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Postgame Quotes: Georgia Tech vs. Louisville

Georgia Tech Coach Josh Pastner

Opening statement:

“Louisville is good enough to win the national championship. They are really good and I am a big fan of coach Mack; he is one of the best coaches in the game and on top of that he is a really good guy. It would not surprise me if they were here in Atlanta in April and possibly cutting down the nets. Regarding us, it is a great win. We led the entire game and we had a good start. The bottom line is we defended at a high-level. Louisville is one of the best offensive teams in the country. We held them to 33 percent from the field and 12 percent from three. Yes, we had some turnovers but we scored well and in key times. We got a cushion early and got a lead. James Banks hit some big baskets. Moses Wright’s shot-block, to think of where he came from as a freshman to where he is now. He scored a huge basket in the high post. Jordan Usher gave us great minutes and played well as a basketball player. He has a great motor and made some great motor plays. Jose [Alvarado] had some great plays; we are what Jose is when he is playing at a high-level with his toughness and warrior mentality. He is the head of our snake and his actions speak for themselves. Michael Devoe hit some big free throws late and hit a three to put us up seven. This was a big win for the program and I am very happy for our young men and for Georgia Tech, it was a great win for the fans and I am real excited to beat a team that is good enough to win the national championship.”

On facing Louisville after a close loss in the first matchup of the year:

“Our assistant coaches were incredible with their game planning. They deserve all credit on that and have done a great job on our player development. The players get the credit for executing that game plan. For four years we have been a very good defensive team. We have always been good defensively. It is effort and toughness based. We had two sets of three stops defensively in a row late and that is what got us the win. To guard them like we did tonight, if you look at our numbers we have been playing better offensively and scoring better. Everyone here knows we scrapped our offense mid-year. It has been the best thing for us.”

On defending the three:

“We did a great job on Jordan Nwara. We were better on their big guys this game. We executed well and double teamed at times while doing different things to keep them off rhythm. Again, I credit our assistant coaches. The way our players then executed it and were able to follow instructions is what led to our win.”

On both making turnovers and forcing turnovers:

“We had some turnovers and missed some free throws and it was not pretty. We had some tough possessions but we won through defense. I have said this before, we have gotten a ton better since November and December. The comparison is night and day. We are not even the same team. Our guys have gotten better. Our record unfortunately does not show that. We are better than our record. We are right at that doorstep and the next phase to move the needle in the program is get through that door. That is the hardest part. To get through that door you have to win these types of games. We found a way to close it out. We are not fully there but tonight was a great step in that direction.”

 

Louisville Coach Chris Mack

Opening statement:

“I know throughout this press conference I’m going to reference my team and talk about our lack of toughness, our lack of execution and all of the things that played us because it’s my team. I say all that and I don’t want it misconstrued throughout the entire press conference that I thought Josh [Pastner’s] team… their guys were ready to play. I thought they were excited to play. I thought they took the fight to us and I think sometimes coaches don’t credit the other team. They sit here and tell you guys how poorly their own team played. So as the press conference goes on and I talk about how poorly we played, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I thought their game plan was excellent. They played us man-to-man almost the entire game and we couldn’t score. It hasn’t been a huge problem for our team all year. I give tremendous credit to coach Pastner, his staff and their players for doing what they did tonight.

“On our end of the floor, we didn’t start the game with the proper mindset, the right energy, the right toughness level that’s required to win on the road. We’ve talked about it a lot: If you set the tone the wrong way and the other team has a lot of positive momentum to start the game, they’re going to feed off that. That’s exactly what they did. We fought uphill the entire game from what I thought was a lack of energy and readiness on our part.”

On Louisville’s struggles from the three-point line:

“We shot 24 of them, so I would say that a few of them were probably terrific defense and I think we missed some open ones that I think we would normally hit. Regardless of whether the ball is going in or not, you can control your effort to get to the offensive glass. You can try to get to the free throw line [and] drive the ball in the paint. Do you need to make a few? Probably a couple. But it’s not like Georgia Tech banged in 10 or 12 to beat us, they made four. It was an ugly game. It was a muddy game and we weren’t dirty enough to win.”

On playing a lot of zone defense:

“We went into the game talking about having it ready and playing it because they’ve struggled at times versus the zone. They don’t have a ton of guys that statistically are great three-point shooters. Michael Devoe is really the only guy over 40 percent that plays a lot. We felt like if we could tilt the floor and make sure he didn’t get one – again he got one – maybe we could get some deflections, get some runouts that maybe would help our offense as well. So it wasn’t just a defensive decision. We didn’t do enough in it even though it did get some stops.”

On Jordan Nwora’s offensive struggles:

“They put a 5-foot-11, 6-foot tough kid on him. We run post-up plays and Jordan [Nwora] can’t figure out how to be tough enough to hold a guy off of him and lay the ball in.”

On Louisville’s offensive turnovers:

“That probably is the common theme. I would tell you that a large majority of our turnovers were in offensive transition which is astounding. We have three-on-two’s, two-on-one’s and we’re knocking it off our own knee and then pushing guys over. We’re getting the ball slapped out of bounds on our own knee. We’re missing layups. Our ability to convert when we had those numbered breaks was really poor. Even Dave [Johnson’s] blocked shot… we had a ton of those opportunities and we didn’t convert and that’s why we scored 58 points.”

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