Dec. 28, 2016
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Josh Pastner
“First of all, I want to give credit to North Carolina A&T. They played really well and made it a tough game for us. You’ve got to give their coaching staff and their team a lot of credit so credit to them. Secondly, we avoided disaster. We found a way to win at the end. It wasn’t pretty. Early on we just could not make some shots and as I’ve said before it just kind of sucks the life out of you but we found ways to make some shots.
“Kellen McCormick saved us tonight, bottom line. [I] told our team post game we should all just give him a big kiss on the cheek because he flat out saved us tonight single handedly with his shooting. But you see what happens when you make shots, it ‘s an energizer. It just elevates your team and everything else. Fortunately we got a win, we’re sitting here 8-4. When I got the job and I’m sitting in April watching our first workout, if you asked me would you be 8-4 before you go to conference play… I would have given you a kiss on the cheek if we were going to be 8-4.
“Obviously most people picked us last place for the league play and some have picked us not even to win a game. We are going to have to get in there and find a way. We’ve got a tough stretch to open up, but every game in the ACC is a battle and we’re excited for the opportunity. We’ll get back and work at it and be ready to go on Saturday.”
On impact of Kellen McCormick’s shooting:
“The whole thing is shooting, being able to make some threes. I think we move the ball well, it didn’t stick, it was a hot potato, we kept the thing moving. We’ve just got to be able to make shots. In the short term, we’re just going to have to make some shots. In the long term, the best way to improve shooting is recruiting and we understand what we need to do to attack that. In the short term here for this year, we’ve got to make sure that we find ways to score. We’re moving the ball. The ball is being moved, we’ve just got to make some of those open shots. We have zero margin for error when we’re not able to shoot like that.”
On takeaways from the game heading into North Carolina and conference play:
“I think it’s always good after a win that you’re able to really jump the guys and get on the guys because it’s easier to do that after a win than obviously after a loss when their confidence is lowered. This is the first time that a team has played zone against us all year. We haven’t played zone. We play against it in practice against ourselves but no one has played zone against us other than maybe one or two possessions. Everyone has played man so this is the first time we’ve been zoned all year long other than us practicing against ourselves, but it’s not the same when another team does it. I think this will be good for us in the long run because it will help us get a lot of video to show and to clean some things up for zone offense.”
NORTH CAROLINA A&T HEAD COACH JAY JOYNER
“Tough night. It was a tough night for the Aggies. All we can do is keep plugging away trying to get better. I thought that Georgia Tech hit a lot of tough shots tonight. [Kellen] McCormick came up huge for them, unfortunately for us. He was able to go 4-for-5 from the three and really that was the difference in the game.”
On outrebounding Georgia Tech
“We work on rebounding. We are a much better team than our record suggests. We work every day on the things that we are supposed to work on. We have a lot of new faces this year so it’s taken us a while to get the chemistry together. The most important season for us right now is conference play. That’s what we have to get ready for. It’s really that simple.”
Why did Eliel Gonzalez not play tonight?
“Like I said, we’re trying to get the chemistry together. He was late the last two days to the bus to practice. I’m big on discipline and that’s why he didn’t play.”
What do you take away from tonight’s game?
“For 36 minutes, we went toe-to-toe with an ACC program. We really did. If we can continue to build going into conference play and play at the level that we did tonight, I think we’ll be in great shape come conference.”
How did Ben Lammers foul trouble affect the game?
“Our game plan was simply ‘take it to him [and] be physical.’ With that height and length, it would have been a much longer night for us if he’s out there on the floor. The game plan was to take it to him early.”