If you want to blame someone for N.C. State's collapse at Clemson, don't blame coach Sidney Lowe.
That's what senior forward Tracy Smith said after the Wolfpack players cleared the air with a team meeting early Thursday morning. It's the players' responsibility to protect a 19-point lead, Smith said, not the coach's.
"It's more our fault," Smith said. "We're the ones out there playing. We got the lead and we lost the lead."
State, 2-4 in the ACC heading into Saturday's game at UNC, built a 31-12 lead at Clemson on Tuesday with 6 minutes left in the first half. Over the final 26 minutes, the Pack fell apart, scoring only 19 more points and losing 60-50.
Smith, who led the team with 13 points, said the team has to find a positive from the collapse, not point fingers.
"We have to play smart," Smith said. "We have to learn from it. That's the whole thing, you live and you learn."
The players had a meeting before practice Thursday morning, Smith said, to talk about the loss and the season moving forward. Smith said the meeting was productive and the ensuing practice was spirited.
"Everybody was talking," Smith said. "Everybody spoke their mind. That's what we need."
Smith, who is more of lead-by-example player, said he will be more vocal in the final 10 games.
"At this point, I've got to do what I've got to do whether it's screaming, shouting, cussing, anything," Smith said.
Note: Smith did not practice on Thursday because of a bruised left shoulder. He had an MRI on Wednesday, which came back negative, but sat out as a precaution. Smith said he will be ready for Saturday's game at UNC.
Smith missed 10 games earlier this season with a knee injury.