Quotes from Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith quotes after the Yellow Jackets’ 72-56 loss in the NIT quarterfinal in San Diego.
“(I) think you start by giving coach (Steve Fisher) and his team a lot of credit. They played extremely well today. They’ve played well. I said going into the game that it was a team that probably is playing in the wrong tournament, to be honest with you. They deserve to play in the NCAA Tournament. Their numbers showed it, their record showed it. Unfortunately, those things happen. With the expansion of leagues and different things like that. But, (Fisher has) done a great job of keeping those guys focused on the goal of winning this thing, and they came out and played extremely well. I thought the difference in the game was the second-chance points and their ability, or our inability, to run some of our offense we normally run. Our offense kind of let us down a little bit in the second half, to their credit. And we’ve got to finish some more plays around the basket, but obviously that’s why they’re one of the best defensive teams around. Disappointed that we didn’t play a little better in the second half, but San Diego State had a lot to do with that.”
On if fatigue played any role in the loss, especially the second half
“Yeah, I think a little. We don’t make any excuses on that. Sometimes, I’ve always said it, sometimes this tournament is a little harder than the NCAA Tournament for that reason. The last two teams that we’ve played are a combined 30-6 at home. And then you’ve got to make that trip, the Monday-Wednesday night trip, and we tried to do everything we could to stay fresh and still be well-prepared. But it’s a challenge. Some shots that maybe normally would fall don’t, but I think the way (SDSU) played had more to do with it than fatigue, to be honest with you.”
On SDSU out-rebounding Tech 12-7 on the offensive glass
“We’re a very good rebounding team and obviously the numbers … the number that shows it is the 17-5, the plus 12. The other number that really popped out when you looked at the stats, (Skylar) Spencer with the double his average (in scoring). And the back-up post guys, who are athletic and work extremely hard, they don’t get the ball a lot, so when they get it they try to do something with it. They both had six (points). I think that was a big key. And a couple crucial turnovers there. We’ve been good in terms of taking care of the ball and we weren’t as good at that tonight.”
On how SDSU’s defense compared with who they’ve played this year
“It’s definitely up there. You look at their defensive field goal percentage. Sometimes the numbers in terms of points per game get skewed a little bit because if you slow it down on offense and different things like that, you don’t give up as many points. The defensive field goal percentage is probably the truest measure of how good you are defensively, and then if you can control the defensive glass, and they do a good job of that. So they’re just about as good as any team we’ve played because, as Adam said, one thing that they’re able to do is take away some stuff. With (Dakarai) Allen, he’s just able to chase Adam all over the place, knowing that even if he makes a mistake, he knows someone’s going to be behind him with some length.”
On where he thinks Tech’s basketball program is and if he thinks its on the right trajectory
“I would say it’s on the right trajectory. But as I’ve said all year long, if as a coach, if you’re worrying about that stuff, you’re living half-minded and if you’re living half-minded, you’re not doing your job with the guys. … Sometimes with all the other stuff going on, it deflected from what our guys were doing this year, and I think maybe we didn’t appreciate enough what these seniors have done. And as I said, you’re rebuilding a program, and when you go through that, sometimes it’s difficult because you get competitive like we have been the last two years, but you’re not able to get over the hump. And in this day and age, most guys don’t stick with that. They just don’t. They either flat-out quit or they go somewhere else. And you very rarely have the quality of character guys in the midst of that join your program. And so with Marcus, in particular, and Corey (Heyward) who’s a redshirt-junior, those guys stuck it out. And then you have Nick (Jacobs) and Charles (Mitchell) join us. And then Adam (Smith) and James (White) this year. To me, that just shows what type of men those guys are, and the character and the core values that they have. In this day and age, that’s more remarkable than any won-or-lost record, in my opinion.”
On SDSU’s ability to stop the Jackets from controlling the offensive boards
“Every shot, they were boxing out and going after the shot. They were just swarming all over the place.”
On how the road atmosphere compared to those in the ACC
“Chapel Hill would be a great comparison. I’ve played in Cameron Indoor. It could compare to a lot of different schools I’ve played in during my career here at Tech.”
On his 130-game career at Tech
“I didn’t realize, that’s a lot of games and a lot of minutes. It’s been a long career here. A lot of ups and downs, but it’s made me stronger as a person and as a player, but I embraced it. Every day wasn’t easy and it was really challenging. It was a real challenge every day and I was ready for it. I didn’t get the result, get to Madison Square (Garden), but looking back at it, I’ve had a pretty great career. I’m just thankful for them allowing me to wear that jersey. It’s been an honor.”
On how much Dakarai Allen’s defense influenced his poor shooting night
“Credit goes to him, he’s a great defender. He’s long, athletic. Most of the shots that I took, even a few that I made, he was there contesting. But it was a team effort on their part. Once we got past one guy, there was another there. They rotated well.”
On the road atmosphere
“I was just telling my family this was one of the toughest places I’ve played. It was loud, the crowd really gets into it, and you can tell the team really feeds off of that. Besides UNC this year, this is probably one of the loudest places that we’ve played in.”
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