Post-Game Quotes (Game 24)

Feb. 8, 2018

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GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Josh Pastner

(Opening Statement) “Got to give Louisville credit, they played well. They hit some threes, our lack of energy on some of the close outs were obviously disappointing on some of the areas. We did a really good job of keeping off the glass. We only had five offensive rebounds, that was a key point for us for focus going in. 20 turnovers, that has been an Achilles’ heel of ours all year long. It’s been one of those things where we’re playing a freshman point guard, and he’s going to be really good for us, but there’s going to be growing pains, and you’re going to have to live and die with some of those mistakes as we move forward. That’s just part of it with playing a young guard.

But you have to give them credit, they hit big threes. Bottom line is Nwora hurt us at 16 (points), and then the kid McMahon hit threes that bothered us as well too. Those two guys coming off the bench hitting those threes really was the difference maker, and we missed a lot of layups. When you’re playing in the ACC, at this level, and you’re missing layups that we missed, our margins of error being zero, it makes it really, really hard. We are going to continue to get better. It is a rebuild. I have said this from day one, that this is a major rebuild job, year two is going to be the hardest. (Ben) Lammers did not play real well today, and, God bless him, he’s an awesome young man. If he doesn’t play as well, it makes it hard for us, because of our margin for error, on the offensive end. We will keep working at it. We have a great opportunity on Sunday, and we will go from there.”

(On a lack of energy and focus from Georgia Tech in the first half) “We had two good practices yesterday and the day before. I just think trying to simulate some of the things, their length, and unfortunately, we didn’t have Brandon (Alston) at practice this week. His dad had a funeral on Tuesday night, so he practiced a little bit yesterday. He got in late, we only got him through the back end of practice, so, he was a little bit off rhythm. We tried to simulate their length and their athleticism within practice on the scout team, and we weren’t able to simulate as much as they are in the games obviously. Jose (Alvarado) just got hit a little bit early, and then, when they were pressing a little bit, we didn’t get our chance to get ourselves set to our spots offensively. Now, when we ran our stuff and executed, we had really good looks, but part of the problem is 20 turnovers. We have to have nine or less turnovers. It’s the only way for us to survive in the ACC is nine or less turnovers. We’ve got to defend, and tonight, we didn’t defend. You cannot afford to have 20 turnovers, it’s nine or less. That’s just been an Achilles’ heel of ours all year long.

(On if anything about Louisville’s defense was surprising) “They were playing in desperation, we were playing in desperation, but they were locked in. They were locked in, and their bigs are really good, number 13 (Ray Spalding) and 14 (Mahmoud), and then number 5 (Malik Williams) hit a three or two. He had a couple threes, he had three threes, so it hurt us. I think he came in shooting like 28 percent from three-point range. The bench really hurt us from three-point range, that was (Ryan) McMahon, Williams, and (Jordan) Nwora. They had ten three-pointers between those three guys coming off the bench right there, that, and turnovers is the difference. They shot 60 percent from three. Two games ago, we were the leading three-point defensive team in the ACC, and the last two games we have just not guarded the three, Boston College and this game. Our closeouts were poor the last two games. When that happens, guys are getting shots and obviously, they get on a rhythm and the basket looks like you’re standing on the pier shooting into the ocean.”

(On closing out on 3-pointers) “Just part of being young—part of being young. We’ve just got to get better at that.”

(On physicality of the game) “The ACC is the best league in the country, and everyone’s really good. If you don’t compete and bring it at the highest level every time you step on the floor, you have a chance to get beat.”

(On poor layups in game) “We missed a lot of layups. Just too many, we missed a lot of layups. When you’re missing those many layups, it just bites you in the butt. We can’t afford, with our margin of error like that. We just missed those layups—it makes it hard.”

LOUISVILLE HEAD COACH DAVID PADGETT

(Opening Statement) “Obviously, we are happy to win and get back on track, most importantly. We defended much better tonight, our zone was good. One kid obviously hurt us, it was Okogie, but he’s a great player, he shot the ball well. We did a better job at keeping the ball out of the lane, we didn’t foul as much, they only went to the free throw line 10 times. That was something we’ve been emphasizing the last couple of days. Offensively in the first half especially we shared the ball very well which was really good to see. Q with seven assists on one turnover is awesome. Good team win, we are happy to get back on track, and now we go back on the road and try to get another win.”

(On what was different about the game tonight) “We played a lot more zone, we haven’t played zone hardly at all the last couple of games. We did a good job of talking and communicating, and that is why I made the switch with Anas and Ray in the starting lineup because Darius was out there. Malik had not done anything wrong, Malik has been getting better every single game, he has been playing well. I just wanted to make sure we had four veterans around Darius when I knew we were going to be playing a lot of zone. We did a good job of talking, communicating, and keeping the ball out of the lane.”

