Feb. 22, 2006
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Hewitt
“I thought we played well for about 35 minutes, and then the last five minutes of the game we showed a lot of immaturity by fouling unesessarily. When you have a player of J.J. Redick’s caliber who’s obviously having a tough night, by evidence of some of the easy shots that he missed, you can’t bail him out by putting him on the foul line. We committed some pretty bad fouls. You can’t do those things. I hate to say we did it to ourselves, but we did it to ourselves tonight. When you have a team of their quality that executes so well, they don’t need any help. Putting him on the line 12 times, and I think all of them might have been in the last 6-8 minutes of the game, you just can’t do to it to yourself like that. They were silly fouls, just immature plays. When you have a player as good as he is having a tough night, you don’t need to give him the weapon to put you away. People will sit there and talk about them getting foul calls, but WE fouled them. You can talk about the turnovers all you want, but if we take away those 11 free throws (by Redick), it’s a different game.
[20 turnovers and 22 points off] — ” If you’ve got any answers, I’ve got a suggestion box outside.”
“This is who we are. We can’t pick up someone off the waiver wire or make a trade. The bottom line is, if we don’t make these unintelligent plays down the stretch, we’re in position to win the game. This team is good enough to win games, and that’s what absolutely drives you crazy.
[Anthony Morrow] — “Early in the half, he collided with Redick and took a knee to the quad. He had a thigh bruise and those are problematic. He was on the bike trying to keep it warm.”
“It’s not about good games, it’s about trying to win the game. Somebody asked me yesterday, How do you shut down Redick. The objective is not to shut down Redick, the objective is to win the game. That’s a very good basketball team. They’re the number one team in the country for a reason. But if you’re going to lose the game, don’t do it to yourself.
GEORGIA TECH FORWARD Jeremis Smith
On his back — “You have to go back there and check with the trainer to make sure everything is ok, make sure that there are not any bones broken, and get back out there.”
On playing against Duke — “Well last year I sat out a game at Duke, came back and played two more games against Duke and so I know their intensity, I know how the crowd is going to be, and the intensity out of the floor is going to be high so you have to come out and play aggressively. I think we did that tonight, but we’re going to go back and watch film and see otherwise.”
On the offense in the second half — “I think Anthony Morrow was in and out with a bad cramp during the game and I think that kind of threw us off. We played really hard on defense, I’m not sure on how many turnovers we had, but I’m proud of my team. Duke came back and played a great game the second half and what can you say.”
“When your team is up 11 on the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, it’s hard to explain it with words. You just shrug your shoulders and come back Saturday.”
GEORGIA TECH GUARD Mario West
On not finishing it out — “Obviously, we’re disappointed. Anytime you play the No. 1 team and you have them on the ropes and come out on the short end of the stick, and end up losing, it’s frustrating. We have to bounce back on Saturday against Wake Forest. It was a game where I felt like the first half we did well, we contained them and frustrated them. Then in the second half they got a couple of easy baskets, Shelden Williams and [J.J.] Redick are their leaders and when they got going, they got some energy from that. Down the stretch we didn’t make some shots and they just stayed with it. We couldn’t get over that hump at the end.”
On playing well against the No. 1 team in the country — “We expect to play this way, we expect to play even better than that. That’s not the best we can play and we expected to win tonight, but obviously we didn’t. I think we showed a lot of character and what this team is capable of if we play a 40 minute game.”
GEORGIA TECH CENTER Ra’Sean Dickey
On playing Duke — “We had our mindset that we had to have a good game offensively and defensively, team wise. We played hard on both ends of the court, but when we were not making shots, their energy picked up and they were making shots. We try and contest every shot, but he’s [J.J Redick] is just a great shooter. He might take a lot of shots and miss a lot, but he will also make a lot.”
DUKE HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
“Well the first thing that I want to do is congratulate my team on being ACC Champs. They’ve done a heck of a job and we beat a really good team tonight in order to do that. We’re proud of them and I thought Georgia Tech’s kids played really hard and really well together and their offense beat our defense in that first half. I think that’s the best that anyone has executed against our defense for 20 minutes all year. They shot about 70% from the floor and Fredrick in particular showed great poise, he had seven assists in the first half. In the second half we played much better defensively. I thought DeMarcus really gave us a huge lift and we put him on Fredrick and he did a really good job and then we defensive rebounded really well. We were able to get Shelden the ball in the second half and he asserted himself and he had a great game. He was a key offensively for us and it’s one of the few times all year where all of a sudden, JJ is not hitting. I thought for awhile we didn’t step up defensively to make up for that, but in the second half we did. Of course, he’s not going to stay quiet long and he made those five points to make it 58-53 lead and then he and Shelden really executed that inbounds play with 8 seconds on the shot clock and Shelden got a dunk and that was a key play. We’re happy with the win and want to say again that they played really hard and well against us. You saw the game and you saw that it wasn’t easy.”
On Redick’s cold shooting tonight — “I don’t think he’s ever been 2 of 17, but we just believe in next shot is your first shot. He and the guy whose record he just broke, Dawkins, were the two best at that and that’s where we first started teaching that. Where Johnny sometimes would be, not many times, 0 for 6 or 0 for 7, we would always say, `next shot is first shot’ and it showed. To me, that’s mental toughness. He’s a great player and a lot of players do well when it’s going well. And, you have to credit their defense and they were playing their butts off. So, it’s not just him missing, they played good defense against him.”
Was some of that your transition game tonight? — “We didn’t have many opportunities in transition because they hit every shot. If you do that, it’s amazing how you take away a team’s transition, but that’s part of it because it is tougher for a team to find him in transition. The other thing is Sean really hurt his hand against Miami and he just knew that he wasn’t right tonight and I’m thankful that he played 20 minutes and hopefully by Saturday he’ll be a little better.”
How do you enjoy winning another ACC Title and put it in perspective? — “Well, you try to do it through the kids. The first group is the seniors. Shelden and JJ have now won 110 games in their ACC careers and they are 110-20 or something like that and that’s a great record in itself. But, if you can be a regular season champ, a tournament champ, both maybe, this is a great league and it’s an accomplishment. Then you look at Josh McRoberts and this is his first and it makes it nice.