Georgia Tech Post-Game Quotes (Game 18)
Louisville Cardinals (13-5, 4-1 ACC) 79, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-8, 2-3 ACC) 51
January 19, 2019 • McCamish Pavilion • Atlanta, Ga.
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH JOSH PASTNER
“You’ve got to give Louisville credit, they played really well. Jordan Nwora was excellent; he really got them going that first half. It just kind of snowballed us that first half like it did against Clemson. We just dug ourselves such a hole and it was hard for us to get back out of it. What I told our guys is we can’t have happen is any hangover going into Tuesday’s game versus Notre Dame. It’s a tough loss but it only counts as one in the loss column so we’ve got to be ready to get back on Tuesday versus a very good Notre Dame team.
“Jose [Alvarado] was out due to his groin. Will he be back? We’ll see, it’s going to be up to the medical staffs’ determination, whatever they say and I’ll follow. Obviously with Abdoulaye Gueye, same thing. We’ll see, still an unspecified medical condition. Could be the rest of the season he misses or it could be next week. Whenever the medical staff clears him. Obviously Brandon [Alston] is just day-by-day regarding a personal issue.
“We’ll keep grinding out and figure out a way. This was just a tough week for us. When you give guys like a [Marquise] Reed from Clemson or [Jordan] Nwora from Louisville, you let them get some confidence going early, the basket ends up being like you’re shooting into an ocean standing on a pier. It’s just one of those things. We’ve got to bounce back and we’ll practice tomorrow and Monday and be ready to go on Tuesday.”
On playing an inexperienced lineup:
“You really look at Curtis [Haywood II], is really a freshman this is his freshman year, he only played half a season and he didn’t play a lot of minutes in some of those games. Obviously, Khalid [Moore] is a freshman. Moses [Wright] is a sophomore but he’s really had more time now and James [Banks III] didn’t play his first two years at Texas and Mike [Michael Devoe] is a freshman. But that’s part of us, obviously got hit with some injuries but that’s also part of us trying to get to, I’m not wavering from that, is getting older and staying older. Next year we’ll be older and the year after that we’ll be older. And the key then from us as a staff is we’ve got to remain old, stay old. We’ve got to continue to get guys better. But once you stay old and you remain old, you’ve got a better chance to win games. Unless you’re getting those certain guys like certain schools are getting, it makes it hard. Look at Jordan Nwora, he’s better as a sophomore than he was as a freshman. He’s just better. As you get older, you start getting better so that’s just what we have to do.”
On generating offense and open looks:
“Couple things, one is going into Clemson our plan was we were going to just play two post and go at it with those two [Gueye and Banks]. So without that, we’ve kind of had to adjust a little bit. We didn’t practice on Thursday, I had to give the guys off either Thursday or Sunday so I gave them off Thursday, hoping maybe recovery with some guys. Right now our best way to score is try to get the ball inside the paint. That’s what we did against Syracuse. We didn’t settle for threes. We’re not in a position where we can settle for threes, we’ve got to keep going into paint touches, and different guys being able to paint touch, not just James [Banks III]. Whether it’s our wings or our forwards, we’ve got to get the ball into the paint as much as we can to give ourselves our best chance to score.”
LOUISVILLE HEAD COACH CHRIS MACK
“I was really pleased with our guys’ readiness to play. We’re coaching college guys and they see on Twitter that three [Georgia Tech] players aren’t playing and you never know what they’re thinking. So for our team to have the maturity to come out in the first half and really rely on our defense and play hard and be ready to play. That was the biggest thing. I told them the story of a few years ago when I was the Xavier coach. We played Tennessee in the second game of the year at our place. We were missing three or four starters, three or four players, due to concussions, injuries. And we end up beating Tennessee. We were playing a 4-man at the 2, it was wild. And then a couple weeks later, we actually played Tennessee at full strength and lost. It just goes to show that if we’d have given Georgia Tech maybe some life in the first 10-15 minutes, it might’ve been a different game. The kids might have found their confidence.”
On the importance of getting out to an early lead and applying pressure from the get-go:
“It was really important because as you know they (Georgia Tech) have really good defensive numbers. We felt like they were going to be difficult to score against when they were in their zone. We had an attack that we wanted to implement. If we always had to face that zone on a made shot by Georgia Tech, walking the ball up, it was going to be even more difficult.”
On whether they expected an expanded role from Tech forward James Banks III with the injuries:
“Josh has done that regardless of who has been on the team. I think James continues to get better and better. We recruited him out of high school, I coached him at USA [Basketball]. He’s a really good player. He’s really big and he’s got soft touch and draws fouls. Our post guys didn’t do a very good job with him. Give him credit, he sealed really deep. Their offense attack was four guys on the perimeter so he’s isolated a lot. He had a better night than we had defensively on him.”
On what specifically has stood out to him over the current three-game winning streak:
“I like the defense, personally. I think the last three games, we’ve talked about if you get three-consecutive stops, we sort of label that a ‘kill.’ If you can get seven ‘kills’ in a game, you’re awful difficult to beat unless your offense is just inept. We have too good of players and we’ll be out in transition enough that offense should never be an issue. It’s the first time, we’ve had three games in a row now, two on the road, where we’ve gotten seven or more ‘kills.’”
On what he thinks has resulted in the total team turnaround to where they are now:
“It starts with individuals. You could have four guys busting their tales, but if one guy doesn’t really place a high enough priority on the defensive end, you’re going to get beat. Either he was the man that was supposed to help or rotate down to block out or simply guard the ball. I really feel like, per man that comes in the game or starts a game, we’ve played with a lot of juice on the defensive end. Because, as we saw when the ball doesn’t go in against Pitt, if you can’t stop anybody, it’s a recipe to lose. I don’t care who you play in this league. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be in this league because I knew we were going to be tested every single night. If we can’t get stops, we won’t win.”