March 6, 2018
Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament
Tuesday March 6, 2018
Boston College – 87, Georgia Tech – 77.
Josh Pastner: Okay, give Boston College credit. You know, they made some plays, and we just unfortunately just didn’t shoot the ball well enough, missed some key free throws. We had four turnovers the first half, and we took care of the ball, but we had some chances where we could just — couldn’t get over the hump. Missed a couple front ends of one-on-ones and had a couple rim out on us. We did a good job guarding the three against Boston College, but we didn’t make our shots.
And then nine turnovers the second half.
We made a great run late. That’s kind of like the microcosm of our team this entire year where they just have fought and competed, and every step of the way, every second of the way, we’ve dug ourselves into holes, and we find ourselves to keep competing and fighting and never giving up. That’s who we’ve been all year long, it’s just we’ve been one of those teams that we dig ourselves into a hole, and then when we get ourselves into a hole, we fight our way out of it, we just don’t — the hole is sometimes a little bit too deep.
I’m proud of these two young men to my left here in Ben Lammers and Tadric Jackson, who great seniors who have given everything that they’ve had to Georgia Tech. Ben Lammers is a mechanical engineer, and Tadric Jackson is going to graduate with business in the spring. Both are going to have great careers both on and off the floor moving forward. We’ve got a really good nucleus coming back. They’ve got great time and experience, especially with all the injuries, it’s allowed some guys to really get playing time and experience for them that maybe they would not have gotten, and we have a good recruiting class coming in.
We’re excited for the long-term and especially for the off-season, summer and the fall.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the fifth foul and also it seemed like you had all the momentum in the game and had a chance to really cut it down there.
Josh Pastner: Yeah, I mean, look, I think the ACC officials are the best in the country. They do a great job, and I think Brian Kersey and his whole entire crew is excellent. Of course there’s going to be times throughout the way you’re going to disagree with a call here and there, but in the end, you know, I think the officiating in the ACC for the entire year has been excellent, and I’ve said that many times before. That’s a credit to the league and the conference.
Yeah, there’s going to be times we disagree with a call, but in the end, we just dug ourselves in a little bit too deep of a hole.
Q. Ben, Boston College talked about how you were the focus of their defense basically in preparation; could you feel the difficulty of getting to a spot and sort of being pushed out on the coverage?
Ben Lammers: I mean, I could kind of tell that they were trying to focus on me or at least like trying to bump me out when they could, but since like five or six games ago, we made a lot of effort focusing on like me getting in the right position, especially on our offense where I’m at the high post. I noticed it a little bit, but it didn’t really affect me too much.
Q. Josh, can you talk a little bit about Okogie’s struggles today? Seemed like he was just off all around on defense and on offense.
Josh Pastner: Yeah, unfortunately he was really good last week defensively. He was really good, and then today he just wasn’t really good either side of the ball. You know, he’s just had a tough game today, and because of our lack of depth, and I’ve said this, in the part of the rebuild, we’ve got to get old and stay old and get to a point where we’ve got about eight surefire upper tier ACC type of guys. When you have a guy who’s off and/or injured, next man up is upper tier ACC level. And that’s just part of the plan of through recruiting we’ve got to get it done.
So a guy like today where Josh struggled because of our lack of depth at that spot, it just made it tough, and you’re going to roll with him, and he just never could get out of kind of that funk he was in. Look, he was third-team all league, he’s had a great sophomore campaign. I said before he played a game here, I said he was going to be an all league guy by his junior year, so he’s moved it up a year. He’s going to be a key focal point for us to do what we need to do next year and he’s going to be an important part of that obviously and I think he’ll be a great leader for us and continue to improve.
Q. I’m curious about Ben. In the first half, did you feel like there was more you could have done to get him the ball?
Josh Pastner: Well, we were talking about it in the time-outs, and we wanted to get Ben the ball more. He got to the free-throw line. They did foul him, and he got to the line 12 times. But part of it, Josh had some good looks, Tadric had a couple really good looks, and then we swung the ball to Moses a couple times and he had some great looks, we just missed some shots and they stayed clamped down and tight on Ben. It’s a shooter’s game. You’ve got to make some shots. The more shots you make, it’s going to open some things, and we’ve got to get shooting through recruiting to be able to shoot the ball. I mean, that’s such a big part for us, especially the way we play offensively with some of the cutting that we do and our spacing.
Last year we weren’t a good three-point shooting team, and this year we haven’t been. So we’ve got to increase that through recruiting, recruiting guys who can really fill it up from the three.
Q. Tadric, after today and overall, how did you feel about the way the season panned out for you guys? I know injuries were a struggle.
