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March 11, 2020

Kevin Keatts

C.J. Bryce

Devon Daniels

Derek Funderburk

Greensboro, North Carolina

NC State - 73, Pittsburgh - 58

KEVIN KEATTS: I'll start. I thought our guys did a tremendous job of -- let's give Pitt a lot of credit. I think what Jeff is doing there in his second year is really good. Obviously it's tough as we've seen in our program to continue to build a culture and a program. That being said, I thought our guys in the second half, we won the game because we completely defended better than we did in the first. We started off well and then at the end of the half, certainly because we stopped making shots, we stopped defending.

Some of the keys to our game and our success today was we were able to get out in transition. We were able to make some shots. We were able to get some player and ball movement against the zone, and certainly that helped us get a win.

These guys here and the guys in the locker room did a tremendous job. It's always tough playing your first game, even though you're playing against a team that played the day before and they may be a little bit tired, but obviously that first game is always tough in the tournament, and I thought our guys did a tremendous job and we can obviously survive and advance.

Q. C.J., after Duke's success against you guys with zone, did you figure you'd see some more of that today and probably obviously again tomorrow, and did you feel like you guys handled that, some better looks today out of that?
C.J. BRYCE: Yeah, I felt like for a couple minutes we got a little stagnant. We figured that they would play zone coming in after such a quick turnaround. But I feel like we got our shots, we got our open looks and we knocked them down tonight.

Q. For the players, Coach mentioned that you guys struggled on offense late in the first half. Devon, you were out with two fouls at this point, but I'd like to know what you guys thought contributed to the lack of success offensively. For about four or five minutes there you lost your 10-point lead.
DEVON DANIELS: I feel like we got stagnant like on offense. I feel like we started getting really aggressive on defense and were getting a lot of steals, a lot of deflections, not getting easy baskets. At the end of the half I feel like we got a little stagnant when they went in zone, weren't looking for our shots enough, and I feel like we turned it around in the second half.

Q. Devon, I know Coach prefers you to go hard to the rim rather than take the floater, but it was working for you tonight. Was that just a product of the zone and what was available or did you just kind of feel that?
DEVON DANIELS: Yeah, I started off going hard to the right, but when they went in the zone, their big man was down giving me space to operate like in the middle area, so I just read the defense and the floater was open, so the touch was there today.

Q. Do you feel an extra pressure with the NCAA Tournament stuff swirling around or do you just go play?
DEVON DANIELS: Honestly, I don't think our team is really too focused like on the outside talk. Inside the locker room we're just focused on one game at a time. We know we can't go where we want to go, like unless we take care of the game at hand, so we're just taking it one game at a time.

C.J. BRYCE: What Devon said, just taking it one game at a time. We can't control the future. Obviously it's at the back of our heads, and that's obviously the ultimate goal to be playing for, but one game at a time, and we'll get ready for the game tomorrow.

Q. Adding on to that with the NCAA Tournament, do you guys feel your resume has kind of spoken for itself so far leading up to today, and how much does that Duke game tomorrow add on to that?
C.J. BRYCE: I feel like up to this point we have pretty good wins on our resume, but that's something that we're not really focused on right now. We're trying to win the conference championship, and we'll get ready for this game tomorrow.

Q. C.J., you guys have at times had trouble putting two really good games together; what do you do to kind of be a little bit more consistent and try to get this kind of effort here tomorrow?
C.J. BRYCE: Just pay attention to the details. We've obviously played all these teams before in the conference. I think we play Duke tomorrow, so we had that loss to them last time, so go in there with we want to get this win and not just for it being Duke, but like I said, we want to continue to advance, win and advance in the conference.

Q. For both players, you guys have seen Duke twice pretty recently. You played today, you won, you've got some momentum. They were off. Will that maybe help you get to a quicker start against them tomorrow? What do you see in tomorrow's quarterfinals match-up?
DEVON DANIELS: I feel like if we played or we didn't play, we're going to have to come out focused and energized. We're going to have to lock into the game plan and the scouting report we're just going to have to go out there and compete and play with a lot of energy.

C.J. BRYCE: We've just got to play our game, stick to the game plan. We've beat this team before, so we definitely have confidence that we can do it. We've just got to get it done tomorrow.

Q. The NCAA just came out with another statement saying they're now recommending against games being played with the public in attendance. I'm not asking you guys to be epidemiologists, but what's your reaction to the eventuality of playing in empty stadiums?
KEVIN KEATTS: I don't think these guys are ready to answer that. I'll take that if you want me to take it, but I don't think they're prepared to answer that question. Look, we've got to -- it's a serious problem, and it's not an athletic problem. It's a problem all across the country, and so I don't think anybody here or anybody in the sports world should obviously complain about what the people that know what's going on will decide to do.

In our situation, we'll play wherever they tell us, but we also want to make sure that our kids and our coaches are all protected and are safe. I don't really have a true answer other than I'm not the smartest guy when it comes to this. I'm going to listen to the people that's above us, and wherever they tell us to go, wherever they tell us to play, or if it's fans or not fans, we'll do it.

Q. Kevin, was it good to see the zone today to prepare you for tomorrow, or will Mike play 3D chess and come out and play man tomorrow?
KEVIN KEATTS: You know, it's crazy because I told our guys that I figured that if we played Wake or Pitt, there's an opportunity for us to play against the zone, and the reason being is because in a tournament situation, when you play the day before, you don't have time to really go over people's sets. You don't want to go on the floor because you don't want to take people's legs.

So our anticipation is that we're going to see some zone from everybody that we play as we continue to advance.

But it was good to see it. I thought in the first half we were non-aggressive towards when they went to the zone, and we talked about at halftime continuing to drive and ball screening, and we got shots, and then we talked about offensive rebounding and I thought we did a good job.

So it was good to see it. I have no idea what they're going to play tomorrow. I anticipate that we're going to see some zone and some man-to-man.

Q. One of the things that hurt you when they went to the zone last time was their ability to get out on the break. I think they got 25 fast break points. Thoughts about your transition defense heading into this game?
KEVIN KEATTS: Yeah, I don't disagree with you. I think one of the things that hurt us when they went to the zone, we didn't make shots. Like we got wide-open shots. When I went back and watched the tape, we didn't make shots.

That being said, because we didn't make shots is where this team has to get better and grow because sometimes -- and we're not the only ones around the country, when you don't score, typically your defense struggles. We gave them run-outs, we gave them offensive rebounds, we didn't rely on our defense. When we keep people in the half court, we're very productive on the defensive end. But I didn't like it, you're right. We gave up 25 points in transition. We have to be way better. They're one of the better transition teams in the country.

Q. Champagnie for Pitt, he had 31 yesterday, you held him to just nine today on 4 of 13 shooting. Was there a conscious effort to a certain way you wanted to defend or attack him or force him into certain things?
KEVIN KEATTS: No, he's a good player. He played a great game yesterday, and we just concentrated on defending the way we did. I sit there and watched him, I was proud -- I did tell our guys that he had 31 yesterday and played great. But I thought we did a really good job not just on him but most of their guards, forcing them into tough shots. Even the shots they made were tough shots.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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