Jan. 30, 2016
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“You saw two teams battling and fighting and scrapping – at times maybe not the most fluid game, but a tough hard-nosed game. I know Coach(Boeheim) is proud of his guys, the way they battled and fought and I’m proud of our guys. Just did not make enough plays down the stretch. We have to make teams earn shots and earn baskets instead of them getting to the free throw line and I think that was the case in this game as well. Executed well against his zone, we have to just make a couple more shots around the basket and that’s always been a big key for us and if we had made one more three, it’s a different game. We had some good looks but obviously we lost to a very, very good team today that is playing exceptionally well right now and is a team that is going to win a lot of games down the stretch.”
Syracuse extended the zone in the second half. How was that different?
“Well they extended out a little more on Adam (Smith), to take him out. We still were able to get the ball inside, we just did not make the same shots we did in the first half. With Syracuse, they are different when they go without (DaJuan)Coleman- harder to guard in some areas because of their ability to stretch you, but at times you can play over the top of them in the zone and you were never able to do that before. We have a couple guys like Ben Lammers, who I thought played exceptionally well for us as a sophomore to go into this environment, and to ask him to do some of the stuff he did, I thought he was tremendous. (He had) 10 points, seven rebounds in 22 minutes. And we did a lot of good things. You have to make one more shot, make maybe one more free throw and all game long we talked about making sure you meet every pass, especially on the post feeds, and I thought we did a great job of that but unfortunately on the last post feed we had or the second to last one, we kind of left a little early to try and go and score and they came up over with a big turnover.”
Coach Boeheim was talking about his fifth-year seniors, Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije, especially on the defensive end. Can you talk about their impact?
“I think sometimes that goes kind of understated in terms of their experience at the guard spot. I thought we did a pretty good job on Trevor defensively and Gbinije because they’re both good, they both know how to play. They both expanded their games. Usually if Trevor was 1-for-5 (from three-point range),that’s all he would have done in that game. But they are so good on the top of the zone and that gives the bottom three guys the opportunity to sneak up and take away some shots and cover low as well. So when you look at those two guys and then you look at the offensive rebound ability of Tyler Roberson and the two freshmen that have played exceptionally well. I thought we did a great job on (Malachi) Richardson and he still ended up with 13 points and 7 rebounds. He is one of the rising stars in this league.”
Head Coach Jim Boeheim
Opening Statement on the game:
“ I think Georgia Tech is one of the better teams in the league. They lose by four at Louisville. Won at NC State. I think our schedule is bad — theirs is probably is as bad or worse in terms of trying to get off to a good start. I think that they’ve played really good basketball. In all their losses, they were at Pitt, at Lousiville, at North Carolina. They were in every game – every game right until the end.
“The difference tonight – we made a couple plays at the end. Our defense got really good. Our defense really was outstanding.
“The problem with fouling is… it is a problem for us. The reason I hesitate to foul is we’re a very, very poor defensive, free-throw shooting, rebounding team. We lost a couple early in the game, and then we lose that one late. That was a huge concern. I was really hoping they’d make that free throw and we could get the ball out of bounds and get it to our free-throw shooter. A little bit like Wisconsin, we missed some free throws down the stretch and that’s hard to overcome. The only way we overcame it was our defense was spectacular. It was a tremendous win because I really believe they are a difficult team to play against. They’ve got two really good shooters, and they’ve got three post guys. We wanted their post to get the ball a little outside the lane and try to make hard twos. They missed 14 or 15 shots in the paint area, which is better to have them taking those than (Adam) Smith and (Marcus)Georges-Hunt taking three’s.
“Overall, our offense needs to be better. We are 6-for-18 from the three. We had some good looks. We need to shoot a little bit better from the three-point line. We battled on the boards – 35 rebounds is good. They’re the best rebounding team in the league. We made three or four bad turnovers.
