Dec. 23, 2015
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“We challenged our guys a little bit to start the game, just in terms of having the right mental approach, in terms of the energy level and the unselfishness that we needed to play with today. I thought they did a great job of that. Obviously, offensively we’re much improved and played well offensively tonight, shooting 56 percent from the field, 39 from the three and 16 assists and only seven turnovers. Probably the only thing we didn’t do well today was shoot well from the free throw line. We did a great job of offensive rebounding the ball. You only miss 26 shots but you get 12 offensive rebounds – that’s a pretty good percentage. So I’m very pleased with that. It’s a good win heading into the break. It’s good to be 9-3 knowing that you can get a lot better. We need to keep getting better offensively, but the improvement really has to come on the defensive end. We’ve shown that we can be a much better defensive team, but in the last two games we haven’t played with the conviction level that you need to play with to be a good defensive team. So it’s something that we’ve got to work on, something that we’ve really got to have a strong commitment to because, starting with our next game against a 10-2 Duquesne team, our defense has to dramatically improve.”
On bench contributions
“They really helped us. I thought this was probably Travis’ (Jorgenson) best game since he’s been hurt. I think he looked like he had the pace back to his game. When you hurt your ankle and miss a week of practice, it takes some time. We played at a good pace when he was out there. He was aggressive with the ball, aggressive to throw the ball ahead and get us into our break. I thought Q (Quinton Stephens) played really well again for us. He was great on the glass – his activity level on the glass is really good. Three offensive rebounds from the three spot helps. And then Nick (Jacobs) did a good job for us and is rounding back into shape. Those guys obviously were big keys for us tonight.”
On whether fewer turnovers are due to making faster decisions
“They shoot the ball before they turn it over – that’s the key. And the other thing is you can’t double down as much and help as much in the post, because we’ve got better perimeter players – guys that can shoot the ball a little better, so that helps. To our assistants’ credit, Tom (Herrion), Chad (Dollar) and Mamadou (N’diaye) have done a really good job. And the players have to buy into it, as well. That was a big point of emphasis in the spring and summer – just some ball skills, some footwork stuff. Just some simple stuff that you would think – Chuck (Charles Mitchell) and Nick were new to the program — that you would think they would have. Chuck doesn’t travel as much. A lot of his turnovers in the past were travels. Nick doesn’t travel. Just passing, catching, pivoting and all those different things, but also when you make a move, you make it assertively and aggressively. Reading double-teams – we had one turnover today on a double team. That’s unacceptable for us because we haven’t had many of those. To the players’ credit and the staff’s credit, that has been a point of emphasis, because our big guys’ numbers last year, turnover-wise, were outrageous, and you can’t do that. I don’t mind a turnover if it’s an illegal screen. I can live with those because that’s trying to be physical. That’s trying to get someone open. We had one of those tonight – that was Chuck’s other turnover. But other than that, we’ve just done a better job of taking care of the ball. I don’t know, but I assume our assist total per-game might be up, because we share the ball better and we move the ball better. But Marcus (Georges-Hunt) did a really good job today of setting up the pass that led to the basket. So we’re just getting better at all that stuff. To the bigs’ credit, the staff really drills it during our skill work and different things like that, and we’ve bought in. ”
COLGATE HEAD COACH MATT LANGEL
“When a program like us gets a chance to come south to a history and tradition like Georgia Tech basketball has and to play in a venue like we did tonight against a team the size of theirs, it’s a big deal for us. We never take that for granted. We’re super appreciative of the opportunity. As we build our program it’s a lot about trying to get yourself ready for league play which is what we have in front of us, but you’re also coaching memories. This is something that our guys will remember. Not necessarily the loss or how many they lost by, but just being in that atmosphere, in that environment playing against those guys. When I was an assistant coach at Temple, we competed against Dayton and one of the greatest wins that I was ever apart of was winning at Dayton and [against] Coach Gregory. He’s a fantastic basketball coach and I think his team reflects that.
They played the song before that said ‘they had a really big team’ [and] they certainly have a really big team. In my time at Penn, at Temple and at Colgate, we’ve played a lot of high caliber teams, but they’re as big and strong and physically mature as just about anywhere there is. And when you throw [Adam] Smith into the equation, they’ve got a team that’s going to be really competitive and be in a lot of games as they move into their league play. It was just kind of the difference tonight. They were just too big, too strong and Smith can really, really score so it puts some pressure on your defense. They’re not going to shoot 56 percent [every game], but when they’re big, strong and physical and have the talent that they do in Smith and are as well coached as they are, they’re going to get high percentage shots. That’s what they did and it was just too much for us to overcome.”
How did you slow down Georgia Tech’s inside game in the first half?
“We tried to change defenses and keep them on their heels. They’re a well-coached team, so they’re not going to do anything crazy and just take the game into their own hands. They’re going to play good, solid basketball. We tried to double-team in the post when we could from some different angles, but it’s a long game. A well-coached team is going to make the adjustments and get the guys to the spots that is going to take that away or maybe not throw the ball to the spots that are going to get double-teamed. Then they stepped up, made shots, got rebounds and made some of our shots more difficult. We had some short stretches where we didn’t adjust well enough, and I think it led to the extension of their lead.”
How well did you battle Georgia Tech on the glass?
“There are two things when you look at rebounding. One, they didn’t miss a ton of shots, and they’re wasn’t a lot for us to get, [but] 12 offensive rebounds? That’s not something your happy with as a coach, giving up double figure offensive rebounds, especially when a team shoots such a high percentage. But I thought our guys battled. We weren’t standing around watching them come in and get the offensive rebound. It’s something that we’ve been working on pretty hard, and I think we have a long ways to go, but we’re improving.”
What do you take away from your non-conference results?
“There’s been some ups and downs. We’ve had some good performances and bad record aside. We played at TCU a couple of weeks ago and we didn’t put nearly the fight that we put up tonight. That was against a team that maybe doesn’t have the age and the strength and the experience that this group does, so that means that we’ve gotten better in my mind. That’s our goal to keep getting better. We want to be playing our best in late February. Now that those non-league games are over, you hope that they’ve prepared us for the 30th of the month when we get to play the defending champions of our league [Lafayette] at home.”