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Post-Game Quotes

Feb. 23, 2015

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GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory

 

Opening Statement

“I think you have to give Rick [Pitino] and their players a ton of credit.  I thought we did a good job for most of the game and they made some big plays down the stretch.  Obviously a couple of those threes were big for them.  We had some defensive lapses at the end of the game.  But again, I am disappointed in the result.  That’s a tough one to swallow again.  We played much more like we are supposed to play though in terms of the defensive effort, the energy that we played with, and in terms of sharing the ball and taking care of the ball.  We ask a lot of Marcus [Georges Hunt] as a junior.  He’s kind of a go-to-guy for us.  And against this team, he’s got to handle the ball a lot, make plays and make shots.  And on the other end, he has to defend their best perimeter player in [Terry] Rozier.  So he’s getting challenged quite a bit in every area.  But he keeps coming back, which is good to see, in terms of his attitude and the effort-level that he is playing with.  I thought there was a key stretch there with a couple of turnovers, but for the most part, I thought we followed our game plan pretty well.  You cannot go 4-10 from the free throw line when you play a top-20 team and you want to win the game.  I thought we did a great job on the glass, but they got some timely rebounds.  That’s why they are a top-20 team.  They made timely threes and got timely offensive rebounds.  And unfortunately, we were not able to do the same.”

 

On a tough shooting night for both teams

“Both teams played pretty good defense.  Sometimes you say, ‘What’s the matter with your offense?’  And you have to remember there is a team playing defense against you.  I think they [Louisville] were holding teams, for the season, at about a 34 percent field goal percentage.  We shot 41 percent.  Why did we shoot 41 percent?  We were able to get some stops, some rebounds, and some transition baskets.  Again, you can see that we are a much better team when we get the ball out and run.  You are not going to be able to do that all that time.  So now you are going to have to score some in the half court and have a post option.  And I agree with him [Coach Pitino] that Rozier took the game over in the second-half.  That’s why they are projecting him as a top-15 pick in the draft.”

 

On Louisville’s ability to get offensive rebounds late in the game

“I think there were probably two out of three possessions they got offensive rebounds on.  I know that on one possession they missed a shot, got a rebound and had a two-point put back.  The big one was when they hit the three on the left side off of a rebound.  And it happens.  You have got to fight through it.  We made a mistake on the coverage on that play.  I think [Montrezl] Harrell got the ball on a slip to the rim, but missed it.  We batted the ball around.  They missed a shot, batted the ball around, came up with the ball again and made the last three.  Those plays are always highlighted because they are at the end.  But you make so many plays before that to put yourself in that position.”

 

On nine assists in the first half

“Their [Louisville’s] pressure heated up a little bit on us in the second half.  We were not able to get as many run-outs.  One of the reasons why is because they shot 50% in the second half.  They shot 25% in the second half.  So much of our offense is predicated on getting defensive stops and rebounds.  When they score, now they are able to setup their press.  So we faced their press twice as much in the second half as we did in the first half.”

 

 

LOUISVILLE HEAD COACH RICK PITINO

 

Opening Statement

“I’m as proud of this basketball team as any game I’ve ever coached because I’ve never seen a team have so many open looks from layups to wide open shots off good ball movement and [they’re] not falling. Earlier this year we had the same thing happen and we got down and we didn’t play good defense. But these guys kept their attitude and just focused on one thing: winning the game. You know Georgia Tech is just like us. We have two better players than them, but they’re just like us. They run great stuff, but the ball doesn’t go in. They’re not a good shooting team and we’re not a good shooting team. And that’s the most frustrating thing because they do so many great things offensively and so many great things defensively, and so did we. But when the ball doesn’t go in you struggle. But they’re a team that played Duke to the wire and had them. Notre Dame in overtime. They’re young right now and they suffer the same things we suffer and that’s ‘you have wide open shots and they don’t go down.’”

 

Wayne Blackshear’s late three and two free throws

“Early in the season it would have bothered us when Wayne [Blackshear] missed the first two free throws of the game. It always happens that way. You lose your confidence. And I really got after them at half and I said, ‘Man you were open twice and you didn’t shoot. There’s only one way to get hot in basketball and that’s to shoot.’ Terry Rozier took that to heart. He had a first half that didn’t go his way, and then he was brilliant in the second half. The guys just played awesome defense, and like most of our games, we come alive shooting the ball in the second half. It’s surprising a little bit because of the amount of pressure that we put defensively that we still have those legs in the second half.”

 

Louisville’s attitude following the loss of Chris Jones

“Well I just told them that now we are a totally different basketball team; everybody’s got to play. Everybody’s got to mature and everybody’s got to play. And let me tell you at the end of the game I was going to take Chinanu [Onuaku] out and put Anas [Mahmoud] in. And Montrezl [Harrell] said, ‘Don’t do it, coach.’ And I said, ‘Montrezl they’re going to foul him if we stop them.’ And he said, ‘We need his defense.’ They fouled him. I wanted to kill Montrezl. And then Chinanu blocks the shot that seals the game for us. So if Montrezl doesn’t get picked in the lottery, I’ll hire him as an assistant coach.”

 

The scramble play in the final minute

“I wanted [Terry] Rozier to bring it out, but there was no stopping him at that point because he was going. Offensively, I give our guys the green light. I get upset at them like I was really upset at Wayne [Blackshear] not shooting. Shoot the basketball. Like tonight we had three challenged shots at half. That’s all. Missed layups. They learned a valuable lesson in the last few games: defense is winning it for them. We are going to get better offensively. We’ve just been having so much turmoil of all of sudden someone’s back and then he’s gone, but you never get a chance to practice. Your whole game plan changes in a matter of hours without practice time. It’s a little difficult, but now we’re all set and we’ll be ready to practice.”

 

On Atlanta being a special place for Louisville

“It brought great memories until halftime. You know when we couldn’t make a shot. Atlanta is a great town. Obviously for me and the University of Louisville it’s one of the most special places of any city in America. Atlanta is a very, very special place. I feel a great deal of pride, but I also feel a great deal of empathy for their coaching staff as well. Because I know what it is when you’re young and you don’t shoot the ball. It just eats you up. You know I’ve always said that sometimes a lack of patience is the worst thing programs can do. Sometimes you just have to be patient with young guys, because they’ll get it. I’m not telling the athletic director is the next John Wooden, but I can tell you something right now that he’s a top 15 coach in the nation. There’s no doubt. He kicked my [expletive] one time at Dayton and made me look like I never coached.”

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