After losing the first three road games of the season by a combined total of 83 points, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said his team “took a big step forward” in a 74-66 loss at Boston College on Wednesday.
“I’m proud of them,” Gottfried said. “I told our team we got better tonight. We took a big step forward. Now, we don’t have a win to show for it, and that hurts, and I feel bad for our players, but we took a step forward and did a lot of things better.”
The Wolfpack (12-5, 1-3 ACC) turned the ball over 17 times and couldn’t stop Boston College guards Jerome Robinson (24 points) and Ky Bowman (19 points).
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But compared with a 107-56 loss at North Carolina on Sunday, Gottfried said, his team got better. When asked whether he realized that most fans would not interpret a loss at Boston College, which had lost 19 of its previous 20 ACC games, as progress, Gottfried said: “Don’t care. Don’t care if you do. Hell, I don’t really give a (expletive) if anybody does. We got better tonight.”
Gottfried pointed out that Boston College, which lost at home earlier in the season to Nicholls State and Hartford, had wins over Syracuse and Providence. He called the Eagles (9-8, 2-2 ACC) a “good team.”
He also pointed out that three of N.C. State’s first four ACC games were on the road. The Wolfpack has lost all three of those and its only nonconference road game, at Illinois, on Nov. 29.
“I know our team got better, and we’re going to keep getting better and go from there,” Gottfried said.
When asked in which specific areas he thought his team improved, Gottfried said: “We fought through adversity tonight, we defended better, we ran our offense better — as long as we don’t turn the ball over — we executed things much better than we have.”
The main problem was the turnovers. N.C. State had 26 in Sunday’s loss in Chapel Hill and 10 in the second half on Wednesday.
“We just can’t turn the ball over 17 times; that was the difference,” Gottfried said.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio