BAYAMON, Puerto Rico — Mark Gottfried put his arm around C.J. Leslies waist at halftime of Sundays 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 Sundays championship game in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Whatever Gottfried said to Leslie didnt work. Leslie, who had three fouls in the first half of Sundays 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.
Leslies 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 didnt say much after the game about Leslies performance and Leslie was not available for comment.
When your better players dont play, and he basically didnt play, youre not going to be nearly as good, Gottfried said. Thats obvious. On top of Calvin (Leslie) not playing a lot, we just couldnt 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 wasnt alone. N.C. States 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 didnt get enough help on screens that Oklahoma State set for Marcus Smart.
All of that doesnt fall on Lorenzo, Gottfried said. I also think he can play a lot better than that on both ends of the floor. I think hes 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.