Tadric Jackson: I mean, of course you’re going to be down. It’s not where we wanted to be. To lose the first round, and could have had a chance to win, it just hurt, just deep down. To sit here and say it’ll be all right, but it’s not, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to just keep moving on with life and just keep getting better.
Q. Tadric, it seemed like you kind of willed the team back into the game there in that late stretch. Was there something — was that just kind of the mentality this could be your last game and you wanted to kind of spark them to do something?
Tadric Jackson: No, it just started from getting stops. Once we started getting turnovers. It wasn’t all me. It was definitely a team effort. Getting deflections and stops and turnovers there just gave us a better chance to run the break and get a score.
Q. Josh, did you give any thought, particularly with the way Moses was struggling to getting Abdoulaye in the game earlier?
Josh Pastner: Yeah, you know, Moses had six boards the first half. And Moses is going to be really good for us, as is Evan, and as is A.D. A.D. got great experience this year and it’s going to bode well for him next year. But I wanted to kind of see if Moses could get out of it because he was rebounding, he was guarding, it was just the offensive issue. And I felt with A.D. in there, shooting-wise he’s not much better than Moses, and so — but I felt the experience and the way Moses was going on the glass, as in terms of him playing hard, and I thought that was a good sign for him and us, and hopefully this experience will pay dividends for us and for him next season.
Q. How much has not having a point guard affected your ability to play A.D. and Ben together? It seems like that’s kind of why —
Josh Pastner: It’s a recipe for disaster to play in the ACC without a point guard. The good news is we’ve got José coming back after his injury. We signed a kid Michael Devoe. So we’ll have two on the roster. We’ll end up maybe even — you can always slide Josh as a third option at the point spot and then possibly we’ll see what we can sign in the spring if there’s a need on that.
But recipe for disaster to play in the ACC without a true point. But that’s what happened when Jose went down versus Duke. It was kind of like our eighth team during one season trying to adjust with the guys. But they’ve adjusted, and Tadric has done a nice job over the last few weeks running the point. I know that’s not his natural position, but he’s taken a load of it and has handled it well, and we won two great games last week, and part of that was the way Tadric ran the point.
Q. For Ben and Tadric, can you talk about this being your last game at Georgia Tech, kind of what your emotions are like right now?
Ben Lammers: Obviously it’s very sad knowing that this is the last game I’ll be able to play for Georgia Tech. I’ve had a great time playing for the school. They’ve been nothing but amazing to both of us. I wish I could maybe have a few more years to represent Georgia Tech.
Tadric Jackson: Yeah, just going to piggy back on what Ben said. Any seniors don’t want to end off with a game like this on their first day, and obviously you want to keep winning and stay out here on the road and try to extend it as long as you can. But it’s just a — we’ve both just got to move on to our careers. And I just want to thank the coaching staff and all the players and the organization and Georgia Tech for me having this opportunity.
Q. The start of the second half, you had some stops, and it seemed like they were kind of opening a door for you but you weren’t able to walk through.
Josh Pastner: Yeah, we got stops. We were guarded, and we just couldn’t score. We had some good looks — we had some great looks and just couldn’t make some shots there and had some opportunities we just didn’t take advantage of. You know, it’s been one of those years where the ball just hasn’t bounced our way. In that type of segment there when that door was open, we just didn’t take advantage of it and score the ball there, but we did get some stops and just didn’t make it happen.
Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament
Tuesday March 6, 2018
Boston College – 87, Georgia Tech – 77
JIM CHRISTIAN: I was really proud with our defensive effort today. I thought for 40 minutes, maybe up until the last two minutes, one of our better defensive efforts. Guys were locked in on the game plan, really making it difficult for them to get to the basket. And then obviously offensively, if we can go 2 for 14 from three and win the game, we played a really good floor game today. That’s what gave us a chance. That’s usually not our MO, so I know we’ll shoot the ball better in this tournament, and we’re happy to move on. We’re lucky enough to play another day.
Q. Ky, we all know how this ended for you last year, but I never asked you, how much did that drive you to get back here this year?
KY BOWMAN: I knew my opportunity was going to come around again, so just being able to come here again and play again was a great feeling for me, but being able to get back on the court with my teammates was even better.
Q. At the same time, can you just talk about the number of ways he impacted this game, whether it was with his play making at the end of the first half, the and-ones in the middle of the second half, and even with eight turnovers?
JIM CHRISTIAN: Yeah, the turnovers sometimes, they’re just plays he’s just going to grow from, but he’s got the ball a lot, so we depend on him to do a lot of things. It’s running our offense, it’s being the point of our defense, it’s rebounding the basketball, leading the break. The one thing we did our guards rebounded the ball again today and we were able to get out and run. When we’re able to get out and run we can make plays on the break and that’s the difference with our team. We have to get stops, we have to rebound, and then we have to attack. And when we get another guy, an additional guy to Jordan, Ky and Jerome, today Niko played phenomenal, maybe the best game he’s played since he’s been here. When we can get that other guy to step up, we become a really good team.
