Postgame Quotes

March 1, 2017

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GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH JOSH PASTNER
Opening Statement:

“Great win. I’m just really proud of our young men. What a gutty win. (Pitt is) a very good basketball team. That’s a top-65 RPI team. That’s a good win for us on our resume. That’s a great win. To be sitting here with 17 wins, eight in the ACC, in the greatest conference in the history of the NCAA basketball for this year and from where we started in year one of a major rebuild job, with the least experienced team in all of college basketball … I saw the workouts in April, we saw the workouts in July and in the fall [and] to be where we are right now, what a lesson for myself about team over individual and how we have developed to become a really good basketball team.”

On Georgia Tech’s chances for making the NCAA Tournament:
“I believe [with] eight wins in the ACC, how do you not be in the NCAA Tournament? Eights wins? Holy Toledo, this is the best league [in the nation]. Look at our wins. We should automatically be in the NCAA Tournament. I said that on the TV and I’ve really got to keep winning and I want to keep winning, obviously, but eight wins in this league should be an automatic berth the way I look at it. And I’m not biased.”

On Georgia Tech’s defense:
“We just gutted it out. We had to get stops defensively. We came into the game I think No. 7 in the country in defensive efficiency and we really guarded. Pittsburgh is very good. Coach [Kevin] Stallings is one of the best coaches in the country. I’m a big fan of his and the job that he did at Vanderbilt and I think he’s an offensive genius. I said that on the TV [postgame interview] and I mean it. They run really good stuff and they’ve got great players so we had to really guard. And we guarded. I thought we did a good job overall.

“Boy, did we struggle to score. It has taken time off my life – there is no doubt about that with the struggle to score – but we’ve been able to guard and that has been our savior on that because defense travels. That is a really good Pitt team. You can’t look at the record; they’re really good. This league is just such a juggernaut that a ball bounces here, a ball bounces there [and] things can shift. It’s the best league ever. We’ve been fortunate and you get a ball bounce your way here and there. I just think Pitt is really good and they’re very well coached.”

On Josh Okogie and Quinton Stephens:
“Josh Okogie had seven 50-50 wins. He was terrific. He saved us in the first half. He was awesome. I love Josh – he has continued to get better. Quinton Stephens didn’t have a good first half – zero rebounds, zero assists. I told him at halftime, ‘You keep playing like this, about 10 years down the road, you’re going to look back and be sick to your stomach with the pain of regret so don’t you leave this court playing like you’re playing.’ Boy, did he come through for us [in] that second half. He had six rebounds, five assists and really was so critical for us to win the game. Quinton was big.”

On the seniors:
“I’m just so proud of those seniors. I have such appreciation and gratitude, which is genuinely sincere from my gut, for our young men, for those seniors, for how much they’ve embraced me. I can’t say enough about them. I’m really happy we were able to get that win on that senior day for them.”

PITTSBURGH HEAD COACH KEVIN STALLINGS
Opening Statement:
“I thought we had the game where we had hoped to get it with four or five minutes to play. We didn’t execute and we missed a couple open shots. We had some breakdowns defensively and [Ben] Lammers took the game over at the end and had his way. It’s a little bit of a familiar script for us. We can play most people competitively and then get to the end and we don’t execute well enough to get the job done. That’s on both ends; it’s not just offensively, it’s defensively too. Not a good enough effort, especially down the stretch. We had chances in the game to separate ourselves and whether it be carelessness with the ball or shot selection or things like that, it didn’t allow us to be a good team tonight.”

On Georgia Tech’s defense:
“It’s a good zone. We got pretty good looks but really, as much as anything else, it was our ball care and our direction. For us to shoot 10 free throws, that’s terrible for us. We get to the line a lot usually, even when we lose. Rather than take it in there and get to the goal, we’re settling or trying to make a high-risk pass. Just didn’t execute the way we needed to and Cam [Johnson] was the only guy who made shots with any consistency. You can’t beat a good zone when you don’t shoot it well.”

On losing a late lead:
“I told them, ‘This is the best way to try to win a game because it would be more meaningful for us to win one having lost the lead because I don’t think we’ve done it all season long.’ They’re shooting a free throw and we call a play and we come down and charge before we give it a chance to set up. We just come down, dribble in and charge. There are times when we lack coachability. We’ve got some guys that are out there trying really hard. We need to do a better job of doing what we’re told and executing what we’re asked to do.”

On missing back-to-back shots late in the game:
“We had some good looks but we struggled to make them late. We have struggled to make shots late in the games. Cam [Johnson] hit one and we were trying to get him loose again but we had some good looks. We had some bad possessions but we had some good looks at times. We had some defensive breakdowns there at the end. They played better than we did. They deserved to win.”

On whether Georgia Tech is an NCAA Tournament team:
“I hope so. I don’t want to speculate, but I hope so. They’ve had a heck of a good year.”

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