Dec. 29, 2015
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“First off, I think we played a heckuva team tonight. They are very, very good…We had to play an exceptionally disciplined game in order to be successful tonight and that’s exactly what we did. Those two guards (for Duquesne) are as good (of a pair of) guards we’ll face all year long especially the way they played tonight. But give our guys credit. I thought they came out swinging in the first eight minutes; they had 23 points on us, were really hurting us on the glass and then we settled in and playing Georgia Tech basketball in terms of getting some defensive stops, controlling the glass, getting our (fast) break going, getting the ball inside, playing inside-out. I’m proud of our guys from the 12-minute mark (in the first half) until one minute to go in the game I thought we played exceptionally well. I’m not really happy with the last minute to be honest with you. We kind of lost our focus a little bit, but that’s a good win against a good quality team. We had a slip up here and there in the nonconference but at 10-3 I feel good about where we’re at because I feel like we can still get better.”
On play of Ben Lammers…
“Ben Lammers was the player of the game. He played unbelievably well. That was the best one-basket performance I’ve ever seen in 26 years of coaching. He played exceptionally well, playing both the 4 and the 5 spot. He read some ball screens, now he’s guarding a guard. He just did a great job. The kid has a chance to be a helluva player. He really does. We’re going to need him. We’re a team that we have to count on different guys every night. James White – last game or two games ago – had a double-double, and we needed that. Tonight it was Ben. So I think that’s important; that’s our best chance to be successful.”
On back-and-forth play between the teams…
“They’re good. We could never stretch a lead. When they had a nine-point lead, they couldn’t really distance themselves or stretch a lead. It seemed like every time we made a little run, they responded and vice versa. They’re challenging. Those two guards (Micah Mason and Derrick Colter) you have to be on them all the time. Four of those five 3’s that (Micah) Mason hit were transition off the dribble. You’re taught to get back, secure the paint and cover out. If you’re not covering out as they’re dribbling up (the floor), they’re going to shoot the ball. I thought a big thing for us because of their lack of depth on the perimeter; I thought we wore them down a little bit, and (Derrick) Colter wasn’t nearly as effective in the second half. He missed a couple of shots he normally makes. (Micah) Mason I think wasn’t as effective, I think he only made one 3 in the second half, and he missed a free throw – that kid never misses a free throw. I thought that was big for us. We stuck to what we needed to do defensively and to hold them to 35 percent from floor and 26 percent (from 3) in the second half was really good.”
On Adam Smith’s clutch 3-point shooting…
“We did a good job pushing the ball and we got their defense flattened out a little and Adam took advantage of it. To be honest with you, the best play we ran all night, we got him a wide-open look from 3 and he missed it. Sometimes he makes the tough ones. The second 3 was the best one for us because it came after a great defensive stop. Marcus (Georges-Hunt) pushed the ball and hit him in the corner for the three. That’s the way we want to play.”
DUQUESNE HEAD COACH JIM FERRY
“I thought it was a really hard fought game by two good teams. I thought the two teams played extremely hard and extremely physical. You know Brian [Gregory]’s teams are always so well coached and so physical. In the end, I thought they wore us down. [It was] a pretty even basketball game, and we were getting stops. We got a little fatigued offensively, because we had a stretch there where we missed four or five shots in a row that were open shots with our better shooters taking them. I think those back-to-back threes by the kid [Adam] Smith really hurt us [because] we had the lead and then it went to a four-point game. I’ll give my kids credit. I thought we came in here and fought. To hold these guys to seven offensive rebounds knowing that’s what they do… Our guys fought hard and I thought we got a little bit rundown and a little bit worn out and that’s a credit to them.”
How did the loss of Jeremiah Jones hurt your team?
“It’s hard. We haven’t adjusted yet. It happened in the last game before break. We had one practice and everybody went home. Then we had two practices before this game. I think it’s still going to be a work-in-process. I thought they responded well and played really hard, but I still think we need to figure out, maybe more as coaches more than anything else, the rotation. Our rotation was really set. Eric [James] did a great job today coming into the starting role [with] 11 points and 11 rebounds, but those 10 points and four rebounds that Jeremiah gave us was what we lacked tonight. We’ll get it, we’ll figure it out. We’ve got to get back to the gym and we’ll focus on practice. We’ll play with a different couple lineups and see guys come off the bench.”
Did Georgia Tech’s fresh legs defensively affect the play of Micah Mason?
“Not only the fresh guys, but their size and the length of their team whether it’s [Marcus] Georges-Hunt or [Adam] Smith. They just had length and their quickness. Then really there was nowhere to go when our guard was on the perimeter and we were driving to the basket. They did a really good job of crowding up our space and playing without fouling especially in the first half. We had one free throw in the first half.”
What do you take away from your non-conference results?
“I told my guys that I wouldn’t trade these guys for anybody right now. We’re off to one of the best starts in program history in non-league play, but it’s all over now. Now it’s about the league and that’s what we focus on. Having to deal with Jeremiah [Jones]’ injury this late puts us in a situation that we’ve got to figure things out, but we will. Our focus right now is just trying to get better every single day. I told our guys we just play hard every single night and then in March we’ll pick our head up, see where we’re at and get ready for the A-10 tournament.”
What did you think of your team’s strong rebounding in the first half?
“If you don’t [rebound well] against these guys, you lose. The culture they have rebounding the basketball since Brian [Gregory]’s been here… I thought we did a great job. I thought we held them to about 15 percent of their misses bac,k and I know they’re top five in the country in getting their misses back. We held them to seven offensive rebounds on the night and held them to 40 percent from the field and normally win a game like that, but there were some key plays. I thought they wore us down with their size.”