Q. Nik, what has happened with your game over the last month? You’ve become so much more efficient. What has changed for you?
NIK POPOVIC: My guards, like my teammates find a way to feed me all the time. Sometimes it’s like I waste balls sometimes. Not this game I didn’t. So I do a good job recognizing when I have a good day, and they open up shots for me.
Q. I know the game just ended, but you play NC State tomorrow, a team that plays up tempo and very fast. Do you think getting this win helps you today? Do you think that might hurt that you have to play two games back to back like that?
KY BOWMAN: I think with us playing today, it just builds off of this. We can just build confidence going into the next game. It’s just going to help us. Our strategy to win the next game should be higher.
NIK POPOVIC: Yeah, definitely. We know the weaknesses from the last game, so it should be better this time.
Q. You talked about this was one of your better defensive performances. Georgia Tech started out 2 of 10 but 0 of 5 from three-point land. Did you try to force them outside of the arc?
JIM CHRISTIAN: No, we just do what we always do, and just be aware of certain guys. I think it was more important for us to take away the drives and some of their basket cuts than it was to — if they’re going to beat us from three, they’re going to beat us from three. But it changes every night who you play, and you can’t just play one way in this league, the teams are too good. And they adjusted and they attacked us I thought in the second half much better than they did in the first half. Then we had to execute on the offensive end, which I thought we did until maybe the last two minutes where we had a couple mistakes against the pressure. I thought we executed very well all day.
Q. Jim, you guys were up by 19 with about six and a half minutes to go. What happened at that point? Did they just turn it on or did you guys get a little sloppy?
JIM CHRISTIAN: I think it was both. I thought we stopped guarding, and we started giving up lay-ups. If you give up lay-ups they’re going to get back in the game. We made a couple mistakes turnover wise, but it happens. Guys will just keep playing. It’s going to be like that the whole way. They’re not going to go down easily in March, nobody is. So it’s really not one way or the other, it’s a combination really.
Q. Did you ever feel like the lead was threatened or did you feel like you still had it under control all the way?
KY BOWMAN: I felt like we still had it under control. They were picking up pressure. We know in the ACC tournament everybody is going to make a good run, so they made a good run on us so we just had to bounce back from it.
Q. Ky, you seemed very free, loose, play making out there today. Why were you able to be so successful?
KY BOWMAN: Just last year this opportunity I had, I wasn’t able to play the second half with my team, so this year was even a better feeling for me to get out there and play a game with my teammates.
Q. About 24 hours until you tip off again. What is that preparation like moving forward?
JIM CHRISTIAN: My preparation probably begins in about 20 seconds. Their preparation doesn’t begin until we meet with them later — get off their legs, rest, enjoy this win, until we meet and talk about NC State. But this is an important time to enjoy. I want these guys to enjoy it, and then we’ll start getting ready right away. We’ve already played them once. We know a lot of stuff that they do. We know how they’re going to attack us in certain ways, and we’ll be prepared and ready to go, but really it’s about rest right now.
Q. Given the way that Ben Lammers finished the season playing a little healthier, and also the way he played against you, were you braced for a full dose of him?
JIM CHRISTIAN: Well, if you looked at how he played coming down the stretch at the last five games, he got back to maybe the way he was at the old. They played him at the 5 a lot more where he’s a little more comfortable. And he’s a huge piece, so he was a real big focal point of ours. It was the majority of our preparation in this game was to try to take him off certain spots of the floor. He’s so effective and such a good player. That was really the focal point of our preparation in playing them.
Q. You talked a little bit about just the importance of you guys wanting to make a run in this tournament. This is obviously the first step, but it’s a big one.
JIM CHRISTIAN: It’s always the hardest step. The first game is always the hardest to play. Kids are excited. They’re a little bit nervous in a good way because for the first time we’re actually trying to win games. They’re fighting for their season, as was Georgia Tech. It’s rewarding for everybody that we’re fortunate enough to play the next night, or afternoon.
Q. Nik, Ben Lammers has played 40 minutes. As a big guy, can you kind of appreciate that sort of effort that goes into playing that many minutes?
NIK POPOVIC: I mean, yes, and I certainly know that he didn’t play his best game, because I played him before, and I know this wasn’t his best game for sure. I mean, he played 40 minutes, and that was a lot. I mean, even it’s a lot for me, so I don’t know how he handled playing a 40-minute game.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #166 at 2018-03-06 19:44:00 GMT