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March 11, 2020

Jeff Capel

Trey McGowens

Xavier Johnson

Greensboro, North Carolina

NC State - 73, Pittsburgh - 58

JEFF CAPEL: First of all, congrats to N. C. State. I think they're a really good basketball team. They play really hard, play together. They're a veteran team. I think they're certainly very, very worthy of an NCAA Tournament bid. You know, Kevin has done a really good job in a short time there with some adversity that had nothing to do with him, and he's been able to assemble talent, develop talent, and play a style and get those guys to fight and play together, so congrats to them.

I'm proud of our team. I think we took a step as a program. Like I just finished telling them, it's been an interesting year. I think at times we did some really, really good things, and I thought we were a good team. And then there were times where we didn't do good things and we were not a good team.

I'm proud how we came here and fought. It could have been easy for us just to maybe want to get the season over with, with losing seven games in a row. But these guys showed that there's something in them. There's a fight, there's a competitive spirit that we have to figure out how to tap into all the time.

So I'm proud of that. Again, I thought we took a step forward as a program. You know, it stinks that it's over. It hurts. But hopefully we can use this, use the pain, use the disappointment to fuel us in our work and our commitment to getting this program back on a national level.

Q. For Xavier or Trey, Coach talked about how you guys showed some fight. From where you were a year ago to now, do you guys feel like you've made real strides in not only your personal game but growing this program and kind of taking the step forward that Coach talked about?
TREY McGOWENS: I mean, yeah, this summer we worked real hard. I mean, of course the season didn't go as planned, but I feel like we got better and made a step in the right direction for the program.

XAVIER JOHNSON: I felt like we worked hard this summer. Everybody came in every day and tried their hardest, but it didn't go as we planned.

Q. For each of you guys, what do you want to work on this summer? What do you think is kind of the biggest thing you want to improve on in your games?
XAVIER JOHNSON: I mean, the main thing is my jump shot. I think my jump shot is still not there to where it has to be at this level.

TREY McGOWENS: Just jump shot, handle, and being a better leader.

Q. Late in the second half, it seemed like you guys, as soon as you were getting the ball into the offensive zone, it seemed like you were pressing the first shot available rather than not necessarily the best shot. Was that what you were thinking out on the floor, too? You've just got to try to make up some points, et cetera?
TREY McGOWENS: I don't think so. I think at the end they only went zone like one or two possessions.

XAVIER JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, they didn't really go zone, so I can't speak on that.

Q. Jeff, you guys were down, I think, six, and they scored five straight possessions, like Devon Daniels got in the lane a couple times for some floaters, a couple of stick backs. What went wrong for you in that sequence?
JEFF CAPEL: I felt like one of the main things was Xavier picked up his fourth foul so he was out of the game, and I thought that threw off the rhythm of what we were doing offensively and defensively. They were able to get in the paint, get easy baskets. You know, they were able to get offensive rebounds. They were able to get some turnovers and attack us in transition. But I thought that was a big key when he picked up his fourth foul. That was a big key for us.

Q. Jeff, just following up on that, when Xavier got the flagrant foul, it really seemed to knock your players back a little bit. State got on a roll. Was there a reason why you saw that they kind of just looked a little aimless for a while on offense trying to find their way back?
JEFF CAPEL: I think if you take anyone's starting point guard off their team, there's going to be a drop. I thought Xavier was doing some good stuff for us. He was getting in the paint. He was creating offense for us. And when he goes out, our offense changes. Some of the things that we run, some of the things that we're able to run, those things change, and so I thought that was a big key.

Q. The shooting percentage kind of dropped off from the first half to the second half. Do you think that had to do, I guess, more with you guys, more their defense?
JEFF CAPEL: Well, I think their defense was good. Again, they're a really good team. I don't want to take anything away from that. But Xavier was out of the game for a good part of it, and I thought that had a lot to do with it, as well. We missed some lay-ups. We missed some stuff around the basket. I think their size, their length and their relentlessness made us maybe peek over our shoulder a little bit instead of concentrating on finishing. But I do think a big part of it was Xavier was out of the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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