N.C. State Notebook

Unfortunately for N.C. State, Leslie looks like old self

jgiglio@newsobserver.comNovember 18, 2012 

Puerto Rico NC State Oklahoma State Basketball

NC Stateís Richard Howell, left, battle for a rebound against Oklahoma Stateís Phil Forte during a NCAA college basketball game in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)


— Mark Gottfried put his arm around C.J. Leslie’s waist at halftime of Sunday’s game with Oklahoma State.

The second-year N.C. State coach tried to take a positive approach with his junior star, who had only two points in the first half of Sunday’s championship game in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Whatever Gottfried said to Leslie didn’t work. Leslie, who had three fouls in the first half of Sunday’s 76-56 loss to the Cowboys, picked up two fouls on the same sequence.

With 17 minutes, 6 seconds left in the game, Leslie picked up his fourth foul. He protested the call to referee Kipp Kissinger and picked up the technical, which also counts as a personal, to go with it.

Leslie’s final line: 1-5 from the floor, 0-2 from the free-throw line, two points, four rebounds and two turnovers in 17 minutes.

Gottfried didn’t say much after the game about Leslie’s performance and Leslie was not available for comment.

“When your better players don’t play, and he basically didn’t play, you’re not going to be nearly as good,” Gottfried said. “That’s obvious. On top of Calvin (Leslie) not playing a lot, we just couldn’t seem to make a shot, either.”

Leslie has made tremendous progress under Gottfried and has emerged as one of the best players in the ACC. But the old Leslie showed up on Sunday. He wasn’t alone. N.C. State’s four veteran starters – Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood and Richard Howell – combined for 20 points and went a collective 7 for 31 from the floor.

“Their top six guys can score in so many different ways,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “We took them out of the areas where they like to score.”

Brown in particular struggled on defense and finished the game with seven turnovers, with only one assist. Marcus Smart scored 18 points in the first half, mostly while Brown was guarding him.

Smart said he noticed Brown going under ball screens, which gave him more room to shoot.

“They were daring me to shoot the ball,” Smart said. “I had to make them respect me and play honest.”

Gottfried said Brown didn’t get enough help on screens that Oklahoma State set for Marcus Smart.

“All of that doesn’t fall on Lorenzo,” Gottfried said. “I also think he can play a lot better than that on both ends of the floor. I think he’s lot better than he played tonight.”

Notes: Both Leslie and Howell fouled out. That only happened in one game, the loss at Duke. … N.C. State went 8 of 16 from the free-throw line. In three games in Puerto Rico, the Pack was 36 of 65.

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