Dec. 18, 2016
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Josh Pastner
“Good win, especially coming after finals. I know it has been a long layoff for us, 10 days, but we found a way to get a good win. I thought our first half for the most part was effective. I love 18 assists on 26 made field goals. I loved how we won the rebound battle, 46-31, with 18 offensive boards. We got to the free-throw line. We made more than the opponent attempted which is always a goal of ours.
“Defensively, they hit those threes in the first half but we did force them into 21 turnovers. It was good to get a good win and kind of validated the VCU win. I told our guys that we had to follow up with this game, with a win to make sure that we validate that VCU game so we were able to do that. Still got some things to work on. We’ve got to get better in some areas.
“Ben Lammers with another double-double. I old Quinton Stephens that he’s got to just own every rebound, he was two rebounds away from getting another double-double so he’s just has got to own that and keep trying to get those boards.
“We missed a lot of layups, a lot of short layups. We’ve got these three games in five days but once we get back from Christmas break and the young men aren’t in school, we’ll be able to have a little bit more time of individual attention and individual skill work to really work on some things especially like making layups. We work all the time on things like attacking, attacking, attacking and we’re getting to the rim, we’re just missing some short shots that we’ve got to be able to put in. We’re not a team that’s going to shoot a lot of threes, we’re going to be in attack mode. We had some good looks from three, we just missed some open ones. But a good win, always good to get a W.”
On winning 50/50 balls:
“That is something that we’ve practiced every day. We put the bubble up in our practice where the shot can’t go in so constantly the ball is flying all over and we’re diving on the floor. If guys aren’t diving on the floor then we blow the whistle and the whole team is running. That is very important to me, winning 50/50 balls. We were 15-3 advantage Georgia Tech in the first half on 50/50 balls. First side offense we were 20 percent. I was telling the guys that our pace has to still be better, our pace and speed, but our first side shooting we were 20 percent, second side 62 percent, third side 57 percent. We were at our best when the ball was being moved second and third side with great pace and speed. But that lead we had in the first half was strictly based on 50/50 balls and we won that battle and that’s a key emphasis that we talk about all the time.”
On Ben Lammers’ and Quinton Stephens’ improvement:
“When I first saw Ben in April, and I’ve told this to Ben too, when I first got the job and our first workout I was like man he’s got some talent but he has got a long way to go. To his credit the guy has been absolutely coachable, he’s done what we’ve said, he plays hard, he’s just a fine, fine student-athlete and represents Georgia Tech. He’s gotten better and better and better. He’s gotten more confident and I think he just hasn’t even really filled his whole potential. I’m proud of him, he’s got nine games and six double-doubles already, never had one coming into this year. It’s the same thing as Quinton. Quinton has totally changed his game. You see Quinton on the glass, the way he’s flying all over the place. He’s doing things he has never done. He has totally changed his game for the better. Both those guys did that and it’s a credit to them because both those guys in April, they were too different guys to where they are now and that’s a credit to both those young men.”
ALCORN STATE HEAD COACH MONTEZ ROBINSON
“I thought that Georgia Tech came out and played well against us. They really got us out of what we wanted to run. They pushed our wings out farther away from the basket from where we like to catch the ball at. They did a good job. They had a great plan for our guys. We tried to battle through it, but just could never get over the hump.”
On Reginal Johnson’s second half compared to the first half:
“That’s what he’s been doing for us the last eight games. I just thought that the first half, he normally is my guy that I can count on coming off the bench to give me 15 and 5 night-in and night-out, but it was like he was in quicksand. He couldn’t get out, he couldn’t make a move and couldn’t do anything. At halftime we went and we just talked to him and just told him with Marquis (Vance) with nagging injuries, I said ‘one of you guys is going to have to play a little bit too even give us a chance’. He stepped it up. He was able to battle and get in there in bang with their big guys and do the things he can normally do.”
On the three-point shooting in the second half:
“We had our feet set in the first half. We were taking quality shots. I just thought in the second half we rushed through them a little bit. We were trying to cut into that lead and the guys were getting anxious. We were trying to play four minute games at a time and normally when they have a lead on you like that some of the guys are thinking they can just win it back by themselves. That’s part of us growing up and having such a young team. We have 10 new players – six freshmen, three transfers and a grad [student]. Only two returning guys were on the court tonight with DeAndre Davis being out for the last six games, so only two returning guys from last year’s team are scholarship guys. So they are still learning each other. The freshmen are still learning play through a lot of different things. We played in segments. We played four minutes here and we would win four minutes or then they would go back into the deficit we were trying to cut away from.”
On the first three or more minutes of the game, as the guys seem a little unsettled:
“We couldn’t hold on to the ball. It was like the ball had some grease on it or some oil. That’s uncharacteristic of us. We had 21 turnovers and the most we’ve had all year was 12. We went out and played Colorado State and [coach] Larry Eustachy gets out and presses you and presses the wings and we went the whole game with zero turnovers. So, that was a little bit uncharacteristic for us. That’s something we don’t do. I just think that guys – I’ve got four or five Georgia guys on the team – that they were a little excited about coming home, and they just couldn’t push away their energy or whatever it may be they just couldn’t wipe if off their shoulders and they were just anxious and a little antsy.”
On the tough matchup on the boards with Ben Lammers:
“Yeah, he goes after it. He does a really good job of getting position and pushing your guys up underneath (the basket) with his hips and without doing it with his hands. Going after the ball, he gets his hands on a lot of things and tipping it out from our guys. A lot of times we had Reginal Johnson, we call him monster, he was on him and he is giving up five inches. You know, you go from 6-9 and 6-10 to 6-4 and 6-5 and something like that, I was just telling Reginal [Johnson] to keep pushing, to keep pushing him back and try to get him away from it.”
“They did a good job. They came up with, I think, maybe every 50/50 ball. The ball bounced around, we had our hands on it and they would come up with it. It’s just like in football, you tell your guys to keep going toward the guys that’s running and group tackle, and they were going after the ball. The ball was bouncing and they were sending three or four guys after it and we were standing there picking flowers in a lot of situations.”