Jan. 13, 2007
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Hewitt
“It’s nice to have guys who can make plays when their coach can’t think of anything. There were three plays in that game – Thaddeus’ drive on the baseline, the jump shot that Javaris made the and the shot fake that Zach Peacock made in the corner – that were just guys making plays, and that’s what the game came down to. It’s nice to have guys who can step up and make a play at a crucial time.
“We’re starting to understand that we’ve got to compete on every possession. It sounds corny but it’s true. Make them earn it. As disappointing as the loss at Clemson was, I was really positive. I felt great after that game. Our defense is coming around. They shot 50 percent, but I felt like a lot of their shots were contested and were tough shots that they made.
“We’re a gifted offensive team. As I keep telling them, offense is not going to be the reason why you get into the lineup. Mouhammed got into the lineup because of defense. Anthony Morrow has made a great effort in practice to become a better defender, and I’m starting to see it on the court. The other guy I’d like to try to work into the lineup is D’Andre Bell because every time he’s on the court he does something to help us defensively. When we defend, it really sparks our offense. On a normal defensive day, we can score a lot of points, but when we really play well defensively, then we’re really explosive offensively.
“If you’re going to be a quality team, you have to be consistent. We came out and did what we had to do and got a win.
[Mario West] “He’s been great all year. I’d really hate to think where we’d be without this guy. Every big win, he’s been in the middle of. He’s made a play here or there – he gets the steal, the alley-oop dunk. The other night against Duke he had that steal in front of there bench. In some losses, guys have put up impressive numbers, but it doesn’t matter if you’re the leading scorer in a loss. It’s what you do to help your team win, and that’s what he does. He’s involved in a lot of winning plays.
“I think our guys will tell you we need to take better care of the baskeball, but I think we all feel we’re improving defensively. With the exception of turnovers, I think we’re making some tremendous strides.
NOTING GEORGIA TECH – Javaris Crittenton scored a career-high 23 points . . . Mario West also achieved a career-high with 18 points. In fact, this was just the second double-figure scoring effort of his career against an ACC opponent. The other one also came against Florida State as he scored 10 against the Seminoles in 2005 . . . Anthony Morrow has averaged 16.2 ppg over the last five games . . . Tech shot over 50 percent from the field for the fifth straight game. The Jackets are now shooting .538 from the field in four ACC games.
FLORIDA STATE HEAD COACH LEONARD HAMILTON
You had seven consecutive possessions early in the second half that resulted in seven consecutive turnovers. Talk about how that affected the outcome.
“That will do most any team in, when you have a stretch like that. I don’t know if [Georgia Tech] had much to do with any of those turnovers, with the exception of one, but it was taking the ball out of bounds and losing the concentration [that caused the turnovers]. It was just unbelievable that we would have that kind of stretch. Normally, we’d be sound in those positions, and it’s like we invented different ways to turn the ball over. Those kinds of turnovers, you don’t even coach against. It was a comedy, and we are very fortunate that they only scored on one possession. The truth of the matter is that, of those seven possessions, we didn’t have the opportunity to get a basket, We shot 50 percent from the floor, and we cut it to one, and then back to six during that stretch and were right where we needed to be. You turn the ball over seven times and what was a six-point game becomes a 13-point game and you’re digging out of a hole for the remainder of the game. Now you’re playing even, but that’s not good enough.
“You look at the two or three shots that they hit with the clock running out at the buzzer, and you give a team that opportunity to make those types of shots when you turn the ball over.”
If you came into the game saying that you’d outscore Georgia Tech in field goals, out-rebound them, and hold Dickey to six points, would you have thought this would be the outcome?
“The thing that disappointed me the most was that we had a period in the first half when defensively, we were not [good]. They had a stretch where Crittenton hit two threes, and Thaddeus Young and those two threes he hit in the first half, I thought that we had coached against all week. We didn’t want to give him left-hand drives. We didn’t sit on his left hand, and he shot a very comfortable three. And then with the three that Peacock hit from the top of the key, those were five threes that really could have been avoided with us sticking with our defense that we’d talked about all week long. Those things, you can look back and see that they never should have happened. Those are 15 points that could have been avoided. During the flow of the game, you can’t come off those guys. They weren’t coming off of the screens, they were catch-and-shoot type of threes. Normally, you have to run people at them, and I thought that we were very soft on all five of those shots.”
How much did it hurt with Morrow hitting the three-point shot just before halftime?
“Those things will happen. They have good players. They get good shots and the ball bounces that way. We had a couple of times where we forced them into a couple of shots, and the ball bounced long and into the air where one person happened to be [a Georgia Tech player]. That happens when you have seven turnovers in a row and give up five uncontested threes. We shot 50 percent from the floor, and we probably should have gotten to the foul line a little more. But we’re still not as efficient with our low post game.”
GEORGIA TECH GUARD Javaris Crittenton
On being a competitive guy — “I am a competitive person. I just want to come out and compete and win at all times. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen every single time, but I’m going to go out there and give it my all every time.”
On his improvement over the last three games — “I’m just studying film and trying to learn all that I can. Coach (Paul Hewitt) has been getting on me and helping me improve in the areas that I need to improve on and helping me become a better basketball player.”
On the slow start and the turn around — “We came out flat, and everybody saw that. We knew that we had to pull together, this was an ACC game and it was going to be tough, so we had to step it up and that’s what we did.”
On the week off before UNC — “Yes I think it does because it gives us time to practice and time to rest. Practice gives us time to get ready and prepare.”
GEORGIA TECH GUARD Anthony Morrow
On winning the last two games and how much it meant for the season — “These were two huge games for us. We played two great teams in Florida State and obviously Duke, and this is big for our confidence. I think we are playing great basketball right now, and we need to continue playing defense the way we have been playing it.”
On filling the offensive void left by Lewis Clinch — “Not really pressure, because I knew that the offense was going to come. I have shed the bad weight that I gained, so I knew that my legs were going to come back and I would be fine. I really challenged myself defensively, telling myself that if I wanted to play more, I had to really get after it on the defensive end.”
On the team turning the season around — “We all pulled together and knew what we had to do. Everyone knows what kind of season we had last year, except the freshman, and the core guys, myself, Ra’Sean Dickey, Jeremis Smith and Mario West, pulled the team together and really made an effort to lead this team. We have to be the ones to show them the way.”
GEORGIA TECH FORWARD Thaddeus Young
On validating the win against Duke tonight — “We needed this, just to get us to the 50-50 mark. Now we have to get over the 50-50 mark against UNC next week. If we get over the 50-50 mark, then we can really do something.”
On the difference of the intensity and confidence level over the last four or five days — “No I wouldn’t say that. We have been going real hard in practice and it shows out on the court.”
On winning games without perfect stats — “The stats aren’t pretty, it hasn’t been us. We’ve been playing really good defense and that’s what has allowed us to get these last two wins. Defense is the key to the game.”