NC State coach Sidney Lowe said battling fullcourt pressure defense can be as much mental as physical.
The Wolfpack host No. 24-ranked Clemson at noon Saturday at the RBC Center. The Tigers are known for their fullcourt press, and caused 26 turnovers in their recent 83-64 win over North Carolina on Wednesday. Clemson has created 23 or more turnovers in seven out of its 17 games this season. The Tigers have created 190 steals (11.2 per game) and forced 328 turnovers (19.3).
Lowe said players often speed up their mind during frantic games against teams like Clemson, and that is what causes turnovers.
"They get you going at a certain pace so your mind starts going at a certain pace, and you start doing everything fast. What we talked about is while they're going at one pace, we need to be going at a different pace, at a slower pace. That means when we catch the ball, we don't catch it and put it down.
"You catch it, turn and look and make the next pass. That guy catches, turns and looks, makes the next pass and that's what we have to do. While they are speeding up our minds, we need to be able to slow our minds down and really see what is happening out there."
The dual point guard alignment with fifth-year senior Farnold Degand at shooting guard, and junior Javier Gonzalez and sophomore Julius Mays at point guard, has been effective at times against fullcourt presses. Both Marquette and Florida featured the press at various times.
NC State used six players in practice to try and simulate what they'll face against Clemson.
"We show where the traps are coming from, and we stop it, to have the guys turn around with the ball to look where his receivers were," Lowe said. "We really tried to slow it down and break it down for our guys because that's really going to be the key, they're forcing about 19 turnovers a game and we can't do that.
"Now, when we get across half-court, we have to be able to get into something quickly and we worked on a couple things that we can get into quick to execute."
NC State (12-5, 1-2 ACC) at Clemson (14-3, 2-1 ACC)
Game time: Saturday, Jan. 16, Noon - RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C.
PG - 10 Javi Gonzalez (5-11, Jr., 10.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.3 spg)
SG - 12 Farnold Degand (6-3, R-Sr., 5.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.4 apg)
SF - 15 Scott Wood (6-7, Fr., 8.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.8 apg)
PF - 31 Dennis Horner (6-9, Sr., 13.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.2 bpg)
C - 23 Tracy Smith (6-8, Jr., 16.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.1 bpg)
PG - 2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, Jr., 11.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.4 spg)
SG - 5 Tanner Smith (6-5, Soph., 10.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.4 spg)
SF - 15 David Potter (6-6, Sr., 7.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.6 spg)
PF - 35 Trevor Booker (6-7, Sr., 15.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.3 bpg)
C - 45 Jerai Grant (6-8, Jr., 6.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg)
Location: Clemson, S.C.
2008-09 record: 23-9 overall, 9-7 ACC
2009 postseason: Lost 62-59 to Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament
Coach: Oliver Purnell, seventh year at Clemson 131-80, and 22nd year overall (387-271)
The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 95-45
Last meeting: Clemson won 63-51 on Jan. 10, 2009, in Clemson
Clemson: Clemson upset then No. 12-ranked Butler on Nov. 28, but have also posted losses against Texas A&M (Nov. 26), Illinois (Dec. 2) and Duke (Jan. 3). The Tigers mustered only 12 points in the first half in the 74-53 loss to the Blue Devils to open ACC action … Purnell is one of seven active Division I coaches to record a 20-win season at four different Division I schools - Radford, Old Dominion, Dayton and Clemson … Trevor Booker, a senior, has been joined by his freshman younger brother Devin Booker, who is a 6-8 reserve power forward. Trevor Booker has 28 career double-doubles for points and rebounds, which ranks sixth all-time at Clemson. He is also 10th all-time in scoring with 1,496 points, fifth all-time with 936 rebounds, and fourth with 226 career blocks … Backup sophomore point guard Andre Young has provided a spark off the bench, and is fourth in scoring with 8.0 points per game, and is shooting 38.2 percent, which is third on the team … Former NC State target, Noel Johnson, a wing, is averaging 5.5 points per game off the bench, and is shooting 39.1 percent from the three-point line.
NC State: NC State's win over No. 25-ranked Florida State was the Wolfpack's first ACC road win over a ranked opponent since the 2006-2007 season … Wood is averaging 12.8 points per game and is shooting 26 of 54 (48.1 percent) from three-point range over his last eight games. He has made 23 three-pointers over the last six games, and at least two in seven straight … NCSU has outscored or tied its opponents in the second half in 12 of the 17 games, including nine of the last 11 … The Wolfpack have gone 83 of 205 from three-point land for 40.5 percent in their 12 wins, but 27 of 94 for 28.7 percent in their five losses … Smith is seventh in the ACC in scoring, fifth in rebounding and fourth in field-goal percentage (53.8) … Degand made his first start of the season in place of sophomore C.J. Williams at shooting guard. The Wolfpack have had the same starting lineup in 14 of the 17 games, making changes in two others due to injury or Smith's one-game suspension at Arizona.