Dec. 17, 2008
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Hewitt
“Tonight was a great effort. It was nice to have Lewis Clinch return and it is great to see Brad Sheehan continue to come along. The coaching staff keeps hammering me about getting him in the game. They feel like he is coming along and obviously tonight it paid great dividends for us.”
Can you talk about the play of Lewis Clinch tonight and how he was able to help you out when they switched to a zone defense?
“He shot them right out of the zone. He has a level of focus right now that I haven’t seen from him since he has been here. That’s why I feel like he can do what he did tonight pretty consistently. He’s one of those guys that are always going to find a way to contribute. He had to play some point guard tonight with Mo Miller out and we had three straight possessions as smooth on offense as we’ve had all year. We got easy baskets all three times and he just did simple things.”
You had 21 assists and 27 turnovers, but just 15 and eight from Clinch and Iman Shumpert combined. Is that the way you should look at tonight or the 27 turnovers?
“I think not having Moe Miller probably led to us being a little disjointed on offense. I’ve been trying to get Iman [Shumpert] to attack a little more. Early in the game he was attacking too deep and he ended up with six turnovers. In the second half, he did a nice job of finding the middle of the foul line for jump shots and making passes. His turnover numbers will certainly go down.”
What did you change to limit their second-chance points in the second half?
“That’s the first thing I noticed on the stat sheet is that they only had two second-chance points in the second half. After the last game, that was certainly an area we had to sure up.”
What do you need to do now to prepare for the first true road trip of the season with the upcoming trip to California?
“These are two critical ball games and then we come back and get right into ACC play. We’ll have to make an adjustment to the time and play a tough Pepperdine team in their building. We’ve got to be ready to play and then of course after that, we have Southern California. They are one of the better teams in the Pac 10.
“After dropping that game last week to Illinois-Chicago, I think this is important trip for our team. Give UIC credit – they came in with their senior guard and did a great job, but we made way to many mistakes. We need to go out West and play well on Saturday and then come back and see where we are against USC. We have to play well on Saturday though.”
Can you talk about the improved free throw shooting by Gani Lawal?
“He’s definitely getting better. He has an improved technique that we have been working on and he feels more comfortable. There is not as much emotion in his stroke. 11-of-17 is good, but I’d like to see him get up to 13 or 14-of-17. If that happens, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
GEORGIA STATE HEAD COACH ROD BARNES
“Sorry for being a little late, I had a little discussion with our team about our performance about. Obviously their coach is not very pleased with the way that they performed over 40 minutes. We came out in the very beginning and missed some shots so we started to get a little discouraged, but I thought that our defense started to help us get back into the game. I thought Paul had his team ready to play. I thought they did a very good job of going to their strength – their inside guys. Their size and strength was just too much for us tonight. We just could not match them. Every time that we would make a run that gave us the opportunity to cut the lead, they would go back inside. After about 10 minutes to go in the second half, I thought our guys got discouraged. We just felt like we were too far behind, and it’s something that has never happened with this team – maybe once last year. But this is the first time this year that we had a performance like this, and we are obviously disappointed. As I told our guys, maybe we need to go back and give them a little rest. Playing Florida State and Georgia Tech back-to-back might not, right now, be where we need to be as far as the scheduling part of it. But there are no excuses – give them credit. They played well, and again Paul did a great job of getting his team prepared, and it’s a tough game for Georgia State, but we will be back.”
Comment on Dante Curry.
“Dante Curry is a very good basketball player, and I think that he has a bright future here with us. I really like the way he plays, we just have to get some other guys to help him right now. But he’s a good player – I thought that he had a really good game tonight.”
Comment on what he tried to do to combat the size.
“We tried zone, and they still went over the top of us. The thing about their team is that they run the floor real well, their big guys. That is one of their strengths. Another thing, late, is that we started trying to double but we were getting there too late. And that it something that we have not had to do. So we were trying to do something that we had not practiced a whole lot. Again, they made it tough on us. Even when we doubled and they missed it, the guy on the weak side got the rebound.”
Comment on having Lewis Clinch back.
“He’s a good player, and he’s proven that. We came into the game knowing that he’s a good player, just like we know that Dante Curry is a good player. But that wasn’t a surprise to us. Probably the biggest surprise was how they dominated us on the glass. That was the biggest thing that was a surprise. It’s obviously a strength of their team, but I was not expecting to just absolutely get demoralized on the boards. Again, that’s us and we’ve got to grow from it. We have to go back and work on it. Obviously we can’t grow 6-11 and 7-footers, but we can probably build our guys a little better than we did tonight and fight a little bit harder.”
Comment on how playing against Gani Lawal will help them against CAA teams
“It’s going to help us from a standpoint that we get a chance to go back to practice and I get a chance to show them a tape on how, if you want to become a great post player, how hard, how intense, how strong you have to play in there to do that. So it’s going to help us. There is no way, any games at this level – we have played Florida State and Georgia Tech back to back – that it’s not going to help us. We got a lot of things and I told the guys tonight in the locker room that they should now see what I’m talking about in making a commitment to the weight room. Now, when you play the teams that we’ve played in the past pretty hard, they can say that they are working hard. Now they realize that the rest of this season, and definitely during the spring and summer, we have to get in there and work because we got pushed around. There is nothing else that you can say about it. They got position, they missed it and went and got it. If you do it long enough, obviously the guys on the perimeter are going to make shots. That’s what Lewis did. When we had the chance to go and get back in it, he made shots and separated us again.
Comment on his impression of Georgia Tech’s team.
“They are a very good team. They needed Lewis because without them, their outside shooting is probably not what they needed it to be. Not only can he shoot the ball, but he can put the ball on the floor. He is a scorer, and I think that helps them. Once they get Moe Miller back, they can have some depth in the backcourt, and that is really going to help them. I like their team, I like the way that they are trying to play. They have a good team.”
What stands out on how they play?
“First of all, now that they have Lewis, they go inside. That’s where games are won – they are won in the paint. Unfortunately for them at some points this year, they struggled at the free throw line. If they can keep getting the ball in the paint to Gani and get Peacock in there, now they’ve got someone to free them up on the perimeter. When you don’t have anyone that can shoot on the perimeter, you can pack it in. That helped them tonight against us because we wanted not to let Lewis get going, because we knew that it was his first game back. So they stretched us a little bit because of him, which I think makes them a better team. Without him, they still might have scored inside, but we probably would have had every one of our players in there on top of them. So to make those other guys make shots – We just didn’t want Lewis to get started, he still had a good game, but that’s what makes him good. Now they can go inside with a guy that is dependable and they also have perimeter play. That’s why I said that, when Moe Miller gets back, they will have more depth because it isn’t as much strain on those perimeter players.