Dec. 3, 2008
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Hewitt
Do you think tonight was a good lesson to your team of how valuable each possession can be?
“Yes, especially early in the game. We had some possessions in the first half where we just didn’t do what we wanted or execute correctly. In the second half, we fell asleep defensively a couple of times and it cost us. It is a tough way for a team to lose a game. We were pretty efficient offensively, but just didn’t do the job tonight.”
What are your thoughts on Penn State’s three-point shooting?
“They do a good job of isolating certain guys. There were a couple times where they picked our guy they wanted to go at, but we just need to battle a little harder on some of those screens. Before the game, we talked a lot of just having a little more mental toughness and the value of more physical toughness. They made the plays that they had to make down the stretch and we had our chances and couldn’t come up with them.”
Is it frustrating to lose a game like this when you were so efficient on the offensive end?
“Gani [Lawal] did what he is supposed to do. He took the shots we want him to take, but there were a couple minutes there were we got a little out of character and we made some drives there were we weren’t supposed to. We threw away some possessions tonight that cost is the game, but give Penn State credit. They made plays and executed their shots when they needed to and we didn’t.”
Was this a hard ballgame to defend in with the drastic changes in tempo?
“Not really. There were several minutes in the first half where they ran their plays and I thought we defended them well and the execution was good. In the second half, there were a couple times where we fell asleep and gave up easy buckets. There were some plays where four guys knew what was going and one didn’t and Penn State did a good job of recognizing it and going right at him. We only went to the line 13 times and when you’re going inside as much as we did, I’d like to see more.”
Quick turn-around now…what do you need to do to get ready for a good Vanderbilt team coming in here on Saturday?
“Yes and we need to come up big. This team has a chance to do some good things. We talked earlier tonight about how important tonight’s game and the Vanderbilt game are. We need to come back now and play a great game on Saturday as we get ready to head into final exams.”
PENN STATE HEAD COACH ED DECHELLIS
“We had some guys at the line and didn’t really make them. David Jackson has been great down the stretch shooting free throws for us, and so has Talor Battle, and tonight wasn’t that night. We went 2-for-10 down the stretch to give Georgia Tech a chance. We’ve got to learn from that and move on.”
“I thought it was a great game, a hard-fought game by both sides, back and forth. I’m just proud of our guys that they were able to hold on and get out of here with a win.”
On Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal
“He killed us inside and we really had no answers for him. We weren’t big enough in there. Our plan was to try to dig it out with the guards, but we didn’t do a great job of getting down there quick enough. That’s my fault. We tried to work on that for two days, our guards going down. We knew that we would have a hard time guarding their post, so we wanted to play behind with our perimeter guys. Their assist-turnover ratio – those guys aren’t passing it out, looking at their stats, so we were going to take our chances.”
On getting good looks from three-point range
“We did a good job of going inside-out. I thought Jemelle Cornley made two great passes out of the post – they were doubling him. He found some guys on the perimeter, we swung it and found some guys open. We have to do that, we’re not real big. He’s a guy who can score, so people try to double him a lot. When he gets doubled, he’s a pretty good passer.”
On good three-point shooting as a team
“I think that comes and goes. We have some guys that have really accepted their roles. Danny Morrissey was starting for us, but we tried to go with quicker kids in the backcourt because they can do a couple more things. But he came in and played his role, he’s a good shooter. He made open shots. We’re a decent three point shooting team.”
On Talor Battle
“He has a high energy, a high motor. He thinks he can score over anybody, and I’ve got to calm him down sometimes. But he’s a tough kid. He’s a competitive kid. He wants to win. I think he’s a great point guard. He makes other guys better on the team. He plays with energy, he plays with emotion, he never thinks that we’re losing. What else do you want out of your quarterback?”