Brian Gregory - ACC Teleconference

Jan. 16, 2012

ATLANTA – Head coach Brian Gregory’s weekly remarks on the ACC Teleconference as Georgia Tech prepares to host Virginia Thursday night (8 p.m., Philips Arena) and visit Clemson Saturday (2:30 p.m.). Both games will be televised on the ACC Network (check local listings for station in your area) and will be available on ESPN3.

Tickets for Thursday’s game are available by calling 888-TECH-TIX or online.

Opening Remarks
“I thought we made some improvements this week, and our play kind of showed it. Unfortunately, you’ve got to make greater improvements in order to get two road wins. I was pleased with out overall team performance at North Carolina State. We shot the ball extremely well, but we also defended and rebounded well in that game. Yesterday, we did a lot of good things on defense, but didn’t rebound as well as we needed to on the road against a team like Maryland. Everytime in the last 10 games when they won the rebounding battle, they won the game, and they did it again last night in our game. We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we are making some strides, and we just need to tighten up a few things in order to put us in a position to win some of the tough games in this league.”

On Virginia’s team and its senior Mike Scott
“I said at the beginning of the season that Virginia was maybe a little undervalued going into the season. My experience with Tony and that style of play with his father, and so forth, goes back to our days in the Big Ten. Even in 1990, when I was a graduate assistant at Michigan State, we played Wisconsin-Green Bay in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and I think Tony had about 40 that night.

“You have to play every possession and every pass, and you can’t relax at all. If you do, they take advantage of it with multiple players. Scott has done an unbelievable job with the improvements he’s made as a player. Now, you make him have to take tough shots all the time, because if you give him anything easy, it’s definitely in. He’s become good enough now, like so many guys in this league, that even if you play good defense on him, he can still score.”

On how your team has improved the last few games
“I thought we had some flashes in the non-conference games where we played the way we want to play, good defense and really controlling the glass, and then on offense a lot of movement and making plays for each other. For some reason, in that 10-day stretch (right before ACC play), we just didn’t do it. That period of time right after finals and right before conference play, where I thought we were making some strides, we just didn’t perform that well. That was disappointing, no question about it.

“I think our guys realized that if they do what they’re supposed to do and stick to the core objectives we talked about – playing really good team defense and rebounding by committee with everyone on the glass – then we’re going to put ourselves in a position, where as we get better offensively or have nights when we shoot the ball well, then we have a chance to do some good things this year.

“We talk a lot about building for the future, but we want to make sure we’re not looking past the present right now. I think our guys understood that and dialed it in a little bit more. Our practices have been better, there’s no doubt about it. Even though, like the Duke game and yesterday, we didn’t complete the mission, we showed we’re getting better. I don’t think we played better yesterday, but there’s no doubt that this is a much better team.

“Our number one goal is to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season, and if we continue to do what we’ve been doing, we’re going to be able to accomplish that.”

On team’s resiliency when your two top scorers have off days
“I think that’s one thing we are starting to get better at; we are starting to fight a little bit more. I thought we responded a couple times extremely well yesterday. They built a 12-point lead, and we go out and score seven straight points and came back within striking distance. We did that on multiple occasions yesterday. Unfortunately, we had to do that too many times. We had three possessions when we were down six or seven (late in the game), and it was the first time in the game where we did not execute in those crucial situations.

“I think our guys are starting to get a little more fight in them, a little more toughness. Yesterday, I thought we did some things, but we were out-toughed. The toughest guy on the court was Mosley. He had his hand in 14 straight points down the stretch. He outscored us 11-9 in the last six minutes. He got to the free throw line, and he buried a big three. That’s an example we can use with our players. His sheer will to win that game took over.”

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