Feb. 25, 2006
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Hewitt
“It was nice to see us play pretty good defensively, with the exception of that stretch in the first half where Eric Williams kind of took it at us. And it was nice to see Lewis Clinch [career high 20 points, five three-pointers) step up and play with a lot of confidence. We’ve tried to remind him that he is a very good player and he can make plays for us. That’s a nice boost for his confidence going into our last game. I think the injury more than anything delayed his progress, but he’s a very talented player. He can really score the ball, and I think we seen it slowly but surely starting to come along. I would expect him to get some consideration for All-Freshman. He’s a great athlete, and I always remind him that he can make plays off the ball. I don’t think he understands how much ground he cover. I think you’re starting see more of that – he had three steals today. He’s starting to see the floor better.”
On Anthony Morrow — He’s been thinking a little too much. You start thinking too much and your body slows down. Today he got back to being aggressive, and he was much more fluid out there. It helps when you have another guy knocking down shots. People can’t pay as much attention to you. When Lewis is going 5-for-7 from three, then that allows Morrow to run around out there without as much attention.”
“We’ve been playing pretty competitive basketball; we just haven’t closed games out. The one thing I’ve tried not to do is to look at the results and say we’re not making progress. Anybody who’s watched this team play knows that we’re making progress. You can see it. But, at the same time, you’ve got to learn how to close games a little bit better. Even today there was a stretch where we had the game in hand and we tried to make it a little bit of an adventure. It was nice to see us finish out making free throws and not turning the ball over the last two-and-a-half minutes.”
On the run by Eric Williams late in the first half — “It looked like we were scared of him, and that’s what we talked about in the locker room. It was just a matter of guys accepting the challenge. We certainly gave more help (in the second half) but his touches weren’t coming as easily. When he’s (Dickey) playing D and he put his mind to it, he can be a good defender. For some reason in the first half today, he didn’t want any part of it.”
“I just know that down the stretch we did two things we had to do. We made free throws and we didn’t turn the ball over. And defensively we didn’t have any breakdowns.”
Noting Georgia Tech: Lewis Clinch scored a career high 20 points, including five three pointers, also his high . . . Tech only had three turnovers in the second half after 11 in the first half . . . Tech has shot better than 50 percent in five of its last six games . . . Mario West had six assists with no turnovers in 26 minutes . . . This was just the sixth game of the season in which Tech had more assists than turnovers.
Georgia Tech Player Quotes
Freshman guard Lewis Clinch
On improvement as a defensive player — “Scott McDonald (Tech strength coach) worked with me a lot on that (lateral foot movement). Not only is it important to move your feet, but moving your hands up too, getting them in the shooter’s face.
About his development this season — I knew I was going to have to learn the system. Me being young and being a scorer, I’m going to have to learn to score on a completely different level where everybody is just as good or better. Everybody is just as quick or quicker. It’s a big adjustment. I feel like I’m getting over the hump.
On getting it going offensively if the first two or three go down — “I don’t want to really say I’m a rhythm shooter because I work on my shot. But the more you see the ball go in, the more confident you get. I think that’s just with any player.
On his defense — “I think defense is all about playing hard and helping with help. People don’t realize how if your man is on the opposite wing, and you’re sitting in the middle on the lane to help out with Eric Williams, that helps the team out. It’s all about playing team defense. Off the ball defense really pays off.”
Senior center Theodis Tarver
On emotions of senior day – “It was good to see everybody out there supporting me and supporting the team and coming out with a big win.”
Has four years here flown by? — “I’m getting old, man. I’m telling everybody here I feel like an old man.
How about today’s effort? — “It was good to get a win. I didn’t want to leave here on a bad note. It was good to come out like we did.”
WAKE FOREST HEAD COACH SKIP PROSSER
On Tech’s run to start the second half — “I thought that was sort of a microcosm of what has happened to us a lot this year. We are down nine the first half, playing pretty inefficiently, especially offensively, and cut it all the way down to two at the half. We allowed them a second shot basket, initially we stopped them; I think we turned it over and they got an easy basket, so two went quickly to six and then one of the guys who we talked about for two days making the guy bounce the ball, puts a three right in our mug and six becomes nine and for the rest of the second half now, you’re running uphill. Offensively we just aren’t efficient enough to continually run uphill. So what happens is, I thought we had several chances close to the basket, I thought we had free three opportunities that were 0 for 1 or 1 for 2, not a ton of turnovers, but enough of them in the second half. Then when you break down defensively, which was a recurring theme in the second half – they got too many shots back and the guys who we didn’t want to shoot threes, we allowed them to make catches and shoot threes. Again, we just have the margin for error and we are not a team like we’ve had in the past where we can score in bunches, so we can’t have those breakdowns. I thought the beginning of the second half is again a microcosm of what has happened and no question, that is where Tech really seized the game and took control.”
Was the triangle and two in reaction to Gray’s foul trouble? — “No, we planned on doing that, although he played a different spot because of his foul trouble. I thought the triangle and two was pretty good to us. I’ll have to watch the tape, but they missed a lot of their first shots and we didn’t do a good enough job. The guys who were the “two” if you will didn’t do a good enough job of keeping the ball out of guys’ hands. But, then when they caught it, Morrow and Clinch are very very good shooters. If Fredrick makes one or Bell or West, then ok, bad defense, but if those two guys make them, or you give up second shots, then that’s a recipe for disaster.”
Was there anything said about trying to get out of last place? — “No, we are just trying to win a game right now. You could cause-eye, bell eye in the world, the bottom line is that we’re just trying to win a game.”
Eric Williams has a huge first half and then makes the first basket of the second half and then gets shut down — “You guys saw the game, they were guarding him with like four guys. Paul Hewitt is a very bright guy, everybody in Atlanta knows that. We tried to make some substitutions to take a little bit of pressures off of him. We know Williams is effective, but the other team knows that too. They had the red army down there on him and our other guys have to make plays, as well.
“We had a couple of fast break opportunities that we didn’t convert. Again, when you are climbing uphill, every possession and the importance of that becomes magnified and in the second half, we cut it to six. Even after the technical, we get the ball out of bounds and throw it to no one and that’s tough. When you are coming from behind, that’s just hard and we just don’t have that margin for error.”
On holding Redick to 5-21 shooting and Gray to 5-18 today, how is their perimeter defense — “It’s very good. Redick and Justin are two pretty effective scorers. Justin had some good looks that he just didn’t knock down, as well. But, to his credit, he’s trying to bring the ball up, pass it to himself, shoot it and guard down at the other end. That’s not the easiest task in the world.”