NC State enters its quasi "bye week" on a high after defeating Clemson 58-57 on a last-second three-pointer by senior wing Scott Wood on Sunday.
The Wolfpack return to action Saturday with a home contest against Virginia Tech, who is 11-12 overall and 2-8 in the ACC. The Hokies play at rival Virginia on Tuesday.
NC State coach Mark Gottfried discussed working back star junior point guard Lorenzo Brown back on to the court, and how freshman point guard Tyler Lewis has earned an increase role during his weekly ACC teleconference. Below is a transcript of Gottfried's remarks:
"Well, any time you win a game, you feel a little better about yourself. I'm sure we feel a little better today after yesterday's win at Clemson. I think we also realize we have a long way to go. We have to re-integrate Lorenzo back into how we play, and get everybody else on the same page.
"I think this week where we don't play until Saturday probably comes at a good time for us."
Does freshman point guard Tyler Lewis' role change with Lorenzo Brown back?
"I think so. I think he earned the right to play. He's been very reliable. He's played pretty effective. We obviously need all of our guys. We only have eight scholarship guys. They all need to contribute and play. I think Tyler has earned the right to play."
Did winning a close game at Clemson change the mindset of the team in close games moving forward?
"I'm not sure because I think our team is pretty confident. We had two games where I don't want to say a freak play, but it was a tip in with less than one second twice [at Maryland, vs. Miami] or 0.9 [seconds]. Sometimes, it is just the way the ball bounces. I don't know if we had a lack of confidence, but certainly, when you win, that probably helps. I'm not sure that is that big of a deal."
Is there a key in working Lorenzo Brown back into the lineup?
"I think it is just adjusting, and as I mentioned before, Tyler played so well when he was out that I don't want to put Tyler back on the bench and play 4-to-8 minutes a game again. He has proven that he can help us some.
"You want to get Rodney [Purvis] and T.J. [Warren] playing very well, and Jordan [Vandenberg] off the bench sometimes, and also Tyler. We just need to put that together."
Do you think Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren hit the freshmen wall after going scoreless against Clemson?
"No, no, I think yesterday's game was a unique game because of some matchups. I thought Tyler played really well in the first half there. We went with Tyler more. There have been other games where both Rodney and T.J. played more in the second half. I don't know if that's going to be a pattern for us. Those two games have played awfully well this year."
Will you be playing Brown and Lewis together in the backcourt at times?
"Probably sometimes, but we'll see."
Is Brown comfortable going back to playing off the ball at times?
"He's a point guard, but there is nothing wrong with having two point guards on the floor at the same time because Lorenzo can score. There are some things you gain on the break, those type of things. We'll just kind of see as we move forward. I think they can play together very nicely."
Is having a week off coming at a good time?
"I don't know, but you never plan it. You don't control when the week comes. Whenever it happens, you have to try and take advantage of it. For us, it's the middle of February and we have to be awfully good down the stretch. This does give us some time to mentally get refreshed, and maybe take another day off this week, which we normally wouldn't, just to get a little rest. Probably for us, it's coming at a good time."
Do seasons have streaks like games do?
"Well, sometimes but not always. Things happen throughout the season. It's a long period of time. You have injuries that affect your team. You may have stretches where your schedule becomes very difficult. There are a lot of things that happen throughout the season. I do think that is part of it.
"If you want to be a good team, you have to withstand those type of things and obviously, not have too many lulls. It's hard to go from Nov. 9 to the second weekend in March where you are always playing at a high, high level. That's difficult for all teams."
Anything you do to try to peak in March?
"No. I think if a coach had the corner on that market, he could bottle it and sell it. There is no magic dust that you put on your team at the end to make them play better. Sometimes it is the team's personality. Sometimes it is just where your team is. Last year, our backs were against the wall there I think with four games to go. They responded. There are just so many different factors. I don't know if there is or two things a coach could do to magically play well at the end. We'd all like that, but we aren't good enough to orchestrate that every time."