Georgia Tech 96, Tusculum 58
“Good win, 25 assists on 36 made field goals, beautiful ball movement. We did a much better job defensively the second half, especially on ball screen coverages. We held them to 32 percent from the field which is great, eight percent in the second half from three.
“I really felt we need Josh Okogie and Josh Heath to get back in rhythm. Josh Okogie had not played well, didn’t play well in the Notre Dame game, didn’t play well at Clemson, and played well the last seven minutes of the Wake Forest game. We needed him to get back in rhythm. Josh Heath didn’t play well last week, we needed him to get back in rhythm. I thought both guys played well. Josh Okogie had 15 [points] and nine [rebounds] and was efficient. Josh Heath had six points, five assists, three rebounds and no turnovers, plus three steals. He tweaked his ankle towards the end there so we just pray that he’s okay and we’ll see in the next day or two.
“I thought those guys we needed to be good today to help them get back in rhythm, especially in this stretch. For us to do what we need to do, we’ve become a good team, but we need to become a great team if we want to achieve what we want to achieve, especially with this stretch run with conference play.
“Plus-18 on the glass and it was good for everyone to get in. Rand Rowland got the NABC Allstate Good Works Award. Five guys in Division I get that award based on community service, GPA and just the way he represents the institution. Rand is one of the five guys in Division I basketball to get that so it’s a great accomplishment for Rand and for Georgia Tech. A guy like Shaheed Medlock, that’s here on the Bill Gates Scholarship, came in and gave us good minutes towards the end. Norman Harris, who wants to be an aerospace engineer, he wants to work on rockets being sent to Mars. Rand is on scholarship, I awarded him scholarship the second half of the season here, but those three guys don’t get a lot of time in the games so they came in and did a nice job there towards the end.”
On Tusculum’s three-point shooting:
“We talked about having to take the three out. Our goal was to hold them to 28 percent from three but we got them to 31 percent. Now they eclipsed that the first half, they were on fire. No. 4, Kendall Patterson, really shot it well. We did a much better job on him the second half. Our ball screen coverage was better in the second half. We were much better defensively in the second half.”
On if playing everyone is a kind of moral victory:
“It’s not about moral, it’s do we play the right way. We weren’t sharp last week. We had the injury bug, we were sick and we played that way. We played sick. We needed to get back to playing in a rhythm and in a groove and we needed to be sharp. We were sharp today. A lot of credit goes to Quinton Stephens, I really put it on him to make sure the guys were ready to play. We were going to have to generate our own energy and play the right way. Quinton had his group, his teammates ready to play. So Quinton deserves a lot of credit on that.”
TUSCULUM HEAD COACH MICHAEL JONES
“First of all, we want to thank Josh [Pastner] and Georgia Tech for having us. We felt fortunate that we were able to fit this into our schedule. It was an odd situation to play a game like this in February. It’s a little different, it’s something unusual, especially for us with a conference game tomorrow. It does make us a little weary, but I felt like we were able to play a lot of guys. [We] kept our key guys out of the game, especially late. Hopefully that will allow us to be pretty fresh tomorrow.”
On nerves in the opening minutes:
“No question. We pride ourselves on that we shoot the basketball pretty well. I think that they relied on that early. I think that their first six or seven shots were threes – something like that. That’s not something we want to live on. You want to try and establish something inside the three-point line, but we didn’t do that early. Once we saw the ball go through the hoop early, we were able to gain a little more confidence. I think that showed in our play as well. We play a lot of young kids, and a lot of those young guys when you get on a floor like that with an ACC opponent, obviously that shows.”
On playing games on back-to-back nights:
“More of it is the amount of travel that it requires. This is about a four-hour trip one way for us this way, and then we’ve got go almost two hours north tomorrow. So we’re a little worried, but the good thing is there’s plenty of room on the bus, and they’ll be able to sleep. It’s the quality of opponent as well. Georgia Tech is a great basketball team, and we turn around and play Lincoln Memorial who’s a top 20 team in the nation for Division-II with really quality players including Division-I transfers and things like that. So, it’ll be a big game for us. No doubt.”
On takeaways from a game against an ACC opponent:
“First of all, it’s the experience for the guys. There’s no question that all basketball players have dreams of playing at this level. So, for them to be able to experience the lights and the sounds and the show that’s put on as well as competing against Josh [Pastner’s] team and the quality of athletes that he’s got. That means a lot to them. Like I said, the good thing is we play a really good quality opponent tomorrow and to be honest with you, LMU is a really good basketball team. This is actually a pretty good tune-up to get us ready for a big basketball game tomorrow.”
On getting open for threes:
“We’ve got four guys on the floor who all can shoot it pretty well. It didn’t always show tonight. Again, it’s a different facility – depth perception – it’s all brand new to them. We don’t play in arenas like this. Once the upperclassmen got to see it go through the hoop a couple times, it really helped.