March 4, 2009
– GEORGIA TECH COACH Paul Hewitt
“The object is to win the game and our guys did a great job tonight. Lewis Clinch stepped up and played big. Alade Aminu hurt his wrist a little on that first dunk, but he continued to give us some good minutes. We have great fans here and after the season we’ve endured, they were just looking for something to cheer at. At halftime, you could sense that they were really into the game and that gave us a good lift.”
How big were the early three-pointers by Lewis Clinch to give you guys some momentum?
“Those were very important, but the thing that really helped us to carry it over was how we played defensively on Jack McClinton. I give our guys credit, but I have to think something was not right with him because he was subbing a lot. He had a tough time getting some open looks and a couple times when they tried to force the ball to him in the second half, we got some key steals. Unfortunately, on one of those Iman Shumpert banged his hip pretty hard and he’s hurting right now.”
Take us through the beginning of the second half when there was a turnover, a quick shot and then you called timeout and it looked like you just had to reset everybody
“We talked about coming out aggressively and executing things offensively. We got the stop early, but then we had the turnover. Obviously, they come back and bang the three in the corner so I thought we had to resettle ourselves. The guys did a good job. They made plays. It wasn’t just about running the offense and executing plays. We got steals and Lewis [Clinch] made some tough shots. That’s what you like to see – your guys step up and make plays.
Can you talk about the defensive play tonight, especially on Jack McClinton?
Miami wins the boards handily and has five guys score in double-figures yet you still won. What does that say for your team?
“We made them miss so many shots. Obviously the 26 offensive rebounds they had is unacceptable, but they missed so many shots there were plenty of opportunities to get them. I just didn’t like the third and fourth chances they had. Sometimes when they miss those three’s, the long rebounds come out and it’s a luck situation, but we need to do a better job on those short shots.”
Can you build off this win?
“We feel like we have a chance to build some momentum. Obviously it is going to be tough going into Boston College for their senior night and not healthy. Iman [Shumpert] is banged up pretty good right now and Alade Aminu feels like he did something to his wrist on that first dunk he went up for. He’ll have to get an x-ray later and we’ll see Shumpert feels tomorrow. I just want to thank the fans again for their support this season. They were great tonight and helped us pull through.”
MIAMI COACH FRANK HAITH
“Obviously Georgia Tech played very well. Clinch was outstanding. He did it on both ends, he was really good on defense, playing hard. He shot the ball very well. We knew going into the game that he was shooting the ball really well. Tonight he had 20 in the first half and made it very difficult for us.”
On defending Lewis Clinch
“We played man, he just got on a roll. Lewis, one other time we played them at our place he had 20. He just got on a roll, and he was feeling it as sometimes shooters do. He got it going.
“He had 10 in the second half, so I thought we did a decent job on him in the second half. He had a big three when I think we had cut it to seven, a pump-fake three. So he mad a big shot in the second half.
“I thought that our offense was not good. We rebounded the ball very well on the offensive end, but we didn’t convert. We had a lot of attempts around the basket, but we just didn’t make them.”
On Jack McClinton’s knee
“I don’t think that he’s 100 percent, but we’re not going to make excuses.”
Do other players try to do too much to compensate
“I don’t think so. We had a lot of shots around the basket that we just didn’t make. That hurts when you have those attempts and you don’t put them in. And they were shooting the ball so well. Obviously, that takes a little bit out of you.”
On Miami’s NCAA Tournament chances
“You guys are the experts. I don’t know what we have to do. Some people say that we have to win the tournament. Going into tonight, somebody was saying that we had to win the ACC Tournament. So I don’t know. We just have to play, and we’ll worry about NC State on Saturday.”