Friday, January 15, 2010

Pack tries to dictate pace

As N.C. State seeks a second straight win over a ranked team, coach Sidney Lowe said slowing down will be the key for his players.

At noon Saturday, the Wolfpack (12-5, 1-2 ACC) will play host to No. 24 Clemson (14-3, 2-1). Both teams are coming off big wins.

N.C. State stunned No. 25 Florida State 88-81 on Tuesday in Tallahassee, Fla. Clemson crushed 12th-ranked North Carolina 83-64 on Wednesday in Clemson. The Tigers forced 26 North Carolina turnovers and are leading the ACC with 11.2 steals per game.

Under coach Oliver Purnell, Clemson plays a frenetic, full-court pressure defense.

"They do a great job of speeding up the game," Lowe said Friday during his weekly news conference. ". . .They force their opponents to speed up the game, and a lot of teams can't play that way."

Lowe hopes his players won't try. He's trying to get his players to slow down mentally and physically when they face the press.

During practice he showed his players where each of Clemson's traps come in a pressure defense that's called a "diamond trap." Lowe demonstrated which options will be open when Clemson traps.

Lowe also had his players practice against six defenders to simulate the intense pressure Clemson will bring.

"While they're trying to be going at one pace, we need to be going at a different pace," Lowe said. ". . .While they're speeding up our minds, we need to be able to slow our minds down."

The second key against Clemson's defense will be finding a quick way to score once N.C. State gets the ball over halfcourt. Because breaking the press usually eats away time on the 35-second clock, there's not a lot of time to work the ball around to look for a great shot.

"We've worked on some things we can get into quick to execute," Lowe said.

Ken Tysiac