Georgia Tech 81, Sam Houston State 73
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Josh Pastner
“First half I thought we did a lot of good things, maybe our best basketball in the first half up to this point of the season. Nine assists on 15 made field goals. I thought we guarded really well, did a lot of good things. Then the second half we just didn’t guard. You’ve got to give credit to Sam Houston State but we just stopped guarding like we had guarded in the first half. That’s the big difference there.
“I love the fact that we made more free throws than the opponent attempted but we can’t leave all those points on the board. We should be scoring close to 100 if we’re making some of those free throws. But the bottom line is we didn’t guard the second half like we guarded the first half and that’s a credit to Sam Houston State. We had 10 turnovers the second half, too many.
“For the most part I liked the way we were skipping the ball. You’ll always hear me talk about A.A.S.S.A: attack, attack, skip, skip, attack. I talk about it all the time, we’ve got to keep in that mentality. We’re living in the paint, we attack the paint. The bottom line is that it’s a make or miss game and you make some threes like we did today, it sure changed the complexion of everything.
“[Quinton Stephens] when he’s playing like that in terms of the way he’s on the glass and hustling and stuff like that, I can play him through those times when he’s not making shots because he’s doing others things. He’s having a good floor game outside of shooting so I can let him play through that stuff and he’s doing other things on the floor. Just in time, he’s going to put the ball in the basket. I started Corey [Heyward] today just to give us some toughness, I didn’t think versus Ohio we didn’t compete the way I wanted us to compete, to play with that effort and energy. We had a tremendous practice on Sunday and I didn’t feel our fight in practice yesterday was good enough so I brought the guys back late last night to watch more film on us and the whole practice that we had. So I put Corey in the lineup to give us that toughness and that competitive excellence that we needed and he did a good job, came up with a lot of 50-50 balls. I thought the first half we had great energy, we played with great energy and in the second half, we didn’t have that same energy. We are a possession by possession team. Going back to Quinton in the Ohio game, looking back on it, he wasn’t making some shots but I subbed him out in that second half in that stretch and he did such a good job on Kaminsky, when I subbed him out, Kaminsky got hot. Looking back on it I should have just let him play through his misses which I did tonight and he kept a good floor game and that was a good opportunity for us to help us get the win.”
On playing a short bench, only six or seven guys:
“It’s just kind of the way the game was played. I’ve said it to everybody, I play usually seven or eight guys, I don’t play 10-11 guys; it’s hard so I’m usually playing seven to eight. The rotation today was really seven even though six played double-digits when you count the minutes from those three guys combined you’re talking about a seventh guy there. I would love to have a game where it’s not possession by possession but that’s who we are and we’ve got to be able to create with what we’ve got to be able to create the lead and even extend it so we can get everybody in. But that’s just who I am. I play seven to eight usually and that’s just how I’ve been as a head coach.”
SAM HOUSTON STATE HEAD COACH JASON HOOTEN
“We weren’t very good tonight. [I’m] very disappointed. It’s not every time or every year that you have an opportunity to beat a high-major school. I thought this was a very winnable game for us tonight. I’m just disappointed in the way we played. I told Josh [Pastner] after the game though I do think this was the best game they’d played all year long. They made shots tonight [that] they hadn’t [previously] and they made free throws tonight which they haven’t done either. They were shooting 63 percent as a team and they were shooting 27 percent from three. So, they played their best and we played our worst. I’m very disappointed. We kept fighting like we always do and we made it interesting there at the end. But we didn’t deserve to win tonight because we just didn’t play good enough.”
On Tech starting fast in the first half
“[Quinton Stephens] comes out and hits two threes right off the bat, and he was 2-for-13 [on the season]. We talked about letting him shoot those, but obviously keeping them away from the basket. In their first three games, what they wanted to do was get to the rim. They’re bigger and longer than us which always makes it a difficult challenge when you play a school that has as much depth inside as they do. We got down 20 and played so bad in the first half. I’ll give them a lot of credit. They did a great job of switching their defenses up [and] keeping us off balance. I really like my point guard John Dewey [III], but he’s a sophomore and a junior college transfer. He’s got three years to play and he’s learning every game. We know there’s going to be some bumps and bruises. But I do think that by the time we get him to conference [play] in January that he could be an all-league player for us.”
On scoring 53 points in the second half
“I think part of that is that we did play better. But I also think that they don’t have a lot of depth, they played six guys tonight 19 minutes or more [including] 34, 37, 38, 34, 26. There’s not a lot of depth in there. I did feel like we could play better and we could get back into the game. And we did that. [I’m] just disappointed [in] giving them 53 percent from the field. That’s not Sam Houston State defense.”
Takeaways from tonight’s game?
“Our team that won 26 games two years ago would have come in here tonight and it would have been a different game. I think we can be that good, but we’ve got some maturing to do. To have an opportunity like that and let it slip away, I hope we learn something from it because we go home Friday and play a team that’s as good as these guys and Ohio in Idaho. Our schedule’s not going to get any easier. We go to Baylor next Wednesday. We’ve got a tough row to hoe. But I do like our team. I do think we’ll take some things away from this, but probably more negative than positive. That’s sometimes how you get better, isn’t it?”