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NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts: "We've Got To Flush It"

December 2, 2022

NC State head coach Kevin Keatts met with the media following the Wolfpack's 68-60 loss versus Pittsburgh Friday evening.

NOTE: Click on the video in the player above to watch Keatts’ press conference.

Opening Statement

We didn’t play well or sharp offensively. You can look at the numbers, and I think, at times because the ball wasn’t going in the hole for us, it affected us on the defensive end. It was one of those gritty games where you’ve got to figure out how to win the game, especially when the ball isn’t going in. When you look at our team, what’s made us special this year is that we’ve been consistent and have four guys in double figures, and tonight we didn’t have that. I thought we had some good play from D.J. [Burns]. I thought he came in and did a good job. I thought Terquavion [Smith] carried us early in the game, but a couple of our guys never really got into a flow, and offensively we struggled. When we struggled, I thought we gave up some easy baskets on the other end. Obviously, today’s kids, when the ball is not going in offensively, sometimes it affects you on the defensive end. We’ve gotta get back in the gym and get better. We’ll work on some things. I have to stand up, take accountability, and get us better on the offensive end, and we’ll figure out how to make some shots. It wasn’t our night offensively tonight.

On Pitt's defensive performance versus Jarkel Joiner...

Not to take away from Pitt’s defense, [but] I thought we missed shots. I remember looking out there at the game as we played, and some of the shots that he normally would make, even his drives to the rim, he didn’t finish. Surely, give them credit because they won the game, and I thought it was a slugfest, and they won the game that way, but I just thought we missed a lot of easy shots that we normally would make.

On Casey Morsell not getting many open looks...

They did a good job getting back in transition. A lot of Casey’s shots have come with him running the floor and getting out in transition. I thought they stayed at home. When you’re shooting the ball as well as he is, they did a good job of staying at home. The reason we got so many open looks to our post guys as we rolled was because they stayed with our shooters a lot.

On whether he thought NC State took too many threes...

No, that's who we are. For example, I thought Jack [Clark] got some great looks. None of them looked good as they came off. Certainly, [Smith] was hot early from three and made some shots. It was a weird night for us offensively, and we weren’t clicking as much as I’d hoped we would be. Like I said, we’ve got to get back in the gym, and we’ve got to get some shots up.

On whether this is a game that having older players may help going forward…

We’ve got no choice. We’ve got to move on. The great thing about this is that, while unfortunately we lost our ACC opener, we’ve got 19 more of them to play. We’ve got to figure out how to get it back on the other end. It doesn’t define us. It was a good game. Give Pitt credit. We’ve just got to go to work and get ready for our next game and then our next one after that.

On if the defense has an impact on the offense…

We hope we play better than we have been playing offensively. You feel bad for our guys because everything had gone well for them offensively this season. We've had great numbers against great teams when you talk about playing against Kansas, Butler, and Dayton, and tonight, for whatever reason, we didn’t shoot the ball well. We have to make each shot.

On if he was happy with Joiner’s shots…

If you look back on all of Jarkel’s shots he has taken all year long. He just missed some, and he is normally pretty good with his pull-up. He didn’t make those, and typically, he would make it to the free-throw line, but he didn’t have many opportunities there. He missed his three-point shots.I know him, and many guys will get to the gym later on. It’s not a mandatory thing, but I know those guys, and they will be working on their shot. We’ve got to flush it. We have to figure out what we did offensively and get better defensively. We have to get back to work and get ready for Coppin [State].

On the heavy ACC schedule coming up…

Our home opener here, we wanted to win it. It's an ACC game, and you know how important these are, but at the end of the day, you can’t put your head down. We've got a lot more basketball to play. We have had a really great start to our season, and as I have told the guys in the locker room, don’t let one loss define us. We didn’t let the Kansas lost define us. We moved on, and we’ve got to do the same thing with this one.

On what he says to Joiner and Clark’s after poor shooting...

“We're very encouraging. One thing about guys that miss shots that normally make them, they're not trying to miss, and so we are trying to give them as much confidence as we can. We're asking them to do other things to affect the game. One thing I told Jack, because he has been our best rebounder: Go in there and get you an easy basket, or go in there and get you an offensive rebound. It’s something to get you going. It's amazing how it works: you get an easy basket, and then get to the free-throw line to make a shot. All of a sudden, you’ve got your shots going on. I’m telling those guys to do a couple of other things to impact the game.

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