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January 5, 2013

Mark Gottfried sees positives, negatives in win

NC State coach Mark Gottfried would rather his players learn while winning, but knows there are several areas to improve upon following Saturday's 78-73 victory at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Gottfried fielded a handful of questions following the game on the Wolfpack Radio Network, and expressed that Boston College has definitely improved from last year and were a tough team to play against.

Below is a transcript of what Gottfried said:

What do you think of the win?

"We are happy with the win but not happy with how we played. I think we can play a lot better. I thought at times we were our own worst enemy, whether defensively, taking drives away, losing 3-point shooters. It was just a long list of things we weren't doing very well. We didn't make foul shots and missed a bunch of front ends.

"To say all that, but then we came back late in the game, we executed when we had to, and did a lot of things well enough to win the game. There are a lot of positives, but hopefully, we can learn from this as well."

The Wolfpack shot 21 of 24 from the line in the second half, and made eight straight over last 2:53. How was that?

"It is. Even in the first half, you look at the game, we go 25 for 35, and I'd like to go through the tape. Three or four, maybe five of them were front ends. You are actually missing two-point opportunities. We are missing front ends of one-and-ones, but again, we are ended up making our foul shots late in the game. We did a nice job of slowing down at the foul line. Scott [Wood] obviously got to there a lot, which was good, and Lorenzo [Brown] made a couple.

"I thought our defense at times was really good. We just have to learn how to sustain for longer. That has been the theme for us. Too many times this year, we start the game, for 10 minutes we are running in cement boots. Then all of a sudden, we are going to guard somebody. We jump out there and really play. We just have to get a lot better."

Wood struggled for most of the game, but shook it off at the end of the game to finish strong. Did you calling plays for him show how much confidence you have in him?

"Without a doubt. I've watched him make too many shots every day. I think it's important, we called a timeout and set that play up. Scott gets a lot of credit for making the shot, but that shot doesn't happen without Richard Howell's screen. Richard Howell did a great job, just doing what you are asked to do. He freed Scott up to make that jump shot, which was huge for us. A lot of times the guy that makes the shot gets the glory, but you don't recognize the other guy. A good pass by Lorenzo [Brown], but a great screen by Richard Howell."

How good was Rodney Purvis, who scored 19 points?

"On the road, I like that. He's a player that has a lot of courage. He's learning a lot of things about this level. He's just doing a great job. Today, I just thought he played really hard defensively, and did a nice job. He really gave great effort and got out on the break a couple of times. He really ran the floor well, and a young player getting better.

"Then you look at T.J. [Warren], and he has two or three shots where you say, 'He never misses those.' The guy just never misses those all year, little six-footers, four-footers. It's nice that when maybe T.J. didn't play good, Rodney steps up offensively and defensively, I thought had a terrific game."

How was guarding their small ball lineup and switch screens more than you would like?

"They do, and here is what you have to remember from a year ago if you go back and think, Lonnie Jackson played a lot at the two and even handled the ball some. Now, with [Joe] Rahon and [Olivier] Hanlan, who are two good freshmen guards — Hanlan, boy I like him, No. 21 — now that kind of frees Jackson up and he doesn't have to handle the ball as much. He is free to shoot threes. [Ryan] Anderson is a year older. Big [Dennis] Clifford is really not all the way healthy yet. They are a lot better. We told our players, this is a group that is much improved from last year. They are going to give some people some hard times this year throughout this league."

How much did you try and push the action against BC?

"That was really big. We talked at halftime about being able to a couple, two, three things defensively. One was guard the ball screen better. We had to stop their penetration better and get back. In the first half, we fouled at the end of the shot clock, or we fouled when Anderson would take a tough shot and we put him on the line. Defensively, that is what we had to do.

"Offensively, the No. 1 thing was we had to get running. We had to get moving and running. We had about eight points after about 10 minutes it seemed like. We got almost 50 in the second half, I think 49 in the second half. We wanted the tempo to be much faster and really push and get out in the open court. I thought we did a good job of that."

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