Jan. 23, 2016
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“When you play a team that is coached by Rick (Pitino), you’ve got to play really tough, and I thought there were stretches that we did exactly that. We were very disciplined – I thought we did that. Every time you have a little lapse take advantage of it, and we lost to a very good team this afternoon. I thought we played with some toughness and some discipline. We scored 71 points, but our defense just isn’t quite there where it needs to be on a consistent basis. It is in stretches, but not on a consistent basis. It’s disappointing because you battle them for the whole game and they made some big plays. We weren’t able to make some of those plays. It’s unfortunate Marcus (Georges-Hunt) wasn’t in there at the end. But that’s part of the game, and you can’t put yourself in that position. He played such a good game for us and showed why he’s the captain and showed why he’s one of the best players in the league. You just need to get back at it and get ready Wednesday night.”
On if Louisville’s press wore then down
“We only had 11 turnovers. We outrebounded them, we had 11 turnovers and we did a good job getting to the free throw line. They got to the free throw line more in the second half again, which has kind of been a common theme in these games. I think we had two turnovers all night on the press. I think we did a good job. They’re one of the best defensive teams in the country. They just are. You’re going to have to be okay with getting into the shot clock, deep into the clock. As I said in the pregame when we talked the other day, you’re going to have some possessions where you’ve just got to make some plays at the end of the clock. Like Marcus on the sideline out-of-bounds on the drive – you’ve got to make some of those plays. I though Nick (Jacobs) was able to make some in the post, and Marcus was able to make some on the drive. We’re a team that has shooters, we have post guys and we have one driver in Marcus. He’s the one who gets to the free throw line. When he was out of the game in the second half we become a very two-dimensional team with post-up and jump shots. That was a big stretch for us there.”
On Louisville’s Anas Mahmoud
“He played over the top of us. That’s what he did. Give him credit, because he hadn’t played that well. And as I said, you look at some of their guys and it’s just the difference right now. Damion Lee was shooting 24 percent from the three in the league. He hit two big ones in the second half. Two big transition threes. Trey Lewis was shooting under 20 percent from the three. He hits those two. (Donovan) Mitchell hit a big three – a tough shot – off a handoff. When you’re talking about games like we’ve played, it comes down to, at times, players making some plays. They made a couple more than we did.”
LOUISVILLE HEAD COACH RICK PITINO
“Of all the teams we’ve played, [Georgia Tech’s] coaching staff takes away and knows what we run offensively and defensively better than any team in the conference. You always know it’s going to be a dogfight because they know what we run so well. They hurt our press and they do certain things that other teams don’t do, so I want to give them a lot of credit. They’ve had a lot of difficult losses, but our guys are a gutty basketball team in pulling out a victory.”
Why was the press successful in the second half?
“You hope it does, because we had a record low five deflections. We want 40 for the game, and we got 17 in the second half. Without question the key to the game was Anas Mahmoud. Anas is the best passing big man and his length bothers people, but more importantly, he’s got a great low post game. He’s just physically a little weak. But per minute played he’s the best stat stuffer on the team. He did a great job in making two crucial free throws and obviously Damion [Lee] made a great three on the break.”
How did Marcus Georges-Hunt find such success at the end of the shot clock?
“They made a tough three on us. I told the team at the end of the game ‘be a statue and don’t leave your feet at all.’ And then both guys tried to block the shot in the corner. So sometimes the exuberance gets carried away. But he’s tough to guard. [Adam] Smith is tough to guard and then they’ve got a great inside attack as well. You’ve got to double intelligently.”
How did you take Nick Jacobs out of the game?
“Well if you have good pressure, it will take its effect. I always equate it to a boxer going to the body, and you don’t really see any dividends until the eleventh round. And [it’s] the same thing with the press. Sometimes you don’t get anything out of it until late in the game when the shot’s off or they throw the ball away. With a team like [Georgia Tech] that executes so well in the half court… And they’re great on the break so you have to get back defensively.”
Has Donovan Mitchell matured faster than you expected?
“Donovan is the most ready of the freshmen to play. Obviously [Adel] Deng is coming off of an injury and Ray [Spalding] sometimes is a deer-in-headlights. The problem with Ray is that he doesn’t make free throws, and that’s something that he needs to work on on his own time. That’s something that if you’re a basketball junkie you stay in that gym until you make 90 out of 100, and you don’t leave that gym until you do that. That’s something that’s he got to learn.”