March 4, 2017
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Josh Pastner
“You’ve got to give Syracuse a lot of credit – obviously they were fantastic. Andrew White III was just amazing. They were dialed in. I thought the biggest changes in this game were two things. One was Tyus Battle, who has become a really great player, his start. He hit those 3’s early, gave them momentum, got them going, and that really set the tone, whereas at our place, we won the tip. Quinton Stephens had a 50-50 ball tip and he won it, and that set the tone for us.
“Even though we got down by nine [points] twice, that set the tone for us with our energy, and with [Syracuse] hitting all of those threes today, Tyus Battle really set the tone for them. Then, they’re making 3’s while we’re missing layups, and that’s a big difference. They were just tremendous. We’ve been severely limited offensively all year long, and it’s just really hard for us. Tonight—it happens—when you’re not scoring and they’re making the shots they’re making and it just makes it nearly impossible.
“That’s why this [season] is a rebuild job. We’ve got to get to the level of a ‘Syracuse [team]’ in terms of that type of talent level and that type of shooting. Obviously, it’s going to take some time but, to be in here with a major rebuild job from where we started, and from where I was told when I got the job. [They said to me] that you’re probably not going to win a game within your first year or you might not win a total of 20 within your first two years taking this job; [they asked] can you handle that mentally? To have eight wins in this league and to have 17 overall is just nothing short of literally a miracle—from where we started with our severe limitations.
“We’ve got to get ready for Pitt. We play Pitt on Tuesday at 7 p.m., and we’ve got to find a way to get a win on Tuesday.”
What was Andrew White III doing differently today?
“I think that Tyus Battle set the tone with those 3’s and then Andrew White III was an ‘All-ACC, All-American’ tonight. He was just surreal and he was fantastic. A couple times, we had some great defense on them – it was just their offense. A couple times, [Andrew White III] had a couple late shot clock threes, which were big.”
Your team had some scoring droughts today. What caused that?
“We just had some chances there, where both in the first and second half, there were kind of right there and we would just go scoreless. We had those scoring droughts, and it’s just been our Achilles heel. We missed so many layups this year. As good as we’ve been, in terms of where we are and how far we’ve come, our missed layups are one of the strangest things I have ever seen and I can’t tell you how long we spend on stupid layups.”
SYRACUSE HEAD COACH JIM BOEHEIM
“We started shooting the ball from the beginning, Tyus (Battle) hit those threes early, we had good ball movement and our defense was really good. We hit a dead spot starting off the second half. But, I thought that Tyler Lydon hit a big three to give us a little separation and we got the ball to Andrew (White III), and he just got going and didn’t miss anything. It was one of the best shooting performances that I’ve seen, he just made everything and they did a really good job. Tyus Battle, Tyler (Roberson), Lydon, and John (Gillion) found him, they all looked for him and he made some shots.
“I think our defense was better than it’s been. Obviously, when you shoot the ball like that from the three it is hard to beat that.”
Does it say anything about the guys when they lose a 16-point lead and it gets down to three?
“A 16-point lead really doesn’t mean anything when it is in the first five minutes. The game is just starting. We started really poorly in the second half, and that was a real key. We missed a layup inside, two guys had an opportunity to get one and we didn’t get it. We had a loose ball on the other end and they got it and made a layup. It was just a combination of things.
“Georgia Tech is a very good defensive team. They change up and we handled it really well. We did a good job with getting the right positions, getting the ball in the right places and finishing. When anybody shoots the ball like that you’re going to win a lot of games. We shot well from start to finish.”
Is this the kind of season you expected to get from Andrew White III?
“You don’t know what you’re going to get from a guy you’ve never seen play before, he’s never been in our system. I think he’s been our most consistent player all year. The teams that have been face guarding him have kept him from getting his. But, when people play any kind of normal defense, he’s getting his shots. He’s gotten better at going to the basket. I think that’s been a really big improvement in his game.
“Him and Tyus (Battle) both – I think Tyus has improved tremendously from the beginning to now. He’s putting up the ball, making plays, and making good defensive plays.I think John (Gillion) has figured out what we need to do and what we need from him. I think we’ve got to get Tyler Lydon and Taurean (Thompson) to play a little bit better moving forward this week. I think Tyler Roberson has given us some good stuff, he can do more. We’ll see what happens.”
Was it a committed effort to trapping Ben (Lammers) in the corner?
“We always want to draft a short corner, we did better tonight. We didn’t do it very well. They didn’t throw it as much in the short corner. We rotated better and had the steals going across. That was the difference.
“Ben (Lammers) is a really good player, he made some really good blocks today. He’s easily, to me, the most improved player in our league. He’s really come a long way. I think their team has done a great job, they play with a purpose and they know exactly what they are doing. They are a very difficult team to play against. This team beat North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame. Those are three top 15, top 20 teams. Josh (Pastner) has done a good job with that team and they play really well together. But, when we shoot like that we are going to beat anybody.”