Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner
“First off, you have to give credit to Virginia. They hit couple big shots. It’s 48-46 and Huff hits two big shots for them. Bottom line for the game is, we had 18 turnovers, 13 in the first half and five in the second half. We settled down in the second half. We got down 14, it was sort of like the Duke game, we got down and then we came roaring back, and we’ve done that all the time. That’s the difference and they had 11 offensive rebounds. They had 29 extra possessions in a sense.
“[Turnovers have] been an Achilles’ heel of ours all year … and we just have to be better about it. It’s something we spend a lot of time on, but it’s bit us in the rear many times.
“I know this sounds strange, but I really believe that we have gotten better and we are very close to turning the corner. And I know that there is no such thing as moral victories, but Virginia is the No. 1 defensive team in the country based on numbers. We shot 50 percent against them and that’s the best we’ve shot against them, certainly in my time here. It was just the turnovers. We’re getting better offensively, but we just cannot put ourselves in that position when we have those type of turnovers.”
On the frustration level after many close losses:
“Look, I understand we’re in the business where there is a scoreboard. That’s what makes sports great – there’s a winner and a loser and the competitive nature of wanting to win every game. I know our record is not good, but we’re better than our record. This is the best we’ve been in my four years, I can assure you. That doesn’t give us any moral victory or a pat on our back. I can only tell you, from my chair, we’re better than we’ve been and we’ve had a lot of close losses this year.”
On how hard it was to break Virginia down defensively but then still have to contend with Jay Huff:
“Yeah, part of that, but we shot 50 percent from the field. I don’t know how many teams have shot 50 percent that against them. We’re just way better offensively. We shot 36 percent from three. It’s just our turnovers. You take out 18 [turnovers] and instead have 13 and you probably a couple more positions you score. Of course, we weren’t real good from the free-throw line today – we were 3-for-9. But [if] you go [from] 18 turnovers to 12 or 13, you probably score 65 points. If you look at our pace of play in the conference, we’re No. 1 in the league in tempo. This is the best offensive team we’ve had here in a while. It’s just the turnovers.”
On the development of Moses Wright and how Virginia was able to limit him Saturday:
“Moses’ jump that he’s made from where he was in high school to where he is now, is incredible. I’m very proud of Moses. The assistant coaches have done a great job on his development. I thought the physicality maybe bothered him [tonight]. But Moses has been playing at a very high level for a long time. One of the things that I’ve been on Moses about is his consistency – this is from last year – and he’s been very consistent this year. He’s a guy you can depend on.”
Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett
On Jay Huff:
“That’s the third game in a row where he’s really played very solid. He gave us continuous effort on the glass, he bothered shots. I thought he and Kihei [Clark] were terrific the whole game, minus Kihei’s free throws at the end. Everyone chipped in at different times, but specifically Jay, he really gave us a lift rim-protecting.
“As I said to the guys, we played better. We’ve got to continue to play better and not totally eliminate, but cut down on the mistakes. We built a nice lead, but their defenses can confuse you at times. We executed for the most part, but there certainly were some lapses.”
On Kihei Clark:
“He has such a load on his plate. He has to do so much. I think at times, he’s played like a warrior and been remarkable, and of course there’s times that he hasn’t played his best, but he’s got to do that. Some guys have been thrust into spots that probably we weren’t planning on. I thought he was tough tonight, as were other guys, and it was good to see that.”
On their defense:
“At times good, and at times not good. At times, we got beat off the dribble, got back-cut, gave up some offensive rebounds. There were enough breakdowns that they got back in the game, but when we were back and sound … it was good enough, but it needs to get better.”
Three-game losing streak…did you talk to the team about it?
“We work hard, we prepare. They say life and death is in the power of the tongue. You have to look at stuff and be real about where we are struggling but be positive. We were so close. In all three of those losses, we had chances to win. We haven’t learned how to win yet at a high level. Now today, we won. It wasn’t great and we faltered a little bit and the wheels were wobbling, but we won. This team, it’s all new to them, for the most part. I thought there were going to be some struggles. There is a level of expectation, rightly so or wrongly so, that this program has developed, and that’s a lot for guys who are in new experiences. It’s our job as a staff to keep coaching, keep encouraging, and not be too affected one way or the other.”
On Braxton Key:
“I thought he did some really good things. I know he’s frustrated with a couple of turnovers and misses at the end of the game where we could have salted it away. But I thought he made some good tough drives. He had a hard drive guarding [Michael] Devoe, who has been playing really well. We just tried to tell him to be a roadblock, spread out, get in a stance and keep him in front. I thought he did a good job. He had a big-time rebound at one point.”