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Post-Game Quotes - NIT First Round

March 15, 2017

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Opening Statement:
“That was a great win for our program against a great basketball team in Indiana, a blue blood like Indiana. They have one of the greatest coaches in the game with Coach Crean. We were very fortunate to get a W. I thought our defense was really good. Obviously it hasn’t been like that all year in terms of our offense, but we shot the ball well. That makes a big difference for us to get to 75, makes a big difference for us as everyone knows who has watched us. We’ve been very limited and deficient offensively, but today we made some big shots, and it was a big thing. I thought our practice yesterday, our shootaround today was excellent, our energy was excellent, and it translated into the game today.”

On the student’s section and the fans:
“I want to give a great shout out to the student section. Money well spent. They were awesome, gave us a great lift with the energy in the building. It was the least I could do for them. As I have said before, one of my favorite movies is Pay it Forward and I try to pay it forward to them because then the student’s section plus the fans this year have willed us to many, many wins, and they did it again today. I think Indiana got that lead at 39-38 and then it was 40-38 and Quinton [Stephens] hit that three. Those were the two times Indiana had that lead, but the crowd really kept us in it. That energy from the crowd, as everyone knows, life and basketball goes hand in hand about energy. It’s all about positive energy and that positive energy translated through our team, so great shout out to the fans and to our student section.”

On Tech’s performance:
“We had 17 assists on 27 made field goals. We had six turnovers the first half, that was hurting us, but only had three the second half. We really valued the ball, and we’ve been doing a much better job lately of valuing the ball. I thought we played the best we had since the Syracuse game at home. We were excellent in the Syracuse game, after that game it just felt we maybe hit a little bit of a wall. Milked everything that we had out of the guys, because we don’t play a lot of guys. I felt today based on our shootaround and our practice yesterday, we had great energy and legs.”

On where the team is now from the beginning of the season:
“I had a college coach who saw our two practices in September, he was at our practices in September twice, he was at our game tonight. He told me in September, `Coach you will not win four games. You’ve got to prepare yourself.’ He saw two practices back to back in September. I didn’t tell him this, he said today after the game when he saw me, `that is a modern miracle, what has happened to you guys.’ I didn’t say that. I’ve said it, but I didn’t tell him. He actually said that out of his own mouth. `It is a modern miracle what has happened to that group.'”

On the assistant coaches:
“The players deserve all the credit but my assistant coaches have done such a great job on game planning and preparation. I look at myself as the CEO or managing things but the assistant coaches and their preparation for scouting and for individual development, all three of my assistants and my entire support staff deserve full credit. Obviously the players for as much as we’ve improved.

On Quinton Stephens:
“The TV guys asked me before the game what is the big key for us, and I said `we need Quinton Stephens to play well.’ We’re just a better team when he plays well. We’re a better team when we make shots. HE was really good today in many areas. He was one rebound short of a double-double, had three assists, only one turnover, made big shots. He was terrific.”


Opening Statement:
“This game tonight at times was a microcosm of our season. There were times when we were really good just like there were times we were really good during the season. When we were healthy, win two No. 1 [seeds] and we had a lot of guys that were coming off a Big Ten championship. Obviously we had the injuries that we had and the inconsistencies that we’ve had. Inconsistency was a huge part and that’s exactly what happened in this game. We didn’t get off to a great start and then we got back in it. Absolutely no reason to be as late defensively, coming off the ball and allowing them shots. But we got back in it. The turnovers hurt us. We made too many mistakes and we had to switch defenses. We’ve got to get better with the ball [and] with the decision making. We’ve got to get stronger with the ball. We’ve got to get better with our finishing.

“I’m proud of the resiliency of this team this year. Obviously the record wasn’t what we wanted. We had great wins, we had tough losses. We were in a ton of games that didn’t go our way at the very end. We’ve got to learn and grow from that. The program is in great shape, the team has to get better. There’s so much good structure with what we have, but our team wasn’t where it needed to be. I don’t think you win two championships in four years and not have a really strong program. But obviously facts are facts and our team wasn’t as good. We’ve got to improve that. The guys that are going to be back have got to get better. The new guys that we’ll get have got to get better. I’ve got to get better. Everybody has got to get better. That’s our plan.”

On Georgia Tech’s defense:
“We weren’t nearly physical enough at how we wanted to post up at the top of the zone. It wasn’t that as much as we didn’t play through the middle enough. We stand too much. It’s mind-boggling to me because we don’t practice that way. We wanted to get under the zone. There’s some similarities in the recent [games] we’ve had with Iowa because when you get to this point in the season you’ve got try and get in some similarities. It was a little different because we wanted to get behind the zone more. And not only cut behind the zone, but drive it. We’re not a screen-the-zone team, we’re a post-and-seal the zone team and we didn’t do a very good job of that. And again, we missed some shots, we rushed some shots. We also had a couple times where instead of just passing it, we took a dribble and passed it. We meant to pass it, but you’ve got to move it quick against a zone.”

“I don’t know what the offensive rebounding numbers are, but it’s not enough. You’re not going to look at that lineup next year. We didn’t have enough rebounding out of that. We can’t have nights when we get 18 or 24 guard rebounds and then come back and not be as good. We’ve got to get tougher on the boards. There were times when we were one of the nation’s leaders on the glass this year, but we’ve got learn to sustain that. We’ve got to be better at offensive rebounding. We didn’t think they blocked out very well at all from what we saw in film, but we didn’t take advantage of that at all.”


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