Dec. 3, 2013
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“That was a heck of a game. I’ll start off with Illinois. They’re good. They have a chance to be very good this year. They got some veteran players in the starting lineup that really know how to win games. (Rayvonte) Rice gives them an extra dimension with his ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the free throw line.
I thought a big key to the game was offensive rebounding. I thought we did a great job there. We really emphasized that in the one day we had to get ready. I’m just really proud of our guys. That’s the kind of game I really thing a Georgia Tech team should play. That’s the way I envisioned it. Playing with that type of toughness, that type of intensity and energy. At this point of the process, sometimes we are going to struggle offensively, I can live with that. We stuck together at those times and then found a way there at the end to get it done.
Our two sophomores were exceptional today, and we need that on a daily basis. Our senior Daniel (Miller) and Trae (Golden) made some plays there at the end. We’re getting better play from all the guys. Now we have a month where we can practice. In the last three weeks we haven’t practiced at all. We’ve got a ways to go, but if you give that type of effort and play with that type of intensity, then you got a shot.
I thought the place (McCamish Pavilion) at the end there was electric. This place can be a heck of a place for a game. We’ve got to do our part, but when it gets going, it’s pretty fun to be in. I appreciate the fans.”
Guarding Ravyonte Rice during the run to build the lead in the second half:
“(Rice) He was good. He made a couple tough ones there on Marcus (Georges-Hunt). We changed some things up there just to give them some different looks, that seemed to work a little bit. Rice is just such a good player. We just needed to keep him off the free throw line, that’s where he hurt us. A couple of those jump shots were good. Good teams and good players rise up, and that’s what he did. He made some good plays there for them at the end. We did do a great job on him with that one shot clock violation, and forced him into a tough one. We just had to kind of hang in there. At that point, I was more concerned with our offensive performance.”
Points in the paint in the first half, and adjustments in the second half:
“It’s interesting, those 16 points in the paint were all against the zone. That’s all they ran in the first half. We’ve gotten a little better at playing against the zone. One of the reasons for that is we made plays for each other. We drove gaps, kicked out and got the ball in the post. Those post players are good passers. They played more man-to-man in the second half. Where we’re at now is that sometimes it takes a while to get comfortable with what we’re doing. We didn’t start off good against the zone. Then the last eight minutes in the first half, I thought we did a really great job on moving the ball against the zone. Then they switched to man-to-man, and we struggled again to get our feet underneath us. That’s kind of where we’re at right now. We need to be able to do it the first and second possessions and not take three possessions to kind of get a feel for what’s coming at us.”
Robert Carter Jr.’s free throw shooting improvement:
“He’s a good shooter. One thing I told him is that everybody likes to score points. He’s doing a great job on the glass. I really challenged him in the off-season. He’s gotten stronger, he’s lost weight, he’s in better shape. I told him `you have to become a better rebounder’. I told him he’d be averaging 13 and 10 if he would just make his free throws. Today it was interesting. We shoot free throws on the day of the game, and his stroke looked good. I think he’s getting better at it and he’s getting more comfortable with it. What’s more important is that he got eight free throws. It means he’s getting aggressive on the glass.”
Marcus Georges-Hunt’s performance:
“He was banged up in that St. John’s game and that really hurt us. He made some plays tonight. The best thing about Marcus Georges Hunt is this; he drove a play to get fouled, not to finish and maybe get fouled, and the ref made the right call and didn’t call it. I call him over and I said, `you can’t do that. You’ve got to drive it to score and if you get fouled, you get fouled.’ He said, `coach your right, we’ll get a stop, we’ll make it up.’ That’s what you need.
ILLINOIS HEAD COACH JOHN GROCE
“This one is pretty simple. They out-executed us at the end of both halves. We had a nine-point lead at 26-17 and when we had some really bad offensive possessions, it led to some transition opportunities for them. They ended up going three at the half. We did not close the first half like we needed to close the first half. I give Georgia Tech a lot of credit; they made some plays. They didn’t flinch when they were down 26-17. Then we came right back with a 12-point lead with 6:24 to go, then it repeated and it happened again. I thought our effort was good. I was proud of how hard we played. I thought our attitude was great, our body language was great. I thought our toughness was better than it was when we won against IPFW on Friday. I thought our execution was absolutely pathetic. It was awful. Out of timeouts – bad; bad passing, bad catching. Not a toughness about us for us to execute what we needed to execute. I’ve got to help them with that.
We probably turned the ball over more out of timeouts this year, than we did combined last year in 36 games. It’s inexcusable. That starts with me and the guys that are out there together to get better. We have to figure that out. I did not like our execution at all. When you play in a game like this one, when they were making some plays, I thought Robert Carter, Jr. was terrific down low, it was a high level game, unfortunately, you have to have both effort and execution. We did not have enough execution. Georgia Tech did. I don’t want to point fingers at our offensive execution; I thought our defensive execution was equally bad. You can’t lose their best three-point shooter on a vision and can’t get rejected on a ball screen and we did that. Execution awfully poor on our end and execution in both halves awfully good on their end. I was more upset with our toughness after we won on Friday night, but this had nothing to do with that.”
Did you make any adjustments on Tech shooting in the paint?
“Yes. They’re big inside. Those guys are older. I remember what Carter, Jr. looked like last year in Champaign and you can tell he’s really worked on his body. He looks great. Miller is older, a red-shirt guy, good size. I really have a lot of respect for Kammeon Holsey. I love the motor he plays with. I enjoy watching him on film because I think he plays hard all the time. It looks like he’d be fun to coach. They have great size and experience and weight and girth down there. We felt like we needed to give them different looks. I wouldn’t change that. We doubled them at times. We zoned them at times. At the end of the day they shot 41 percent, we’re ok there. I just thought our execution on the offensive end and a little bit defensively was poor and they did a good job taking advantage of that.”
Did they take away Rayvonte Rice in the last 10 minutes?
“I didn’t think our execution was very good. I thought he made a great play on the last one. I told those guys Joseph Bertrand was 7-for-10 from three coming into the game and he’s very good from the corners. He teed it up with the wind at his back and he missed it. I’m not upset with that one. Guys miss shots. If we had that again, I’d expect Ray when he drove the ball and got tripled or doubled to throw it right to him again and we’ll go with that again. Prior to that, we came out of the one timeout and turned the ball over. Nnanna Egwu turned the ball over. We didn’t make enough execution plays and they have more quality possessions than we did to their credit.”