To foul or not to foul? Gottfried wouldn't change end-game strategy

From staff reportsJanuary 18, 2013 

N.C. State had two fouls to give at the end of Wednesday's game at Maryland.

Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried used one of the fouls and he said Friday that he thought he used what was the best strategy to win the game.

Maryland's Alex Len scored off a Pe'Shon Howard miss with 0.9 seconds left for a 51-50 win, but Gottfried was pleased with the shot his defense forced Howard to take.

"The truth of the matter is, Pe'Shon Howard took an off-balance, awful shot and shot an airball, which is what you would want to have," Gottfried said.

"The tough thing was the airball went right in front of the basket, which was perfect for Len."

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas disagreed with Gottfried's strategy. During the game, Bilas advocated N.C. State using both fouls.

"You make them inbound a few times and you have more of a chance that they're going to turn the ball over or make a mistake," Bilas said during the broadcast with 12.4 seconds left in the game.

N.C. State had four team fouls at that point. Gottfried had guard Lorenzo Brown foul Howard with 5.2 seconds left, for the team's fifth foul. Instead of going for another foul (the one-and-one bonus doesn't kick in until the seventh team foul), Gottfried trusted his defense.

Gottfried said he didn't want to risk giving Maryland a shooting foul and sending them to the foul line for a chance to win the game.

"I thought we handled it correctly, we just didn't get a stop with 5 seconds to go, bottom line," Gottfried said.

Howard drove to the left baseline and took a twisting shot over Brown, and forwards Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie, who both came over to help contest the shot.

After Len's putback, Bilas said during the broadcast that N.C. State should have fouled again and even referenced N.C. State's 1983 national championship in the process.

"N.C. State made a huge mistake not fouling there," Bilas said during the broadcast. "You make them inbound it again.

"Allowing them that much time, you give them time for an offensive rebound. ... I mean, in 1983, Lorenzo Charles got one of those to win the national championship."

Gottfried, who worked at ESPN for two years before taking the State job, said he understood Bilas' comments.

"Let me say this as a former guy who sat in that seat: It's easy to make a suggestion and your suggestion is always right, as mine were when I worked for ESPN," Gottfried said. "I had every answer."

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service