“I thought DaJuan (Coleman) was tremendous tonight. He just can’t get his hands on people and get fouls. He had three fouls on very little pressure on guys. But, I thought offensively he was good. Frank Howard made some of the best passes we’ve seen in years here. When he stops shooting 10-foot floaters he’ll stay in the game. I thought he was tremendous in the first half. He made some great passes — that’s why we recruited him. He’s a tremendous passer and he had six assists in 14 minutes. That’s like getting 12 points. He was tremendous out there.”
“ Again, I thought it was a great win. We gave everything. We played hard for the whole game against Notre Dame and we’re coming back Saturday morning, 12 p.m. – noon, whether that’s morning or not, I don’t know. But it’s a tough turnaround. Trevor’s (Cooney) legs might not have been quite there. He had some good looks but to come back and win this game, I thought was a tremendous job against that team.”
How big was Malachi Richardson being scoreless in the first half?
“He’s done that a little bit this year in the second half where he’s had probably three or four games, I don’t know exactly off the top of my head but several, where he’s struggled. We want him to go to the basket a little bit more, which he did. He made a great drive for the three-point play, that was a huge play. Just the three coming out of the timeout – we went small, we had all small guys so they had a big guy on him and the big guy didn’t see him there so he got a good look there.
“We went small. It was pretty good for us but then I wanted to get another big back in there at the end — Tyler (Lydon) back in there — but the small lineup was pretty good. Trevor (Cooney) and Michael (Gbinije) are so good at the guard spot; they did such a great job defensively on Hunt and Smith there at the end that I can’t even tell you. They couldn’t even get the shot. It was as good of a defensive effort at the end there as I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the rebound on the missed foul shot. I don’t know what happened down there but that’s a tough foul call in that situation. I thought it was a tremendous effort for us, defensive especially.”
With DaJuan Coleman, is he even able to touch anyone in there?
“He’s got his hands on them. If they see their hands, they’re calling it so he’s got to get his hands off. Then he’s alright. And he walked into a guy, that’s a foul. He’s got to learn. He’s getting into where he’s starting to play; he’s getting used to play a little bit. I think everybody was very foolish to think this would happen in the first 10, 15, 20 games back. It’s going to take some time. I thought we found him well today. I thought he finished very well. He’s doing a decent job on defense. He’s got to rebound a little bit better in the middle of our zone, he’s got to do a little bit better job there. He’s making progress I think.”
You held them to under 30 points in the second half. Did you change anything in the zone defensively?
“We extended it. We seldom extend that much because it opens up the middle but their big guys weren’t doing much, they weren’t making that shot in there so the bigger threat was the guards – not to let them get a look or a three — so we extended it.”
Can you talk about the ability to get in these tight games and close it out?
“I think we’ve done this on several occasions this year, obviously earlier in the year. I thought we did a great job against Clemson. Maybe if we had fouled them they would have missed one, got the rebound, put it in and it would have been overtime anyway. That’s what could have happened today. The foul thing, everyone says to do it and I like doing it, I do it but if the kid makes the second foul shot, then we’re in overtime and should have just played defense. It’s not cut and dried that you foul. In the Clemson game we learned that once it gets up there you can’t wait and wait and then foul. You’ve got to foul around half court. You can’t wait or else it just gets away from you. It worked out.”
Does Malachi Richardson handle a bad first half with maturity?
“He’s done it all year. I don’t know how many, but he’s done it all year. He’s a scorer. He’s not going to lose his confidence and he’s going to keep shooting and playing and that’s what he is going to do. He’s had a couple bad halves too. When he’s going bad here, I’m not going to let him take 10 or 12 threes. He’s going to drive.”
How did you think Michael Gbinije played?
“He was great. Obviously he hasn’t been a great free throw shooter — he made them both. He’s tough defensively. He’s doing everything for us. You couldn’t ask a player to do more than what he is doing for us. People overlook defense – Trevor (Cooney) and him are so good on defense, it’s all overlooked because we play zone but you have to play defense in the zone. You’ve got to work at it and you’ve got to play it.”