Georgia Tech 62, No. 14 Notre Dame 60
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH JOSH PASTNER
“First of all, great basketball game, played at a very high level by both teams. I think Notre Dame is really, really, really good. I think Mike Brey is one of the most underrated, great coaches. Everyone knows he’s a good coach. I think he’s a great coach and probably doesn’t get the recognition he deserves nationally. He’s a great coach. I hope our program, as we continue to rebuild and grow in this major rebuild process of ours, that we can emulate Notre Dame and how he’s built a program there, Coach Brey has. So we strive to emulate Coach Brey and the success that he’s had and try to mirror our program like Coach Brey has done. As part of our rebuild and vision, that’s what we’re looking for long-term.
“What I would tell you is that we start the game and it was sort of like we got down – and everyone knows I talk about energy all the time – it was sort of like we were just low-energy to start the game, which is a credit to Notre Dame. They were making their shots. To be what we were down and then fight back to be able to get the lead against that type of team in the first half, it says a lot about our guys. Our guys have really responded well all throughout the year. So that was a big opportunity for us to get back in the game on that, take the lead and then it was back-and-forth. It was just one of those things where I thought we had some turnovers and everything else then in the second half they did a good job of coming out in that zone [defense]. It slowed us for a little bit but then I thought we did a good job attacking it.
“I thought we guarded for the most part pretty well. I thought we did a good job on [Steve] Vasturia, who is really good. I thought we made Matt Farrell take some tough shots, who’s an excellent player. We didn’t switch as [many] defenses today. We pretty much stayed in man and we really guarded.
“Having 18 assists on 26 made field goals, the way we’ve continued to move the ball, we have really improved on that.”
On the sellout crowd at McCamish Pavilion:
“I told our guys after the game, they had earned the right to have a sellout crowd that was all Georgia Tech. It wasn’t half-and-half. It wasn’t half Georgia Tech, half Notre Dame. The sellout crowd was all for Georgia Tech and [the team has] earned that right based on how hard they’ve played and how well they’ve moved the basketball. That’s a credit to those young men in that locker room and on the floor.”
On if Georgia Tech is an NCAA Tournament team:
“If the tournament is today, we’re in and there’s no question about it. There’s still a lot of games left. The tournament doesn’t [start] today. If the tournament was today, we’d be in the NCAA Tournament, we’d deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament based on our resume. We’ve got great wins, [including] on the road, against great teams. However, there’s a lot of games left and in this league, our margin for error is zero and we can never forget this is a major rebuild job … we are the most inexperienced team in all of college basketball, let’s not forget that. For us to be able to perform with some of these wins, that’s a great credit to our guys having great buy-in. If the tournament’s today, we’re in. But the tournament selection show’s not until the middle of March, so we have a long way to go. Unless you can pull the fire alarm on the season somehow for the next month-and-a-half.”
On Tadric Jackson, Josh Okogie and their roles in the game-winning play:
“I thought Tadric Jackson was terrific. I’ve been hard on Tadric all year. I get after him and, to his credit, he responds. I want to give him a big shout-out. His awareness on a big-time guard rebound late … his awareness to see the clock and not panic and move the ball up the floor and throw it ahead.
“And Josh [Okogie], who was unbelievable [against Florida State], he was not good today. To win the game, to beat Notre Dame without one of your key, key guys who has just had a [day] – I haven’t seen him play like this in a long time. But for Tadric’s awareness to see the time and score and for Josh’s speed – that burst, it was like Usain Bolt. I promise you, that burst that Josh O. had to get to the basket, it was literally like Usain Bolt. It was as fast as I’ve seen anyone, the explosion on that type of [play], from Point A to Point B.”
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH MIKE BREY
“We’ve had a lot of thrillers in this building since we’ve been in the ACC. You’ve got to give [Georgia] Tech a lot of credit, they made the last great play. I’m proud of our group, in a tough atmosphere we kept trying and scratching and had our chances. We probably didn’t get as good a shot at the end there. We were trying to run it down even further, but when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. Our defensive balance wasn’t very good and they made a great play. [We] can’t dwell on it much because we’ve got a game on Monday.”
On the game’s back and forth nature:
“I felt it was going to go to game situations. I’m really impressed with Georgia Tech, [and] Josh [Pastner] has done a fabulous job in his first year. It was hard for us to get into an offensive rhythm because you couldn’t get anything around the basket because of [Ben] Lammers and [Quinton] Stephens. Their shot-blocking really changes the game. The guards that he plays can all play defense, and then you’ve got the shot-blockers in the back. We worked like heck to get 60 points today. Obviously, [Tadric] Jackson was fabulous, and we had no answer for him.”
On defending Matt Farrell off the dribble:
“That’s what we wanted to do at the end. This was a lot like the end of the Pitt game where we get a ball screen for Matt and let him go and make a decision. They really hugged our shooters, so he had to shoot a floater. It wasn’t a great shot, but it’s one he hits. You like that he had the gumption to take it. I think the number of different, fresh guards that they put on him took its toll. They can really defend and they had really active hands.”
On Steve Vasturia’s performance:
“I’ve got to look at that. It’s probably the poorest Steve has played in two years. We certainly aren’t going to beat many people without Steve playing well. Those four guys really have to play well to beat good teams in the league. Georgia Tech is a very good team, I believe they’re going to be an NCAA tournament team. I think they kept a couple different guys on him. He likes to get some stuff going to the basket to get him started, but the shot-blockers changed the climate.”
On the challenges Ben Lammers creates:
“He’s really a gifted, gifted young man. What did he have? Three blocks? It felt like he had ten blocks. He changed another ten [shots]. He’s a gifted player. He’s good with the ball on the perimeter, he’s a good passer, he defends, [and] he offensive rebounds. That killed us in the first half. [In] He and Matt Farrell, you saw today two great stories in college basketball. Two guys that have kind of waited their turn, who have gotten better in a program. They’re candidates for being the most improved players in the league.”