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January 12, 2009

NCSU hopes to avoid 'self-inflicted wounds'

Turnovers is one of the direct correlations in NC State's four losses this season.

NC State committed a season-high 19 turnovers against Davidson in the 72-67 loss on Dec. 6. The Wolfpack committed 18 turnovers apiece in the three losses to Marquette, Florida and Clemson.

NCSU averages just 11.1 turnovers in the nine wins. The Wolfpack are at their best when they pass the ball well and don't give away scoring opportunities.

"We have to keep doing what we are doing and do it better, really," NC State coach Sidney Lowe said. "To continue to put emphasis on it and doing things in practice like we have been doing to try and prevent guys from making those turnovers."

The Tigers created several unforced turnovers Saturday to pull away for a 63-51 victory.

"A lot of it was just poor decision making, really," Lowe said. "They weren't strong with the ball and making the simple pass. Not to take anything away from the other team, but a lot of it was self-inflicted that we put on ourselves. We just have to concentrate a little harder and be more conscious of it. We have to value the basketball."

NC State will get another challenge with Florida State coming to town Tuesday at the RBC Center. The Seminoles thrive on creating turnovers, led by perennial thief leader Toney Douglas at point guard. Douglas has collected 32 steals in 16 games, plus has added 16 blocks.

"He is a very good on the ball defender," Lowe said. "He has quick hands and he has his hands on you and really bothering you all the time. We have to protect the basketball, and do some things to relieve some of that pressure, like bringing a big back to help out and set some screens.

"Our point guards have to handle the ball. We can't have other players leading us in turning the ball over. That is what gets us in trouble."

Lowe said the turnovers helped mask the defense and effort NC State displayed against Clemson.

"I think our guys played pretty hard down there in Clemson," Lowe said. "It was a tough game. Our defense was real solid, but we had a tough time making shots. I was pleased with our effort and we have a tough one on Tuesday."

Florida State has forced 17 or more turnovers in six of its games, and 13 or more in all but two.

Conversely, the Seminoles are also prone to turning the ball over with eight games with 17 or more turnovers, including 24 against Tennessee Tech and 22 vs. Northwestern. Only two players - guard Luke Loucks and wing Jordan DeMercy - have more assists than turnovers for the Seminoles.

Douglas leads the Seminoles with 18.4 points per game and 42 assists, but also 46 turnovers.

"You don't see too many of their guys trying to do something they aren't capable of doing," Lowe said. "Those guys play within themselves and the ball gets to the right poeple. Douglas has the green light to go at any time."


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