Dec. 30, 2008
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Hewitt
“I thought we played better in the second half. I was disappointed in our first half effort, in terms of being more aggressive and giving up offensive rebounds. We still gave up seven offensive rebounds in the second half, but I just felt like from the start of the second half we were more aggressive going after the ball.
“Late in the game, we got a little tentative against that zone. But we got the win, and now it’s about getting a day off, getting our legs rested. We have been going pretty hard since Christmas night. And get ready for Alabama.”
“Tentative. Turning down shots, trying to make extra passes, trying to get closer to the basket. That’s where that came from. I don’t think that it had to do with anything other than turning down good looks and trying to get closer to the basket. I kept saying in the huddle, `if you’re open, just shoot it’.”
[on Tennessee State]
“We talked about that before the game, that we’re not going to call timeouts to bail out. One of the things that this team has to understand and learn how to do is to fight through adversity.
“I’ve known [Tennessee State coach] Cy [Alexander] for a long time, and I know that he’s going to have his team well prepared. Their record is probably more indicative of the fact that they’ve had to play guarantee games as opposed to what they do in their league. I suspect that they’ll be very competitive in their league.”
[on a close win vs. a blowout]
“I think everybody would. The bottom line is that we had lost two in a row, and that loss on Sunday night [to Virginia in overtime] was particularly deflating because of the manner in which we lost the game. You look around the country, and I’m not surprised by any score that I see.”
TENNESSEE STATE HEAD COACH CY ALEXANDER
“We finally finished this road trip which had us playing both Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference schools. We play in the OVC, and it’s a good mid-major league, but it’s not the Atlantic Coast Conference and it’s not the Southeastern Conference, which are both major basketball conferences. You have to give credit to Georgia Tech today – they came out and played hard and physical and deserved the win today. I think that we played the best game that we have all season tonight, but it wasn’t enough in the end.”
Comment on how the team was able to disrupt Tech and force as many turnovers as they did.
“We really wanted to put quite a bit of pressure on Iman Shumpert and the rest of the backcourt today. [Iman] is not really a true point guard just yet, and we felt like if we could pressure them a little bit, then they might turn the ball over. A few times they threw it away and a few times they made plays.”
Comment on playing against Tech’s big guys, including Zachery Peacock.
“He’s big and strong, and that’s one of the things that we’ve been trying to get our guys to do – become physically tougher. They are big and they are strong and they are athletic, and I think that they will do well come Atlantic Coast Conference time, even though they suffered a tough loss Sunday afternoon.”
Comment on how playing teams like Alabama prepared Tennessee State for this type of environment.
“Last year at this time, we beat Illinois – it was our fourth win against a major team. This year though, we have a very young team – we have eight new players. I hope that [by playing schools from the ACC and SEC] we are gaining confidence and gaining in experience and gaining the ability to know that we can do this. I think our team is getting confident and the thing that I told them, because I knew that this stretch was going to be difficult, was that we needed to continue to work hard and improve because it will help us come the time we play other conference schools. We didn’t win any high-major games this year, but we improved every time. That shows growth. And now, again, we have to go back to work tomorrow and show this same attitude, this same intensity.”
Comment on what he told them at halftime.
“We were leaving Zachery Peacock open, and that was just something that we needed to change and really focus in on. Then we wanted to continue to improve our execution and get some good looks at the basket.