Nov. 28, 2006
– Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Hewitt
“I thought Penn State played a very good basketball game offensively. That’s the first time we’ve seen that much zone, and I think we handled it very well, making 10 threes. For seeing 39 or 40 minutes of zone, 10 threes in a good number and we shot a good percentage. But defensively we’ve got to find ourselves. We got lost a little bit. We played pretty well against Purdue and for the most part against Memphis. We didn’t play well defensively against UCLA, and again tonight, especially off the dribble, our defense was non-existent.
“[Thaddeus Young, who did not play due to tendonitis in his knee] It’s a nagging injury. I guess if we had really pushed it, he could have played tonight, but I didn’t see the sense in doing that.
“Our big guys didn’t handle their double teams well at all. We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to recognize when the double team is coming and get off the ball. Our ball movement has got to improve.
[Anthony Morrow] “He’s a shooter. Yes, he’s getting his legs back, but I think he’d be the first to tell you that in order for him to make a significant contribution to this team, he’s got to guard. He’s got to guard, especially off the dribble.
[Lewis Clinch] “He’s making shots, but I’m very honest with my guys. Of the 20 he scored, I know of at least six he gave back in the first half on just simple breakdowns. Our guys are giving a great effort; they play hard. If it’s about just playing hard and being an also-ran, we’re good enough right now. But if we want to play hard and give ourselves a chance to string some wins together, we’ve got to play better defensively. Lewis is a terrific scorer, but he’s got to defend better, especially when he’s being screened. We got six or seven guys who can score 20 on a given night, but if you’re going to be a consistent basketball team, the scoring is irrelevant.”
Penn State Head Coach Ed DeChellis
Did you anticipate Georgia Tech shooting that well from three-point range? — “They are a good team. I think they can beat you a lot of ways. I thought that we could push out on them and make them make threes. That was more beneficial to us than trying to guard them man-to-man, taking us off the dribble and getting the ball inside a little more. You’ve got to pick your poison. Tonight they made some shots – Morrow made the big one in the corner with a minute and a half to go in the game. That was a back breaker. But I thought we had the tempo where we needed it, we just weren’t very strong with the ball in the backcourt.”
On Georgia Tech’s Lewis Clinch — “He’s a good player. I’ve seen him in AAU a bunch and last year he had a very good year. He’s a very good basketball player. Tonight for some reason we didn’t find him in the zone like we needed to. We talked about #0 and #1 for a couple of days. We just didn’t find them. It’s the first time that we have played on the road, and we didn’t do some things that we needed to do – make shots. We went into the game thinking if they make shots from three, and make a bunch of them, then it’s going to be a tough night for us. But if they don’t make shots and we keep it close, the basket gets smaller and maybe we have a chance.”
On having a full lineup tonight for the first time — “[Geary] Claxton is still limited – he has this thing on his hand and he can’t shoot the basketball and he can’t drive it right-handed. So he’s limited offensively. We tried to get him around the basket, we tried to get him in the post. We tried to post him up and have him offensive rebound. But I think that he’s a good defender and a good rebounder and he does that for us. We’ll try to work him back into the lineup. We’ve been kind of banged up. We got in foul trouble in the post with our other big kid and had to play another young kid inside and he wasn’t strong enough yet to match up with the big kids that Georgia Tech has right now.”
Do you take a moral victory from tonight? — “I don’t believe in moral victories. I told our team that I thought that we competed and I thought we had a chance. I think we have improved in the last week. As a coach you want your team to try to get better. I thought that this was an important game for us to see if we have improved. I think we have improved since a week ago when we played. Is it a moral victory? No, it’s still miserable. It’s a loss. But I thought that we did some positive things, and I thought that we showed some things that we really need to work on. I think it’s what these games, the fifth or sixth game of the season, what we are trying to find out about our team.”
Do you welcome this type of competition? — “I was really concerned about the speed of the game. We haven’t played this way and we haven’t had to sprint like we had tonight. I was really concerned about the first four or five minutes. After that we really caught up to the speed of the game. Going into it, I was concerned because they have played two high-level teams and we have won some games at home but no the kind of up and down that we saw tonight. I welcome the competition, and hopefully we got something out of it.”