Feb. 21, 2015
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“Watching [North Carolina] play on Wednesday, they played at such a high level and I know they were disappointed in the result. But I think they’re playing as well as anyone around right now, the last two games in particular. It was an emotional game, and we knew they would come out fast and hard. I thought we took that first punch and did a pretty good job in the mid-point of the first half of getting the game back under control a little bit. But then in the last two rounds, the last eight minutes, they did a good job of extending it again. Then in the second half to start it off I think five out of our first six possessions were turnovers just trying to do a little too much. We struggled guarding them in the post today, and I think that’s a pretty good formula for their success if they’re able to get that ball in there. They’ve got some guys who can score over people, which not a lot of post players in this day and age can do. You have to make shots against them and obviously we didn’t do that in the first half, so they played extremely well in a big day for the program and we weren’t able to match it.”
On if he expected Marcus Paige to come out fired up in the wake of Wednesday’s game against Duke
“Well, I think he’s been banged up a little bit, but he didn’t look banged up today. Give him credit, he was in complete control from start to finish. He only takes shots that are presented to him. He doesn’t force anything. He’s obviously able to get the ball to the right people at the right time. I think the North Carolina StatCrew is the same one we have at Georgia Tech, because they only had eight fast-break points. [The statisticians] must have only been there for 10 minutes today because they had a lot more than eight fast-break points, and Marcus is in charge of all that. He runs that. So they did a good job, and obviously he’s as good a player as there is in this league.”
On the first stretch of the second half
“Like I said, I think it was five out of the first six possessions were turnovers where we had some shots, didn’t take them and forced a play. I called the second timeout because a couple loose balls…our identity is we come up with those, and we didn’t. Again, that’s not just on us. I’ve said it before in this press room a couple times. There’s perception sometimes with North Carolina basketball that they don’t play hard. Well, not that. [The perception is that] they’re a gifted but they don’t play with intensity. That’s just so far from true because they do, and they did it today. They came up with every loose ball. You can’t watch the game they played the other night and say that either, you know what I mean? This league is hard. They’re really good and they’re 9-5 in the league. But I think they’re a team that can win the league tournament, and I said it after Wednesday night. Not to put pressure on Roy [Williams], but what the [heck]. They’re potentially a Final Four caliber team. I don’t that there’s any question about it, especially if Marcus plays like he did tonight.”
NORTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH ROY WILLIAMS
“Okay needless to say it was a great day for us. Shoot 63 percent for the game and only have eight turnovers, it was a good bounce back from a very disappointing game Wednesday night. We felt, like I said at the press conference Wednesday night, I thought we did some good things over there, but Duke made better plays down the stretch. People were worried about the carry-over. I wasn’t worried about that; I was worried about having enough players to dress out. That was my biggest concern. We got things going for us, and it sort of snowballed against Georgia Tech. They’ve played so many games, I think they have nine games where with one minute left in the game they were within one possession seven of the nine and the other two was four points. They ended up having nine losses out of those games. So it sort of snowballed on them today. We made some shots and got them to miss some, and got the ball going up and down the court at a speed that we really like. They tried to come out running us, and they’ve done a great job of that all year, and they hurt us early and then we did a better job of getting back. Just caught them on a good day, and a good day for us. And we feel very fortunate to have played the way we did.
On the four corners as a tribute to Coach Smith
“Very much so, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, for two weeks anyway. Some way to do something that would mean a great deal to him and would mean a great deal to me. I thought that worked out great. I was hoping they would be man-to-man, but if they weren’t we were going to hold it for twenty seconds, just standing out there with everybody holding up four.
On why we shouldn’t say it was just Georgia Tech
“It’s the ACC, and it’s a marathon that’s run uphill for 26 miles. If you do that, you’re not doing justice to Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech has had some tough, tough games, like I said earlier, they also had some, they go to Miami and beat Miami, they had Duke and it was a six-point game, no excuse me it was a four-point game, in the last minute of the half. So I don’t think you’re being fair to Georgia Tech’s team. I think Brian [Gregory]’s done a really nice job with his team. Those kids work awfully hard, and this is the ACC. If you want to say it’s just Georgia Tech, that’s your right to.”