Listen to Audio (7:03)
(Things were) similar to some of the things we did the other night against North Carolina State—I thought at times we were really good. I didn’t think we held our focus very well in the second half. For them to shoot 55 percent in the second half, we’re not pleased with that, but at the same time you should congratulate Georgia Tech and Brian (Gregory) and his kids because they didn’t quit, they kept playing. I reminded our team before we went out for the second half first play—I think I’ll get this right or very close—they were down17 or 15 against Clemson and it ended up being a two-point game. They were down 14 or 15 against Duke, and they kept playing and got it to within a one-possession game in the last two minutes.
I was disappointed in some of the things we did in the second half, but that also acts like it’s only our game—you’ve got to give Georgia Tech credit. They make 7-10 from three; first half it was 2-10, second half they make a bunch of them. I think we did some good things. In the first half I was really pleased with about everything we did to be up 20 like that and feel good about the way we played. We had shot the ball well, and you’ve heard me say 100 times: ‘Everything looks better when the ball goes in the basket.’
Look down (at the box score), four guys in double figures, that’s good. We had a rebounding edge; I think we should have had more, but at the same time be lucky and feel good about what you have.
Through two games it looks like Reggie has really locked down his defensive guy. Is that a bonus?
Well it’s a bonus, but I think Reggie—I think I can go back—not that anybody wants to, especially me and read about my comments, but I’ve said all year that Reggie has gotten better and better defensively. I think that he has the length; he doesn’t have the quickness or the speed that Dexter (Strickland) does, but he has the length.
At the same time, we know that Glenn (Rice) was hobbling around out there. I asked him when I shook hands with him if it was his knee or his ankle, and I think he said it was his big toe. But he did look like he was laboring a little bit out there. But I think Reggie did a nice job defensively. In fact, the State game I think he was the defensive player of the game.
What was the explanation you got on the technical (foul)?
I’m not saying one word about that.
Listen to Audio (2:56)
What is it like to see the shots falling again from the perimeter guys?
Ah, it was great—something that anytime we can get outside shots going it adds to what John (Henson) and I can do inside. James played a great game also. All around I think it was a very good effort.
How much do you think that opens up the offense—like you said, most guys ar making from the outside?
I think it opens up a lot. We had a lot more dribble-drives into the lane, and then even a few times Harrison (Barnes) and Kendal (Marshall) both went into the lane and shot lay-ups. It does stretch them out and it makes it much more difficult (to defend us).
Coach has said a couple times that you all are a good shooting team and it just hadn’t carried over into these games. What is it like in practice, has it been a huge difference with how much the shots are going in versus some of these games before today?
Yes and no—I mean sometimes it is like in practice you get more open shots, you are playing against Blue Steel so they are not quite up to the same level as the other guys but they do a fantastic job. For the most part it’s pretty similar—people have the days when they are hitting and other days they are not. Hopefully, people can start hitting a lot. It makes everybody’s job easier.
It looked like the ball movement, looking for one another, getting the best possible shot, that you all were kind of on with that today. Your thoughts?
I think for the most part we have been trying to do that. I think today we had great spacing and we were able to get it to the point of—Kendall came down the middle of the lane to create some kind of play and then John made a couple of fantastic passes; it made my job pretty easy.
Listen to Audio (3:04)
What did you do well today in the first half?
We got defensive stops. We knew Glenn Rice wanted to take some shots, we knew (Mfon) Udofia wanted to take some shots, but I think we did a great job of limiting Rice. I had to do a better job on Mfon, but we were able to get out in transition and have numbers.
In regards to the shooting, have you guys been hitting them in practice and they just haven’t fallen in games before tonight, or how would you describe what is going on?
Part of it was we shot the ball really well in the games but they were also wide open shots. We did a great job of not taking contested shots.
How important was it for you to hit that first one? It kind of really set the tone for everybody else.
I think it kind of messes with the other team a little bit, because you could see right away that they wanted to double down on our big men, but if I come out with the confidence to hit that first shot I think it makes them second-guess going down on the bigs and it’s going to open up a lot more for them.
What did you think about Stilman (White) breaking Pierre Jordan’s ankles there on that play?
It was a great move, you know, and for him to have the confidence to step into it and knock down the shot is even a better move.
Listen to Audio (3:31)
Hitting that first shot from the perimeter, how much confidence does that give you going forward?
It definitely gave me a lot of confidence. I believe that’s with anybody—you make the first shot, you believe you can make all the rest of them so, you know, I just kept my composure and just was able to knock them down.
Does it feel like a sense of “contagiousness,” if that’s a word when you are seeing your teammates do well from the outside shooting, and does that give you confidence as a team, collectively?
Yeah, when me, P.J. (Hairston), and Harrison, when we knock down shots they give our team great enthusiasm. We are just able to knock down shots—we run to our spots and Kendall is just able to find us so we just allow him to get us the ball.
Did Dex give you any advice?
He just basically told me to play my game. I know what I’m capable of doing, playing defense and knocking down shots and rebounding, just being a team player so I just try to carry that over.
Is there a different mental approach for you starting as opposed to coming off the bench? You are in the action from the get-go as opposes to seeing how the flow is going?
It’s just a lot of stuff going to hit you real quick, so I just have to be able to catch on to things real quick.