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NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts: "Our Defense Didn't Travel"

February 27, 2024

NC State head coach Kevin Keatts met with the Wolfpack Sports Network radio crew to discuss the Pack's 90-83 road loss to Florida State Tuesday evening.

NOTE: Click on the player above to listen to Keatts’ interview.

On the reasons why the Wolfpack lost...

You can't give up 90 points. I mean, we gave up 90 points, and I don't know that, in ACC play, we had given up 90 points. We did a poor job of understanding the defensive scouting report: no middle drives, paint-touch team, not a very good three-point-shooting team. We held those guys five [threes]. It was right around right around the average,15 points in there, and only 11 made free throws. We did a poor job of ball-screen coverage and also giving up paint touches. When you look at the game — 46 points in the paint — when you score 83 points, you should be to come out here with a win, and certainly we didn't do a good job. Our defense didn’t travel, and that's the tough part about tonight. Our defense has been pretty good on the road thus far, and tonight, we didn't do it.

On transition defense...

We didn't do a good job of matching up. The one thing we talked about is sprinting back, stopping the basketball. We were in a lot of scramble mode. Give Florida State a lot of credit; when we scored, even then on made baskets, they got the ball out as quick as they could and kind of pushed it at us. Our keys on our defensive end: no middle penetration, get back, and transition which I didn't think we did well. We just didn't guard. This has been a good guarding team, but this was one of those games where we tried to outscore a team instead of defending. This team has been able to hold their on their own on the defensive end and do a really good job, but tonight we weren't very good defensively.

If he feels the offense played well enough…

I thought we did some good things. Early in the first half, we were kind of rushing some things. Their pressure sped us up a little bit. The problem that we had is we didn't do a good job. Once we settled in, we made shots. We got out in transition and adapted. Eighty-three points was good enough. We just didn't do a good job. Like I said, when you're on the road, you can't outscore people, and I thought we tried to outscore them.

On getting the team going in a road environment…

It's one of those deals where you've got to block that out. I look at that as probably a plus for us. There's no crowd that can really get them going. It's so tough to win on the road, and when your defense doesn't travel, it doesn't help you. I talk about this all the time: the team who comes out ready to play at 12 noon or 9 p.m., it's typically the team that comes out on top, and we didn't do a good job.

On what Florida State did to hold D.J. Burns scoreless…

I thought Ben [Middlebrooks] and Mo [Diarra] obviously gave us a little bit more tonight. I didn't think it was a great game for [Burns]. They scratched everything they typically do, and they just went to ball screens. It was a tough situation for him to be able to score, and so we decided to go with those other guys.

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