Feb. 23, 2016
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“Give credit to Clemson. Obviously, they’ve had a couple of tough losses, and they played well. In that first half, that was a clinic they put on offensively. We beat a very good team tonight. We beat a team that’s playing well, and we had to play equally well and a little bit better in the second half, and that’s what we did. In the first half defensively, we tried to do some different things. We had no answers for them whatsoever. My staff did a great job at halftime suggesting a couple of changes in our ball screen coverage and changes in some matchups. And all of that’s great, but the guys have to go out there and execute it, and they did. They did an unbelievable job of executing the defensive changes in the second half, and some of the offensive stuff that we wanted to do in the second half. It was a total team effort. Our staff did a great job, our players did a great job and we beat a very, very good team. You don’t win nine games in this league without being very good and knowing how to play and having some great players, and they have them. (Jaron) Blossomgame was unstoppable in that first half, and I’m just glad we made the critical plays down the stretch again in these games that you need to make to be successful.”
On getting to the basket
“A couple of things — one, in the first half we weren’t going to foul because we weren’t guarding anybody. In the second half, we held them to 39 percent and only gave up two free throws in the second half. We were attacking the basket — Marcus (Georges-Hunt) is attacking the basket — but we’ve got some other guys doing it, too, and getting to the free throw line. Multiple guys — Nick (Jacobs) was able to get there, Adam (Smith) was able to get there. Obviously, Marcus kind of leads the way. Travis (Jorgenson) got fouled on that one, as well. All of those things add up. I thought a big play was the play at the end of the first half — Ben (Lammers) came up with a big rebound in traffic and had the wherewithal and basketball savvy to get the ball quickly out to Travis, and now Travis has to make a half-a-millisecond read and gets the ball to Marcus, and then Marcus had to make the shot. Three things have to really happen well for us to get that, and all three did. That’s a pretty good change, to be honest with you with some of the stuff that we’ve been through. But that was big, because now you go in there down nine at half. We didn’t start off the second half great in terms of a couple of defensive possessions but kind of willed ourselves back into the game, and then when you’re close and you have Adam and Marcus you’ve got a good chance to win the game.”
On Ben Lammers and Quinton Stephens
“Here’s the thing, no one will recognize What Ben Lammers did in this game, or Quinton Stephens, because it gets overshadowed by Marcus. Marcus was the ACC Player of the Week and was a National Player of the Week by one of the publications. Adam Smith got it going for us when we needed it and he’s been great obviously — he had the big three against Notre Dame — but Quinton Stephens is quietly making a huge impact — seven rebounds again tonight and made three threes. He had a couple of good looks and they were all good shots. He’s going to keep shooting them. And Ben was tremendous — seven rebounds, six of them on the defensive end. The four blocks — the block on (Donte) Grantham probably saved the day, because the way he’d been shooting he wasn’t going to miss that. He’s a really good player, and we got 21 minutes out of him in a game of this magnitude. That was huge.”
CLEMSON HEAD COACH BRAD BROWNELL
“Just another difficult road loss for us. It’s like our fourth one where we’ve been in a possession game in the last 30 seconds and had chances. We played great in the first half and probably played as well as we can play offensively. We moved the ball and did a lot of good things and we just don’t defend like a high level team. We just don’t do it. Whether it is late in games or what not… We couldn’t guard Adam Smith and Marcus Georges-Hunt. Second-half offense was really good for them tonight. I think they have a good team. I think they’re a little bit under the radar right now, but they’re playing good basketball. Brian [Gregory] has done a good job of really keeping those guys together and focused. They seem like really good kids. They play hard. They’re just playing really well. They believe in each other, and they got a guy in Marcus Georges-Hunt who’s an all-league type guy. They’ve now won some big close games.”
What did you see on Jaron Blossomgame’s foul in the final five seconds?
“They just drove the ball to the lane trying to draw contact and he [Marcus Georges-Hunt] drew some. I didn’t have a great look. I’m sure there’s some contact there. It’s a smart play on their part, and it wasn’t good defense on our part. You need to be together and not allow them to do that. We just have breakdowns. We just have breakdowns certainly. This team has defensive breakdowns that are problematic. We don’t have the size that we’ve had, and it gets exploited. Jordan Roper gets shot over some, that happened tonight, and it happened at N.C. State. You just have to put your head down and keep going.”
What adjustments did Georgia Tech make in the second half?
“Marcus Georges-Hunt guarded Jaron [Blossomgame] and did a good job on him. I think we got a little passive at times. Sometimes you don’t play with the same freedom, but certainly I think that was a little bit of a factor and he guarded him well. Then Donte Grantham, because he had the big guy on him, took advantage of that in certain situations. We tried to do some of those things to create mismatches for Donte. He was able to get into the basket area and make some shots, and then he made some threes. That probably helped them a little bit defensively.”
How did Marcus Georges-Hunt playing point guard help Georgia Tech?
“Just more shooting on the court for them. [It’s] just an added shooter. They played that lineup some in games. They’d sub into that lineup, but they didn’t play it as much as they’re playing it now, and it seems to be effective.”
Were you pleased with the Jaron Blossomgame’s final shot?
“Yeah we threw it to our best player in the middle of the court with three seconds to go. He turned and drove it to the basket. It was a 15 or 16-foot pull-up. That’s pretty good. [It’s] just a tough break that he didn’t get it to go in.”
Do you pin this loss more on your defense than your offense?
“Yeah. I mean offensively, we weren’t as good, but Tech probably had something to do with that. Defensively we gave up 40 and they shot 59 percent. They made six threes. We had a hard time guarding them.”