March 6, 2008
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Hewitt
This must be a nice way for the seniors to bow out and a nice way to close out the home schedule.
“The guys played really hard. 15 steals and we broke the Nessler/Dykes jinx. No seriously, it’s nice to see these guys persevere the way they have all year. We’ve lost a lot of ball games as everyone knows. I don’t think people realize just how hard these kids come back to practice every day. They deserve this one tonight.”
You didn’t have a lot of momentum early. It’s almost interesting that as the crowd arrived, the game arrived. There weren’t a lot of people here early with the traffic obviously but as the crowd came in, your team went from 13 down and seemed re-energized.
“We needed something to jump start us and we went to the pressure. You’re right; the crowd came in the building and ever since they changed that traffic pattern on the connector, people have been showing up in the middle of the first half. The pressure and the crowd certainly did a great job for us and we were very appreciative.”
Spend a moment talking about the seniors and how hard each of them worked tonight
“I told Jeremis [Smith] on the way up here in the elevator how much I appreciated what he has done for this basketball team because I know how hard it is for seniors to go through what we have gone through this season and all of the close games that we have had. No matter how tough I am on them or if I am patting them on the back, they come out and play hard. They want to leave here and make sure they show people what they can do. Jimmy Dykes told me before they went on the air that we are probably the team that nobody wants to play in the tournament because we do give a good effort and we have some pretty good pieces. We’ve been hanging around all year. Now hopefully we can hang around on Saturday and make another good attempt at a win.”
Clemson had 16 offensive rebounds on its way to 38 tonight. You negated that however by getting out in transition
“We really wanted to push the tempo and get out in transition and that was one of the reasons why we went to the press. Yes they send a lot of guys to the glass so we wanted to get up and down the floor. Matt [Causey] and Mo [Miller] did a nice job pushing the tempo.”
You mentioned the game at BC. They have a pretty good player in Tyrese Rice and some other good elements don’t they?
“They have been very similar to us in that they have some pretty good pieces and have had trouble at times putting it all together. They’ve been hanging around and have a great player in Tyrese Rice. He’s going to be a first-team All-League guy and I think anyone who follows the ACC knows what he did against Carolina last week with 34 points in the first half and 46 for the game. Obviously the first four pages of the scouting report are on him.”
CLEMSON HEAD COACH OLIVER PURNELL
“I thought we lost the game on the defensive end of the floor, giving up 80 points. With a couple of minutes to go in the first half, they were shooting 70%. After we got off to a pretty good start, we let up on the defensive end of the floor.
“Certainly we have to give Georgia Tech all the credit in the world, because they came out and played with high intensity, high emotion, very physically. There were times when we did not match that.
“We had a chance to catch up and send it into overtime. We had some good looks at the basket. T.O. (Terrence Oglesby) had a great look; I thought we got the ball exactly where we wanted to. I thought we got the ball exactly where we wanted to with K.C. (Rivers) on the out-of-bounds play, and we didn’t convert. Anytime we get into a horse-shooting contest, that can happen sometimes. If you make the shot, everybody’s happy, but if you miss it, you’re not.
“In the first half, letting up defensively really cost us. But again, here on Senior Night, Georgia Tech played with a lot of effort and heart.”
On Cliff Hammonds’ injury:
“He cracked a tooth that he had cracked before. They went and checked it, and he was fine.”
On Clemson’s struggles with transition defense:
“That’s defense. We were either not getting back quick enough or we were not communicating. It wasn’t the sense of urgency that we needed throughout the course of the ball game. That was on the scouting report – Georgia Tech likes to score in transition. They hit 3s in transition; not only were they hitting 3s, they were hitting layups. Our defense was just too porous to establish what we needed to establish here on Senior Night.”
On missing the opportunity to get 10th ACC win tonight:
“We’ve got one game left, I hope we fight. Obviously we can win that game and we’re in good shape going into the Tournament. That’s what we have to focus on. We have our Senior Night on Sunday. We’ve been in big games all year long, we’ve done a good job of minimizing our struggles in a tough league. Any time you go on the road in this league on Senior Night, it shouldn’t be a surprise if you get beat. But I thought we could get it, and that’s why I’m disappointed.”