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Post-Game Quotes: MBB vs. Pitt

GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH JOSH PASTNER

Opening statement:

“First off, a good win for us. Losing stinks, winning’s fun. The agony of defeat and the thrill of victory. First, I want to give Pitt a lot of credit, I think Pitt’s very, very good. I have the highest level of respect for coach [Jeff] Capel. I think their team is very good, I think they’ve got really good players. Obviously, we recruited Xavier Johnson so I know how good he is … They run good stuff and play hard. They compete, they play hard. But we found a way to get a win. Jose Alvarado, aside from his missed free throw, he was pretty much perfect if you look at his box score. I’m really, really proud of Jose.

“We are shooting the ball better the last few games. Look, I think we’ve gotten better and we have gotten better. It just hasn’t shown up in the win column. This league is incredible … There are multiple, multiple teams in this league good enough to go to the Final Four. It just happens to be, in this league, you can be getting better and the wins don’t show up. I promise you our guys have gotten better, but we are just young.”

On Pitt’s free-throw advantage:

“I think they lead the ACC in getting to the free-throw line and I know they drive downhill. They are a downhill driving team and we talked about that. We’ve got to defend without fouling. I’ve got to obviously go watch the tape to know where we made some errors defensively, because we talked about how they are a great downhill driving team and that we needed to be sure that we guarded properly and defend without fouling … Pitt plays hard. They are a highly competitive team and as they continue to get older, they’re going to continue to get better.”

On whether Pitt’s ball pressure gave Jose Alvarado an advantage to play more instinctively:

“God bless him, he played 40 minutes today and he played his tail off. Obviously, Michael Devoe was in foul trouble and didn’t get to play a lot today. I think it was a career high for Jose. He was really, really good.”

On what allowed Georgia Tech’s guards to get more drives and baskets at the rim:

“Because we’re making some threes and that opens things up. When you are making threes, and we are shooting the ball better over the last few games … that helps open things up. And we’re getting better.”

On whether there’s a correlation between Curtis Haywood’s increased minutes and his improved shooting:

“He also played well. He made a couple threes but I thought his energy was good. It wasn’t that he missed it and he sulked or pouted or let it bother him. If he missed a shot, he just moved onto the next play. You could just tell he had better energy today. And that’s what I tell him, he’s got to stay energized the entire time, even if he misses a couple. His locked-in energy is the key.”

 

PITTSBURGH HEAD COACH JEFF CAPEL

Opening Statement:

“Congrats to [Georgia] Tech. We had two teams coming in that were struggling. I thought they played with a sense of urgency. I thought Josh [Pastner] had his guys ready to play. [Jose] Alvarado is a big-time competitor. We told our guys coming into this game, I know that kid and I know his spirit. With his team struggling, I knew that he would try to take it upon himself to be aggressive and have a great game. He was sensational. Our inability to capitalize on getting to the foul line 38 times hurt us. We did not defend as well as we normally do.”

On Pitt’s trapping defense:

“We got back in it. We had [the deficit] at one and had an opportunity. At that moment, [we had] a very careless turnover that turned into points for them. I think that was probably as close as we got. Maybe we got it to two at another point? We have to be able to step up and make free throws. We got to the line a lot, and we have not gotten to the line a lot like we did earlier in the conference season. Tonight was a night where we did, but we didn’t capitalize. We missed 18 free throws. If we make half of those misses, then it puts a little more game pressure on them. We’ve been a pretty good free-throw shooting team but tonight, for whatever reason, we didn’t make free throws.”

On the double-technical fouls on Pitt’s Kene Chukwuka and Georgia Tech’s’ Abdoulaye Gueye in the first half:

“I don’t think [it was chippy]. My guy [Chukwuka] was running down the court and their guy [Gueye] turned around, bumped him and grabbed my guy by the neck. If you’re grabbed by the neck what are you going to do? Do you turn and walk away? Or do you say something? I don’t understand how both guys get technical fouls in that situation. I don’t think that was chippy. Their guy grabbed my guy by the neck and it’s essentially the same tech. They say it’s a flagrant-one for their kid and a class-A tech for our guy. But my guy reacted to getting grabbed by the neck. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand how that’s the same. It’s essentially a technical foul. They said well you get the ball, but we had the ball. So nothing changed there. So I didn’t really understand that. But I didn’t think it was chippy. I thought it was two teams desperate for a win and that played really hard.”

On Pitt’s offense:

“We did not get off to a good start. With about eight minutes to play [in the first half], we had seven points. We didn’t finish. We got stuff right there at the basket … layups, stuff two or three feet away from the basket, and we didn’t finish. You add that on top of missing free throws, it makes it difficult. Their defense is difficult. Their defense is different. It’s unique. They have length around the basket and they understand how to move in their defense and their zone. For the most part, I thought when we executed, we got pretty good looks. We just had a night where we couldn’t make shots.”

On Pitt’s offensive rebounding:

“That’s something we thought we could do coming in and we did do that. Sometimes when you’re in zone, it’s a little bit difficult to have block-out assignments. That’s the one area where we did do a good job, but you have to be able to finish. We got some and we didn’t finish a lot of them.”

On keeping morale up following a loss:

“It’s something you do worry about. Especially with the history from last year that these guys experienced. I thought we worked hard in practice and their attitudes were good in practice leading up to this game. It’s just very disappointing, especially how we played in the first 13 or 14 minutes of the game. We were not deserving of winning and it’s why we were down so big.”

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