Nov. 16, 2015
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“I think first you have to give Tennessee a ton of credit. We are and have been one of the best rebounding teams in the country, especially defensive rebounding. And they took it to us on the glass. They were incredible on the glass. Quicker to the ball, came up with loose balls, tip tap rebounds. They had six team offensive rebounds, that means that there’s a loose ball and it goes off of us. And I thought that that was a big key in the game. The reason we won the game, in the second half we only gave them 10 and in the first half we gave them 14. That’s a hard-playing group. That’s a team that is going to win a lot of games so in the big picture that’s a great win for us. We responded in the middle of the second half when we were down. I thought that was a great response and then we made some plays down the stretch. Defensive coverage on the last play was perfect. So, we’ve got some things to work on. There’s no doubt about it. We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we have been, tonight. But our first shot defense was really good, 38 percent in the first half, 31 [percent] in the second [half]. That’s more like it, but you need to finish that possession with a rebound. And give them credit, give them credit. But that was a total team effort. We needed everybody to do everything that they did, and that’s the way we’re going to have to be successful this year. So, pleased with the win. It’s a great win for us, especially to gut it out at the end and figure out a way to win it.”
On changes he made to stop Tennessee’s dribble penetration
“When you have [Armani] Moore and [Kevin] Punter, those guys are hard to keep in front and they stretch the court. It’s interesting, this is the second team we’ve played that played really small. Now we were able to take advantage of that in the post and score, but we didn’t do a good job on the glass defensively. Now here’s one thing, we had 19 offensive rebounds too, so we did a good job. Second half, we corralled the ball a little better. Our positioning off the ball was a little better. And to be honest with you, we’re a little deeper on the perimeter than they are. We forced [Armani] Moore into 5-20 from the field, six turnovers, and he’s a really good player. I love that kid; he plays hard. It doesn’t matter what position, he plays the 4 and the point.”
On if this win builds confidence for the team after all of the close losses last season
“Yeah, this is a new year though. We don’t worry about the past. You can’t do anything about the past. This is a new team, a different team. I agree with you, you need to build on ways to win games and figure out ways to win games. And our team tonight figured that out. Now it’s one game. But, I agree with you. And every bit as much because I think the team we played is a quality team. I think we played against a team that’s as well-coached as any team that we are going to play all year long. Rick [Barnes] does an unbelievable job. And we got knocked down; we were on the mat there and we responded. And we always have, as a program, been good at responding after a tough loss and coming back and being resilient. We did it during the game today. And that’s a big step for this team.”
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH RICK BARNES
“Really proud of our effort in terms of we knew they had the size inside. I think they led the ACC in offensive rebounds and we won that tonight. We outrebounded a much bigger team. I thought our guys showed a lot of fight with that. I didn’t think we were disciplined at all on the offensive end when we had the lead, we just got too loose with the ball [and had] silly turnovers. Guys [were] doing things that we hadn’t seen as a staff. Just guys throwing the ball around. We just didn’t have the discipline to do what we were trying to get done as a team. But I do think that we showed some courage and some fight to get back in it. People are going to look at their inside game, but two games in a row we’ve outscored them in the paint. That’s how they score and we do it a different way, but we missed some layups. They blocked some of them, but a couple of those layups you’ve got to make and we didn’t. On the last play we wanted to take the ball to the basket and we didn’t do it. Georgia Tech did the things we had scouted and I thought that they did a pretty good job with it, but overall I’m just disappointed that we weren’t more disciplined on the offensive end.
What was the plan on the game’s final play?
“They’re not going to foul. All game we were pushing the ball down the middle of the floor. It was a play we run to either get Kevin [Punter Jr.] streaking through the middle or get Armani [Moore] to bring it. He just didn’t bring it. I’m not sure why. I don’t know why he didn’t.”
Did you consider fouling in the final minute?
“We were if the right guy got it. Then we didn’t and I thought we’d play it out and we got a chance. Again it goes back [to] when we had the lead. We just made so many silly plays. I didn’t like our body language with the referees and the referees weren’t the problem. We turned the ball over and one time we stood and threw our hands up in the air and let them inbound the ball over our head. We’re not in a position where we can ever beat ourselves. Not to take anything away from Georgia Tech because I think Brian [Gregory] does a terrific job, but we’ll look at this tape and there’ll be things that will sort of kind of make you sick because there’s things that we could control and we didn’t. That’s just maturity too. We’ve got to do a better job at the free throw line than we did tonight.”
What led to the success at the start of the second half?
“We can run and when K.P. [Kevin Punter Jr.] went out that’s when it fell apart again because he’s a guy that is push-and-tempo and we had the tempo where wanted it and when he’s not in there, as much as we try to get Armani [Moore] to play the point, we just don’t flow. We don’t have any smoothness. The ball stopped too many times tonight when it got to Armani and when K.P. drove in and put pressure on the crack. We didn’t share the ball. We’ve got to do that.”