Jan. 12, 2017
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH JOSH PASTNER
“Really good win for us against a very, very well-coached, very good basketball team in Clemson. They’re very good defensively, they run good stuff offensively. So that’s a great win for us against a very good basketball team that is extremely well coached.
“I thought our defense was really good. You look at the numbers, we held them to 36 percent from the field and 29 [percent] from three so, defensively, we were really good tonight. The second half, I think they had maybe six offensive rebounds in the first half and we held them to two offensive rebounds in the second half, so we did a good job on the glass. Plus-11 [rebounding margin] – that was big.
“Offensively, 19 assists, 27 made field goals and the big thing today was Justin Moore and Josh Heath, 11 assists to three turnovers. They played the right way. They hit singles, they kept it simple, they were sound and, when they play like that, good things happen. I’ve told them, they have to do their job and doing their job means they don’t have to win us the game. They just need to run the team, keep it simple and, I don’t like using the word lose, but don’t lose us the game by throwing up bad shots and throwing the ball all over the place. Just run the team, keep it simple and hit the open man; the open man is the go-to man. Both those guys were really good tonight, I’m very proud of them.
“I was proud of Quinton [Stephens]. I know he missed some shots but he battled on the glass, really battled on the glass. He was close to another double-double. I thought Ben Lammers obviously was very good. Josh Okogie gave us good minutes as always. Tadrick [Jackson], to his credit, I was in him the first half. I laid into him pretty hard. I was very upset that he didn’t get a rebound which was a 50/50 ball. To his credit, he responded the right way and he made big plays the second half. He made big plays, came through for us. He shot that three-point shot and he makes it and I want to give him a big kiss on the cheek and if he missed it I wanted to bear hug him. So, thankfully, he made it. I thought A.D. [Abdoulaye Gueye] gave us good minutes. He came in, played 10 minutes but he was active. He was solid, so really proud of A.D. The bench, all those guys, they don’t get a lot of notice, but [it has] been so good [that] the guys that don’t play have really kept a great positive attitude, have had great contagious positive energy. That’s very important to me and our culture and what we want to do … having that type of energy. So you’ve got to give those guys credit.
“I want to give a great shoutout to the students’ section. I thought the students’ section was terrific tonight. The fans were great overall, it was a great home advantage. In my speaking circuit, when I got the job, in the spring, summer and fall, I’ve had more people come up and tell me from the Georgia Tech faithful, `Coach we’ve got to get the students back, we’ve got to get them back.’ I could tell that was a passionate plea from the Georgia Tech alumni and fans. So tonight, the students came out, they did their part … Hopefully they can keep coming back because they saw an entertaining game. Fortunately we won but it was a good basketball game from both teams.”
On improving foul shooting:
“I’m proud of our guys on the free-throw line. One of our goals is to make more than the opponent attempts and we did that again tonight. We made 17, they attempted 17, so it was even but that’s a goal of ours. We shot 90 percent from the free throw line and that’s a great stat. To win games in the ACC, when it becomes possession games and we’re a possession team, we’ve got no margin for error so we have to make our free throws down the stretch. That’s why I got upset at Josh Okogie late in the game. He’s throwing the ball away and he comes into timeout [after] I call a timeout and I said, `What are you doing?’ and he said, `Coach we’re up 12, we’re okay,’ and I said `No, we’re not okay, the game is not over until the buzzer.’ Our team has got to play until the final buzzer. There is no room for error, we just don’t have that. So, fortunately, we got the ball inbound and ran the clock out.”
CLEMSON HEAD COACH BRAD BROWNELL
“Congratulations to Josh [Pastner] and his staff and the Georgia Tech players. They played great tonight. It’s not a surprise because I saw it against North Carolina. They’ve got a good system that they’re running this year that fits their personnel. Ben Lammers is a real good player. I mean he is really, really good. He makes it hard at the rim on offense. You can’t score over him. Offensively, he’s talented in that he can score at the rim with his jump hook. He’s making 17-foot jump shots. He’s a very good high-post passer. He’s an elite-level player in this league. The more you look at Georgia Tech and I know it’s a rebuild supposedly, but they’ve got some players here that are pretty good. Quinton Stephens is getting a chance to be a primary guy and he’s taking advantage of it. Tadric Jackson is another talented, highly recruited guy that is very good. They hit on Josh Okogie and he’s a very good freshman. They have good players. Their system fits what they do very well. Ben Lammers is elite. They just outplayed us and outcoached us.”
On struggling on three-pointers:
“That’s disappointing for us because it’s really one of the things we do well. We’re not a great shooting team but we’re a darn good one. When you play Georgia Tech and [Ben] Lammers is around the rim, it’s hard to score in there. So, you’re going to have to make some threes. I thought in the first half we got a lot of good looks from three and we didn’t capitalize. We were 4-for-14 and the game changes so much if you make two more, if you go 6-for-14, but we didn’t. As the game gets later, game pressure comes into play and I thought we felt some of that. I thought their man-to-man [defense] was good. Again, I think Ben Lammers puts a lot of pressure on you defensively because he’s great in bal- screen defense. We just never got into a great rhythm.
I thought Jaron [Blossomgame] fought his way to 20 points. Shelton Mitchell and Devonte [Grantham] both struggled a little bit. We missed some threes that we could have hit on. We only had eight turnovers and 12 assists but defensively we weren’t very good. [We] probably panicked a little bit when we got into some foul trouble and tried some zone stuff. They executed down the stretch against some different defenses and played well.”
On Georgia Tech’s rebounding success:
“We struggle to rebound. I just haven’t done a good job of coaching that, especially with this year’s team. We’ve had games that we’ve really had a problem. It cost us the North Carolina game at home — we played very well but couldn’t finish off possessions. Our first shot defense is generally decent but we allow so many offensive rebounds that it’s a problem. In this game, there were a couple big-time possessions where they beat us to the ball. Josh Okogie beat us to the ball on a couple plays. We just seemed a little half-step behind on some things. Maybe some of that is by not being able to score, we got a little frustrated and our defense wasn’t as good.”