Jan. 16, 2016
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Brian Gregory
“I think obviously disappointed in our second-half performance – in particular, being able to guard the basketball without fouling. Even with that, you still had a chance to pull it off. A couple key areas that have been of concern over the last two weeks – especially in the second half – being able to guard the dribble and not foul. The free throw numbers are astronomical in the second half against us. We have to do a better job of guarding the ball without fouling, or putting us in a position where a foul could be called. We’ve had in the last couple games a few guys that have been very sloppy offensively, which is not who we were at all in the earlier games or in the games leading up to the games this week – with the turnovers and the loose plays around the basket. We’re a team that gets the ball inside. We need to finish plays around the basket and we weren’t able to do that today. If we got fouled, those guys weren’t able to step up to the line to make the free throws either. It was just disappointing because you have a game that you’ve played well enough in the key areas to win the game but you weren’t able to finish it off.”
On making some poor decisions that got Virginia Tech back in the game.
“Those were two of the sloppy plays I was talking about – when a play like that happens on the first one, it’s both guys’ fault – the guard has got to come back to the ball and we also have to make a better decision on the outlet. The second one was just being sloppy. Unfortunately one play had a junior and a senior, and the other had a senior. You can’t do that in this league. You can’t give life to a team like that – and that’s exactly what we did.”
On the pace of the game and rushing in the last 4-5 minutes.
“I thought even in the first half, we did that even when we were up eight to ten points – it got to fifteen at one point – and we need to settle down on the offensive end. Thirteen turnovers is too many for us – it’s not who we are – it’s not who we’ve been. It’s not like we faced pressure. We had a couple of crucial ones there at the end as well – not from the post, but from the guard play. You can’t have those in the last four and a half minutes. It puts you in a tough spot defensively. Plus, some of those turnovers lead to transition plays and now you’re in scrambles, and now you’ve got different matchups and now guys are driving guys that normally wouldn’t be guarding them. Turnovers are a bad thing no matter what – and so are some rushed shots. We had some good looks down the stretch – we had a couple shots down right at the rim. I think the only really bad shot we probably took was the three by Adam. But other than that, they were shots in the lane.”
On the team’s offensive performance
“We shot 48 percent for the game. Offensively, our efficiency was probably pretty good today. The turnovers – again you had two by Charles – those were crucial plays. I’m not sure if that was us offensively in the half court settling down. Marcus shot a couple shots at the basket at the end – obviously he made the one. We got the ball wide-open in the post on one and missed the layup on that. We had two post opportunities – I think Nick got a shot at the rim, Chuck got the offensive rebound and a shot at the rim. I say that – the two turnovers by our point guard in the last four minutes were critical. ”
VIRGINIA TECH HEAD COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS
How encouraging is an ACC win on the road?
“I think we’re incredibly fortunate to win. That’s the same thing I said after we played Wake [Forest]. I thought they just dominated us in the first half particularly. I thought we did a better job of keeping them off the offensive glass and out of transition in the second half. We didn’t turn it over quite as much in the second half. I think when you’ve won three out of your four games by one possession there’s a lot of lessons to learn. We may not win another one and so we’re very fortunate to win this one. Thankful that in our 11th try we finally won an [ACC] road game.”
Did you put a large emphasis on driving to the basket in the second half?
“They had 28 points in transition and off our turnovers in the first half. They had nine points off the offensive put backs. So 37 of their 43 points were on things that we had to at least make an attempt at improving. In the second half, one of things that we talked about was that we’ve got to hurry up and get to the bonus. Both teams had six team fouls at the first media timeout and I was telling our team that it’s going to be another one possession game [so] we’ve got to stop the clock and get to the foul line. Somehow we had to increase our points per possession [and] in the second half we were at 1.12 as opposed to 0.87 in the first half. You can’t win on the road in this league the way we were offensively.”
What does a comeback victory like today say about the resolve of your team?
“I like that word. I do agree that they have great resolve. I think they’re resilient. I said to Wes [Durham] on TV, [Mike] Burnop on the radio and I just said it to our team, I think it speaks to who their parents are. I think it speaks to how they were raised. When you go through what these guys have been through so far in the careers at [Virginia] Tech, you’re character is revealed in so many ways. I’m thankful that, even though we haven’t necessarily earned all of them, they’re having some positive rewards from that. But I think it’s their character. I don’t think you can have the resolve to overcome all of the things that you’ve mentioned unless you, as a team collectively, have great character.”
What were your thoughts on the performance of Marcus Georges-Hunt?
“How good is he? We couldn’t guard him. We couldn’t stop him. All of the action that they run to get him [the ball and] we couldn’t do anything.”
How did you approach Charles Mitchell and Adam Smith defensively?
“[It’s] hard to defend Mitchell because he’s just so wide. [It’s] hard to move him. [It’s] hard to get around him. As potent as Adam is as a shooter, particularly when [Georges-Hunt] is on the floor with him, you kind of have to pick your poison.”
How did the back-to-back turnovers in the backcourt change the game?
“I honestly didn’t see the first one. I turned around and saw the end of it. I think whatever happened initially on the first one contributed to the second one. Obviously that gave us at least a chance. I don’t know that we necessarily did anything, but we were the beneficiary of it for sure.”
How did you approach the final three seconds defensively?
“I didn’t want to call a timeout when it was 30 seconds left; my instincts said just play it. When they called the timeout we just wanted to have somebody on the ball. You have to anticipate that [Georges-Hunt’s] going to get a touch and that they’re doing something to get [Smith] a shot.”