Winston-Salem, NC - Deacons Illustrated spoke with coaches and players, following Wake Forest's 76-40 loss to NC State.
Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik
Opening statement: "So we went from second half of the Maryland game scoring 40 points, shooting 56-percent from the floor to this, so why did that happen? Well, first of all give NC State some credit. They just physically hit us every time we went to move combined with the fact that we absolutely had no offensive intensity."
"We [had] the same offensive sets that went from what I just described to this, but we weren't cutting hard to get open. We weren't screening, reading screens, using screens, setting screens, and we were kind of walking through our offense. That's not going to work, simply isn't going to work, and then we dribble too much and then dribble the ball out of bounds and dribble, dribble, dribble and not enough cutting, screening and moving and moving the ball and looking inside, so we start getting married to jacking up threes."
"When you're doing that on offense and struggling to score it slowly just wears on you defensively. For as bad as we were there midway through the first half if we had just executed, knocked down some shots and just finished around the rim better we would have been right there, but it just kept getting away from us and away from us and away from us."
This team depends largely on what Travis McKie and C.J. Harris can give you. Tonight they both were a little bit off. Is that because State took them away from you, or did they just not play that well? "I think State did a good job, but then we weren't doing a good job to get them open by executing what we were supposed to do and moving the ball, and they're leaving others open to shoot the ball and they've got to make shots too. They've got to contribute, and they're on scholarship. It's just a total team deal here."
Jeff, you called a lot of timeouts where you tried to reset, and then your team came out and sort of walked through it again. How concerned are you about a performance like this? "Well, I can tell you this we're all staying here and they're watching the film with me as soon as I'm done with all of this. We've got a great group of guys, and I don't know why we did what we did offensively today. I don't know what to say, I really don't. You can ask them."
Coach, there were a lot of turnovers taking place out of your backcourt. Would you speak on that and what needs to be done to bring those down? "Well, first of all I'm going to address the question before about 'am I worried about it?' No, I'm not worried about it. This is a team that really wanted to do well. I think they just got frustrated to the point where they got so frustrated that it just got the best of them, because it's a young team."
"They didn't really know how to handle that, and during the timeouts I was calm from the standpoint, 'That guys this is what needs to be done here: execute, set screens and you can't walk through offense.' We talk about defensive intensity, there has to be offensive intensity where you're cutting hard and reading how they're playing you and v-cutting to get open. I can vividly remember several plays where we're just walking to get the ball, and they're denying us. You've got to set your man up and cut hard, catch it, rip it, set screens, use screens. I just think it got the best of them, because they want to do well."
"As far as the turnovers are concerned it becomes I'm going to rescue us, and we start dribble, dribble, dribble and that makes things worse. There were four times I think we dribbled the ball out of bounds, or dribbled the ball into a big crowd instead of making good decisions and not getting so deep just born out of frustration when things aren't going well offensively and you're struggling to score. You break away from the offense. You break away from having the offense manufacture shots, then you try to manufacture shots on your own, and it just gets worse."
Wake Forest guard Chase Fischer
Coach said you all had a good practice yesterday, and things seemed to be upbeat. What happened today? "We did have a great practice yesterday, and we got home from Maryland. It was just tough traveling there, and we had a hard fought game there, but we had a great practice, great energy coming into this game. I just think some days this happens. We just had no energy, no offensive flow. I think we didn't cut hard, didn't screen hard, didn't get anyone open, and I think that a lot of turnovers, a lot of things just piled up. That's what happens."
Do you think guys just got frustrated when shots weren't going in, and tried to do too much and that led to mistakes? "Yeah, I think a little bit, a little sense of urgency we got down about 10 and just couldn't climb back in there. People were trying to make plays on their own when we need to come together as a team, share the ball, move the ball and I think that's how you cut into leads. No one person should try to cut into the lead, but we just need to keep working, keep positive and I think we can bounce back from this."
Wake Forest forward Travis McKie
What comes to mind when it comes to describing the performance you guys had today? "Just disappointing, the first two games we came out with a lot of energy and a lot of production. I'm disappointed in myself as a leader, because I lead this team and a lot of it comes down to me and I didn't play well."
Travis, their coach challenged them after their game on Wednesday to play better defense. Did you kind of see an intensity on their part that you maybe weren't expecting defensively? "They played defense like everybody else played defense in this conference, and it just came down to us not having it on offense. We didn't come out aggressive on offense. We were kind of lackadaisical out there, running through the motions, so we definitely have to watch the film and get better."
Wake Forest guard C.J. Harris
Can you look at the way they kind of rose to that [coach's] challenge and kind of say, 'we need to do the same kind of thing?' "We're going to have to, or we going to keep getting embarrassed. I think we need to correct the things now before it affects the rest of the season."
Ty Walker seems to be carrying himself differently. How big of a deal is what he's doing now, and the fact that he's done it several games in a row? "Great, he's a senior. He knows that his times playing here are limited, so he's giving all he has. He's matured a lot. He's being a great teammate out there, and it's really helping us."
Wake Forest center Ty Walker
It seems like you're one of the few bright spots on this team lately, had a good game at Maryland, and then today you were playing hard. What happened out there? Were people just zoned out? "I have no idea. I'm just shocked. Everybody was flat. It just feels like 'Oh we're losing, okay nobody's going to do anything about it.' I'm just out of it. I can't believe it happened."
Did it feel like last year all over again? "It really did. That's what upset me the most, because I feel as if we took significant strides transitioning from last year to this year, so taking that step back and resorting back to that is not a good sign. We need to like Coach Bzdelik said watch this film, address the issues, nip this in the bud, and we got to get ready for Duke."
NC State head coach Mark Gottfried
Opening statement: "Well, let me start off and say that was a good team win for us. We did not play the way that we felt like we could play in our last game, so I think our guys responded. The message for our team is we've got to play our potential regardless of who we're playing. We've got to do things the way we're teaching every day offensively, defensively, so that was a takeaway from today."
"I think we played the game for us the way that I would like our team to play, so good win for us."
How'd you think C.J. Williams did at responding to that challenge? "Very well, I do. I think he was mentally really zoned in, and I think he accepted that challenge. Again you you've got to remember that Harris and McKie they're averaging 18 and 17, 35 points between the two of them."
"Scott [Wood] was very good defensively as well, but the way they played and the way we subbed it's not always going to be just one guy. Lorenzo [Brown] had to guard Harris a lot, and did a nice job as well. I think collectively they all did a very nice job."