trophy and bring it back home."


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