(On what Darius provided tonight) “His quickness, he bothers people, he wears people out, he gets them sped up out of their comfort zone which is what I have expected out of him all year, he has done a good job. Obviously, we do not want Deng to be out because of injury, but Darius did very good job of stepping into that void. I thought our whole bench came in and did a great job. Ryan and Jordan came in the first half and did some really good things, Malik obviously came in played well, Dwayne gave us a boost there in the second half, so very good team win.”

(On Jordan Nwora taking advantage of his opportunities) “Obviously, when somebody goes down there is more opportunity. I told him, just defend. Just worry about defending, shoot the ball when you are open, which he did in the first half. When somebody goes down with an injury, it is the next man up mentality, and that is what I told Jordan and Darius yesterday. They came out and played well.”

(On if Jordan Nwora has played well enough to get consistent minutes moving forward) “We’ll have to just wait and see. We take this game by game, we don’t look ahead. I’m happy with the win against Georgia Tech right now. I’m not thinking about who’s going to play more minutes against Pittsburgh. We’re just taking it game by game.”

(On Deng Adel) “Day-to-day. It’s a situation where you don’t want him to come out today playing at 75% and he hurts it really bad and now he’s out for the season. We needed to rely on some guys to step up and they did a good job. I was proud of the way our young guys stepped up and filled that role.”

(On Ryan McMahon giving the defense a boost) “Yeah, he’s turning into Anas, he’s blocking shots now. He understands it well because it’s his third year in the program. He was engaged and active tonight, not that he hadn’t been, but it’s amazing when you come into the game and get a couple deflections, get a couple steals, now all of a sudden your shot starts to fall. He came in and gave us a big boost on the defensive end. That’s what I love about this team, Deng goes down, next guy up. Between Darius, Jordan, and Ryan they really filled that void well.”

(On if there were other things besides zone that were stressed on defense) “We really just tried to keep the ball out of the lane. Florida State and Syracuse both hurt us by getting the ball in the lane, we fouled, and they scored, or both. We wanted to make this team make a bunch of threes to beat us, they shot the ball well tonight, so you have to give them credit, Okogie made four threes. We feel like if we can challenge every jump shot on the perimeter and dare teams to make those that’s when we’re at our best. Our big guys won’t be getting in foul trouble because those guys won’t be getting beat off the bounce. Keeping the ball out of the lane, that’s the premise of any good defense. That’s why Virginia is so good, they keep the ball out of the lane.”

(On how Georgia Tech played in the first half) “They’re a tough team to prepare for because offensively they run a unique offense. They ran that against a zone which makes it even more unique. It’s easy to kind of over complicate it when you’re preparing for them and we just tried to keep it simple. Our guys were just active, like I said Okogie obviously played very well, a double-double, with 25 (points) and 10 (rebounds). We did a good job trying to neutralize their big guys, obviously Lammers played really well against us last year so we wanted to try to eliminate him as much as we could, and we did a good job. I was just happy with our deflection count. I think we had close to 50 in the game which was really good to see.”

(On if Louisville will use a zone more often) “It’s just a matchup thing. We didn’t play any against Pittsburgh because the way they shoot the ball at all five spots and the way that their offense is based. Teams like Virginia Tech, Duke, and teams that shoot the ball have those kinds of guards it’s tough. You just look at it on a game by game basis, but we’ve been successful playing zone for a long time and that’s not going to change. It’s matchup based on who you’re playing.”

(On how to replicate this performance) “Tonight the most important thing was us defending and letting our defense get us a win and we did that. Now, we got off the slide, we lost three in a row, and are now got back on the winning track. With that being said, we just have to get ready for Pittsburgh. Our mentality is not going to change all year about the one game approach. Our guys came out and practiced the last couple days, did what I asked them to do, and they carried over what we emphasized in practice which was good to see. To me, it wasn’t surprising because they’ve done that all year.”

(On if he worries about facing Pittsburgh a second time) “No, I don’t. Our guys understand the importance of every game right now, especially after letting a couple get away from us at home. Every single game is of the utmost magnitude, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing and going on the road is even more difficult. Our guys will be locked in and we’ll make sure everyone is ready to go from a mental and physical standpoint.”

(On what is the key to limiting opponents on the free throw line) “Keeping the ball out of the lane. We got put on an island, for lack of a better basketball cliché, against Florida State and Syracuse whose guards are very talented. They would go one-on-one at our guys and we were worried about giving up perimeter shots so our defense was getting extended. Tonight a couple times, I think it was Okogie that hit one in the first half against us, somebody drove and Q did what we said, which was keep the ball out of the lane, he helped, and they kicked it to him and he challenged a three and he made it, but you live with those. Even though they made seven threes we kept the ball out of the lane, 22 points in the paint is pretty good defensively so that was the most important thing.”

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