Post-Game Quotes: Men's Basketball vs. Prairie View

Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner

Opening statement:

“Well, I’ll give a lot credit to Prairie View A&M. I knew coming in this was going to be a tough game. They play really hard, they’re pesky, scrappy. They’re well coached. They’re better than their record, and I knew it was going to be a tough game. I’ve said we are going to live by our three-point shooting, and we are going to live by our defense. And if one of those two fails us it’s going to be hard for us. Now tonight, our shooting wasn’t good, and it almost failed on us, but we were able to win the game out through defense, and we made a couple of threes. In the second half, we were 4-9 from three, and that’s why we won the game, through defense and our three point shooting, but that’s who we are going to be. We’re going to defend, which we’ve been really good. We had seven three stops in a row, today. We held them to 37 percent from the field and 27 from three so we met our goals there. And we hit 4-9 from three in the second half. But [in the] first half [we shot] 0-8 [from three]. They shot 41 percent from the field … that’s just-why we were down. We’re not going to show up and out-talent anyone. That’s not who we are. So, that’s just what we’ve got to do. We’re going to hang our hat on three-point shooting and defense.”

On shortage of energy:

“Well, I was forewarning our guys for all these games. I mean even Wednesday, I was concerned, because maybe there’s not as much energy in the building, because it’s Thanksgiving. And we are going to have to generate our own energy from within – internally. And that’s what we are going to have to do. Of course as a coach, as a head coach, you get it. I see it a mile away. These games are so hard, and our young men are not robots. They’re human beings, 18-22 year olds. They are in college, so you can forewarn, prep, say all you want, show videos, but that’s just part of basketball.”

On the parity in college basketball today:

“You see it around the country where teams beat teams that maybe they weren’t expected [to beat]. However, I’d also tell you there’s a lot of guys who-the parody is just so evenly spread out in college basketball, besides maybe the top eight, nine teams in the country, anywhere between 30-250 in the country is pretty evenly spread out. There’s not that much difference anymore. You can win the national championship at any school, you can go to the NBA from any school, you can be on TV from any school. So, the days where you can only go to a certain group – not anymore, that’s why the talent is spread out so much, and that’s why there is so much parody in college basketball.”

On importance of three-point shooting and defense:

“We’ve got to keep grinding it out, and we’ll continue to get better, but I really, really like this group. I can’t be any more clear and black and white about it, we are going to rely on our three-point shooting and our defense. I mean when we are good at those two, we are going to win games, and if one of the two is off, it’s going to be hard. And if both are off, it’s just going to be a long night for us.”

Prairie View A&M Head Coach Byron Smith

Opening Statement:

“Happy holidays, first and foremost. Thanks everyone for being here. I know you could be some different places, but basketball’s a great game and it’s good to see that it’s supported. That’s a great team we played today in Georgia Tech. I think they’re going to have a really good year; they’re a really good team.”

On if Prairie View A&M emphasized defense in its preparation for Georgia Tech:

“We did. We knew that, hey, Georgia Tech’s been really good this year. I’ve known Josh Pastner since he was maybe 14 or 15 years old. I know he’s a good basketball coach and I know he’s going to have those guys prepared. He’s a Houston guy, obviously, so am I, so we knew we were going to have to be at our best to have a chance because they’ve really been playing really, really well. So that was the gameplan, to try to disrupt what they wanted to do and switch out on everything. Just try to make it tough for them.”

On if Prairie View A&M ran out of gas:

“I think that when you play as hard as we play, I think there’s always a chance that you run out of gas. I like to think that maybe Georgia Tech ramped it up a little bit more so than us running out of gas. But I think we did have some guys that got a little bit tired, but hey, that’s life for Prairie View A&M. We have to play that way all the time to give ourselves a fighting chance against these really, really good programs that we face.”

On starting the season with 12-straight road games:

“It’s difficult, obviously, but we’re up to the task. It gives a lot of these kids a chance to see some different places. A lot of these kids are junior-college kids and transfers and they really haven’t had a chance to experience college basketball and be in some of these arenas and travel to some of these neat places. So I think it’s a good overall experience for them. From a basketball standpoint, it does make it a bit tough. They do get a bit tired. But we just have to fight. Unlike some of the counterparts in our league, we’re not just trying to get ready for league play, we’re actually coming to try to beat Georgia Tech and beat some of these teams that we’re playing. But it does get a little bit difficult. But we’ve got a tough group and I think they’ve answered the call so far.”

On Prairie View A&M’s Gary Blackston:

“Gary is our alpha. He’s our alpha dog. As he goes, we go. He gives great effort every night and he sort of takes a pounding, but he’s kind of like a Timex, he takes a lickin’ but just keeps tickin’. But we have to have him with the basketball in his hand and making shots to have a chance to win games. So I’m proud of his effort and hope that it will continue.”

On his team’s defensive rebounding:

“I think everyone looks at rebounding and things like that with size, but I always say that you don’t measure a man by his height, you measure him by his heart. That’s how we play. We kind of subscribe to the Dennis Rodman style of play. We’re not very long and not very tall, but we’re quick to the basketball. We’re going to fight you, tooth and nail, every step of the way. What I tell our guys is, obviously, fundamentally, rebounding is boxing out and positioning and things like that, but sometimes you get pushed around. So we focus on trying to get to the ball before they do. I think we did a nice job. It could’ve been better late, but I’ll take it on the road.”

On his team’s turnovers:

“I just try to tell them to play with pace. Sometimes, these kids, they get into the mindset of score, score, score. Especially when they come out and they have some success. So we really try to get them to take care of the ball and value each possession. Play each possession like it’s your last possession. We only had 15 turnovers tonight to their 11. Obviously, we’d like to be under double-figures. I think every good team wants to be under double-figure turnovers. I thought we did a good job of that. We kind of got sloppy at the end a little bit. But again, you’re playing against a really good team. I think it helped us. Obviously, we would’ve loved to win the game but we came up a little bit short. Overall, I was proud of the effort.”

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