Feb. 10, 2016
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“I thought we did a lot of good things today. You know, Wake Forest is in a similar situation that we’re in – they’ve lost a lot of close games. A lot of heartbreaking losses where they played well enough and just aren’t able to finish or the other team makes a couple big plays. Tonight was a night that we made plays down the stretch. I thought our second-half execution offensively was really good. We took care of the ball – we had only three turnovers in the second half. Our defense was much-improved in the second half to hold the to 40 percent and one-of-eight from three, and that last three was one with about 20 seconds left. So we did a good job of that. We did a much better job on the glass, as well. I talked to some of our seniors – in particular, Marcus (Georges-Hunt) – about having to take over and having to do a lot of different things, and he responded extremely well. Chuck (Mitchell) responded well. I thought James (White) made some big plays for us in the first half. Nick (Jacobs) responded well. Obviously Adam (Smith) – who didn’t have a great game up to his standards – made a huge shot for us, as well. We felt comfortable going to him or Marcus on that play. Marcus made a great read on the play, and Adam made the shot. There was a lot of good basketball from a lot of different guys. You have to get that first one to get some momentum, so tonight it was very, very important for us to do that.”
On the contrast between the first and second halves
“I thought – and I don’t know the stats exactly – three out of Marcus’ first four might have been threes, and then he didn’t take one the rest of the game. We wanted to attack the basket. We wanted to get the ball in the post. We had 48 points in the paint, which was important. We also wanted to take advantage of some turnovers and get some fast breaks because of it. We had 22 points off their turnovers. That’s a lot of points. That’s 70 points in the paint an off turnovers. We wanted to take advantage of those two areas, and I thought we did. But you get to the free throw line being aggressive in the post, and you get to the free throw line driving the ball to the basket. We didn’t even get into the bonus in the first half, but then in the second half I think we were in the bonus the last 12 minutes, maybe. We did a much better job of being assertive, aggressive and tough with the ball in the second half.”
On Adam Smith’s crucial three
“We had the option to drive it, and if they took that away we have Adam coming off for a three. It’s a pretty good play for us, because you have multiple scorers who can make a play off of that. Marcus had a really good read. The defense got dropped to the baseline on the drive, and Adam was wide open. He missed some good looks during the game. Some pretty good looks that, obviously, throughout his whole career he has put in. So we felt comfortable even in that situation having him shoot that shot.” WAKE FOREST HEAD COACH DANNY MANNING
“Georgia Tech obviously made more plays than us down the stretch. In the first half we go in with a lead but they’re shooting 50 percent. Then we do a much a better job in the second half defensively and we hold them to 39 percent but points off of turnovers and second chance opportunities really hurt us. Late in the ballgame we had some chances to go get some 50-50 balls and we weren’t able to secure those. When you look at the stat sheet and you see that we led for 24 minutes, you’d like to think that it would have a different outcome for you. Georgia Tech made plays down the stretch and Brian [Gregory] has this team playing exceptionally hard. We couldn’t guard [Marcus] Georges-Hunt. That’s what it came down to. We tried to slow him down some. I thought [Greg] McClinton did a pretty good job of slowing him down a little bit, but for the most part he had his way with us.”
How critical was Adam Smith’s three-pointer in the final minutes?
“We broke down on that play defensively. It looked like they were going to run a side-ball screen and the ball-handler refused it and drove it baseline. Then I think it was [Chuck] Mitchell who pinned in for Smith coming off to shoot the long three and we didn’t guard that the way we wanted to.”
Did you emphasize defense in the second half tonight after struggling in recent games?
“It’s always an emphasis. We just have to go out there and do a better job of executing the things that we work on. Like I said the defensive field goal percentage [at] 39 percent from 50 [percent] in the first [half] was much better, but we still have to do whatever it takes to get a win and we weren’t able to do that. Those 13 offensive rebounds really hurt us. You get a stop and they miss the shot but we don’t finish the possession.”
Did Georgia Tech adjust their defensive approach against Devin Thomas in the second half?
“[Chuck] Mitchell is a load down there and so is [Nick] Jacobs. They were just putting bodies on him and making him work. Devin was really good, especially early [when] he got out in transition and caught the ball off the block. We emphasized throwing the ball inside and a few times we threw it inside when he didn’t have anything and we’ve got to do a better job of swinging it back out.”
Do you were about the confidence of your team?
“You have to go out and you have to play. The plight of lost confidence is something for me as a player… You go out there and it’s a series of plays. If I miss my first shot, does that mean I don’t take my second shot? As basketball players you’re going to miss more than you make. That’s how the numbers work. [There aren’t] too many guys who make more shots than they miss throughout their basketball careers. When you’re shooting the basketball you always have to know there’s a chance for the next one to go in. For me I don’t look at that that way and I think you make your own breaks. Right now we’re in a situation where we do some good things, but we’re not able to sustain that for the duration. Nothing’s going to change until we change it.”
What are your goals for the final month of the season?
“To win every game we play. At the end of the day that’s always the goal. Then get ready to go to the ACC tournament and win some games. Like I said for 24 minutes we played pretty good basketball [but] we don’t have much to show for it.”