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Photo by Steve Murphy/Inside Pack Sports
NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts: "We Found a Way to Get More Connected"

February 3, 2024

NC State head coach Kevin Keatts met with the media following the Wolfpack's 82-76 win over Georgia Tech Saturday evening.

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

Opening Statement

Very proud of our guys and our fight and how we have responded coming back home. We had a little adversity, obviously, about a week and a half ago, and to come back home, in front of another beautiful crowd on a Saturday, a great day … and to step up and play against a really, honestly, a dangerous Georgia Tech team - their three wins are as good as any three wins in this league - and unfortunately, when you look at the quads, because the way our league is being viewed, you got to figure out how not to lose this game and that's so tough because it's a really good basketball team. I thought we were great down the stretch as far as making free throws. I thought D.J. Horne was tremendous, 10-for-11 from the free throw line. I thought Michael [O’Connell] stepped up. We had moments at the end of the first and the beginning of the second where we just didn't play well and we found a way to get more connected and obviously got another good ACC win.

On players following the game plan...

They [Georgia Tech] may be one of the better teams I’ve seen - and this is a compliment to Damon Stoudamire because he coached in the NBA - they pocket feed better than anybody and we wanted to take that away. We had a mixed bag of ball screen defense and we switched some of it. I thought that we were going to be great as far as defending the three-point line and the fact that they made 11, I wanted them to take a lot of them to get to that number. I thought that our guys really followed and understood the scout reports. We are getting better at that and I know that it’s February and we should be better, but it’s a process when you got so many new people and have to get everyone on the same page.

On O’Connell and his presence during the game...

He’s a steady guy that calms you down. I’m upset and everybody else on the floor is upset and the only guy that looks like he is going to win the poker game is Michael and that is what you want in a point guard.

On being comfortable with game rotations...

Mohamed Diarra and Ben Middlebrooks, are doing a good job and we are getting some good energy from L.J. Thomas and Breon Pass or Kam Woods off the bench at times, so those guys are coming in and playing their role and the guys who are starting are doing their job. We are probably playing eight to nine for the bulk of the minutes and two other guys are finding ways to come in and contribute to our team.

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