Nov. 25, 2005
– Illinois-Chicago Head Coach Jimmy Collins
“I am really pleased with the way we fought because in the last game we didn’t fight nearly as hard. This is our first victory over an ACC team, which is quite an accomplishment for our program. We’ve been telling them that they have the makings to be a very, very good team if they continue to be patient and play hard and continue to play together. We knew Georgia Tech was going to present a problem for us, athletically, but if we hung together we would be alright. We got on a roll and our confidence went up and Josh Mayo seemed to really blossom tonight. It’s a great win for us over Paul’s team because I know that he does a great job coaching them. They’re young, and we’re young, so we feel really, really good about winning here.”
“They showed some real calmness and real coolness during that period. Coach Mark Coomes, who does a lot of our offensive stuff noticed what they were doing and he came with a set where we brought our point guard up. He’s our best free-throw shooter and we wanted the ball in his hands, and Coach Coomes noticed that and we made some adjustments in that press. We knew that if we stayed patient, we were ahead, and we felt like if we stayed patient, it would be them that would have to get really aggressive.”
“This is the first time our program has ever beaten an ACC team, to my knowledge, and it’s a step towards where we are trying to go. We want to be a program that people will say that this is a really good program, and we want to play those guys. The only way for us to do that is to start winning some games of this magnitude, of this nature. So it’s a great win for us.”
“The team last year was obviously a very experienced team. Athletically, this team is full of great athletes. You had the big guy Schenscher, you had Jack, and Paul came in and stole one of my players, Will Bynum. He used to be my neighbor, but I moved after he came here. We knew that that team was a very experienced team and that team wouldn’t lose once it got a lead. This team was a little bit younger than that. At some point in time, I think they thought that they couldn’t win, and then they focused and came back and got those steals and played really, really hard. I think eventually, you’ll see a team that plays like that all the time.
Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Hewitt
“The two things we wrote on the board before the game were, Defend off the dribble and Keep them off the offensive boards. In the first half, they had 12 offensive rebounds, then in the second half, they got up a little bit, spread us out and beat us off the dribble.
“Certainly we didn’t play as well as we’re capable offensively, but we’ve got to do a much better job of separating what goes on on the offensive end of the floor and just get out there and play defense.
“UIC played very tough. I talked to our guys about their scores coming in. They beat the Mountain West favorite (San Diego State), they beat the Big Sky favorite (Montana State), so I said, Discard that last score. They’re going to come in here and play hard, and they’re a good basketball team, so nobody can say we took them lightly. We didn’t. We had a lot of respect for them coming into this game. We knew what they were capable of, despite the score of their recent game.
“It’s game by game. This team is capable of doing good things. As I said the other day, it’s a matter of getting them to understand that you’ve got to try to win every possession, every game. You’re not going to win every one, but you certainly have to play as if you intend to win every possession. You certainly can’t take any possessions off. This is a tough thing for us, but they came in here and out-toughed us. Plain and simple.
“We missed a number of easy shots around the rim, but give them credit. They got 16 offensive reboiunds.
(After cutting it to six, 47-41, did you think you could come back?) “Of course, but at the same time, you know from experience that you’ve got to do it. That team is too good and too tough mentally and physically to expect them to fold up because you make a 6-0 run on them.”
“I’m sure there’s a great deal of disappointment in our locker room right now, but dwelling on this one, other than to learn from it and correct the mistakes that we made, is not going to do any good.”
“When you’re not shooting well, you’ve got to keep doing other things. Good basketball teams, teams that are going to be in the hunt, understand that you’re energy level on defense is not at all affected by what you’re doing on offense. And I would put that on myself because I obviously haven’t drilled that point home hard enough.”