Dec. 27, 2007
Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee Tech
Men’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
December 27, 2007
Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Hewitt
Thought first half played about as well as we could defensively. When we don’t turn the ball over, I think we can stop people from scoring. Give them credit, they really battled in the second half. I don’t know how big the lead got but we got it up there pretty sizeable and they got it back inside 20. They just kept scrapping at us. I think over the last three or four games our half court defense is getting better. The thing that could be a problem for us is if we turn the ball over and people score in the open court. Live ball turnovers could be a problem for us.
Comments on Tech’s defense against Tennessee Tech
Jeremis Smith was very active. We did a great job anticipating defensively tonight. You look at the stat sheet and say he didn’t have any defensive rebounds. I would rather look at the stat sheet and see Daniel Northern only had one offensive rebound and Amadi McKenzie only had three offensive rebounds and they usually combine for eight a game. I told them before the game I don’t care if our bigs don’t get any defensive rebounds as long as those guys aren’t hurting us on the glass. Jeremis carried out the defensive instructions really well tonight and on his own he made some plays for us and that’s what got to happen. This isn’t a chess match. It’s our players making plays and Jeremis made plays tonight.
Is Tech playing with a greater confidence level now?
I think the double sessions are helping us. We practice defense in the morning and go hard for a couple hours. And come back in the afternoon and spend an hour running through our stuff. The guys are getting more confident with knowing where to go and what to do with the offensive sets. We have to cut down on some of those live ball turnovers in the half court. We had five in the first half. If you look at our press offense, that is what we work on in the second session tomorrow.
Tennessee Tech Head Coach Mike Sutton
On the game overall, with Georgia Tech getting off to a fast start
“We got off to a poor start and Georgia Tech is extremely athletic – they are every bit as athletic as any team that we play. They have a lot of size. I thought that we defended the perimeter guys pretty good, but it was the transition baskets that really hurt us, along with the offensive rebounds. We ended up tied in rebounds at the half, but you can’t turn the ball over 27 times and expect to beat a quality team – which they are.
“I’m not pleased with where we are, because I thought that we could have done a better job in the first half, but it’s been a difficult two months with nine road games and we have played some quality competition. When you’re on the road at a place like Kentucky or here, you have to do three things – you have to defend, rebound and execute. Tonight we didn’t defend in transition. You don’t want to take anything away from Georgia Tech, because they are very good at that and Coach Hewitt is a tremendous coach that has done an outstanding job. You have to win the battle of the boards in games like this, and then you have to execute. The execution aspect being turnovers, and we only had 13 turnovers against Kentucky but we had some silly ones tonight. We got to the free throw line, but didn’t make as many as we’d like. We shot the ball okay and defended good, except in transition. We’ve got to get ourselves ready for OVC play, beginning with Samford next week.”
On the team battling hard
“We are capable of playing with these teams, but to beat an opponent like this in a game you are going to have to play well for 40 minutes. You can’t play good for 15 or 20. Tonight we struggled shooting, and some of that is a confidence factor. You’re playing a bigger, stronger opponent, you’re playing on the road and know it’s going to be tough. But we like to play games like this every year, and Georgia Tech is kind enough to help us with that. Hopefully our best basketball is ahead of us, but we have a lot of work to do.
As much as you like the non-conference games and the chance to play teams like Tech and Kentucky, the OVC is where it pays off.
“That’s what we do. My philosophy on scheduling games is different than some coaches. I’m at a point in my career in that I’m worried about the long-term, and for us, that’s conference tournament play. There are certain games that we have to play for financial gain for the athletic department, so we do that. But it’s nice to play close to home, but I wish we would have played better in this game and the Kentucky game because I thought they were games that, if we’d played really well, I think we would have had a shot to win. We can’t play sub-par and beat high-caliber teams. But we have to do a better job of that, but hopefully this can prepare us for going on the road in the OVC, which will be a challenge.