NC State Basketball

KEATTS: "We Finished The Game The Right Way"

February 20, 2020

NC State head coach Kevin Keatts met with the media following the Wolfpack's 88-66 upset win over No. 6 Duke Wednesday night.

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

“We beat a very good Duke team tonight, and they’re good because they can do everything. They can score inside and out. We had no answer for Vernon Carey, and we knew it coming into the game, but we wanted to do a good job of not letting the other guys beat us from the outside. I thought our guys stepped up completely for the challenge. We had some guys who played really great defense, and guys played in different segments. I thought Devon Daniels really carried us in the first half and got to the hole. One of our game plans was that we wanted to drive the basketball and not settle for threes because after the BC game, we weren’t shooting the three very well. I thought Markell [Johnson], D.J. [Funderburk], and C.J. Bryce finished strong. It’s a very good win for us. It’s a win that we needed because obviously we’d just lost one on the road. I’m excited for our guys. We talked about, in the last couple of days, what a great opportunity this would be, and we stepped up to the challenge.”

“We’re a good basketball team when we’ve got everybody healthy, and we’ve talked about that all year long. The only guy that we don’t have is Pat [Andree], and obviously when we have him back, we’ll have another guy who can shoot the basketball. We just want to build on it. We’d won two road games, and we could have won three road games in a row, and so we had some momentum even though we lost the BC game. I thought our guys accepted coming home and did a great job. Our fans were tremendous tonight. Our students were great. Our fans came out for us. It was a great game for us. It was a tremendous atmosphere, and we won a great game.”

“Markell is always good. There’s not a bad Markell; there’s a great and a good. He was great tonight, and give him credit. I thought in the last couple of days in practice, he’s been the guy that’s been talking. He’s been the guy saying, ‘Let’s come on. Let’s play.’ He’s practiced well in the last couple of days. It carried over to the game, and he was a leader. He was a really good point guard tonight. He got everybody involved, scored when we needed to, played the bulk of the game, and didn’t have that many defensive breakdowns, so I’m proud of him.”

“They're the No. 6 team in the country, and they’re really good. They’ve won seven in a row, so they weren’t just going to lay down, and they fought back. I thought our guys responded well. We went back to driving the basketball. We had a segment when we got up 23 where I thought we played back on our heels and played conservatively. We went back to getting offensive rebounds and attacking the paint, and we made some shots. I thought that made the difference in the game, and I give our guys a lot of credit. As they responded, we responded, and I thought we finished the game the right way.”

“We had no answer for Carey, and I said if [Manny Bates] fouls out, we would go with D.J. at the end, and then I would steal some minutes from Danny [Dixon]. [Bates] was the only guy that could give [Carey] a little problem because of his shot-blocking ability, and unfortunately he fouled out. I was okay with them feeding the post the remainder of the game because we felt like they couldn’t beat us by just going through Carey once we had a big lead, so we wanted to make sure we played one-on-one in the post.”

“I didn’t think we settled. If you look back at the Carolina game, I thought we settled once we got up. We dribbled instead of having ball and player movement. Tonight, we went into it making sure that we ran more sets instead of guys just trying to go one-on-one and make plays. We did that at the end to kill clock, but I wanted guys to run more sets so we could get some plays off and be able to score that way.”

“There could have been a little yelling at [Funderburk] at the half. I’m not saying that it happened, but there could have been. D.J. is such a competitor. Obviously, Vernon Carey is good. I know I’ve said that five times. I know D.J. wanted to play well and Manny wanted to play well. I just thought he responded and made some plays. He came into the game 1-for-12 from three, and he stepped up and made a big three. That’s his last one he’s taking for the year though.”

“What we talked about was getting well. We dropped the game at BC. It just happened that we were playing a team that was above us in the standings, and they were No. 6 in the country, so we had two opportunities. Obviously, one of the opportunities was to get well because we’d just lost, but the second opportunity was to beat a team that’s ranked higher than us in the conference and also a team that’s really good. I don’t really talk about [NCAA Tournament chances] with those guys. We just talk about the next game because I’m not sure they can handle that. If I put pressure on them and say, ‘We have to win this game for your NCAA hopes,’ I’m not sure we’d respond the same way tonight as we did. We just talked about these two opportunities they can take advantage of.”

“You’ve got to let me enjoy tonight. I promise if you call and ask that question tomorrow, I’d give you answer, but there’s no way I’m talking about another team tonight after this great win. We need a little rest, and it’s a short turnaround. I’m going to get with my staff after I leave here and decide what we’re going to do. We’re probably going to take some time and do some yoga tomorrow.”

“We’re happy. There’s no ice cream for a home win. We’re excited. We move to eight wins in the conference, and we move on and get a chance to play again. We celebrated in the locker room as we do every game, but we just move on."

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