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Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Postgame Coaches’ Quotes

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Postgame Coaches’ Quotes

Clemson Head Coach Brad BrownellOverall thoughts:“It was a really gutsy performance by my guys. We knew GT was going to come in here ready to play and with a lot of confidence after the way they played against Wake. They came out firing and I thought we were maybe a half step slow the first few minutes. I thought our defense the last 30-35 minutes was really good. Offensively, it was really good to just get production from a bunch of different guys. I told our guys yesterday that I was going to play every guy in the first half and that we would need our bench and our post players that don’t play as much to step up, especially defensively. I thought the way they play inside-out, that foul trouble might be an issue, especially with Milt (Jennings) and (Devin) Booker. And, fatigue. It was an issue. GT does a really good job off a make or miss and they play very hard defensively, so some games are physical. They are pretty physical to play against, especially when it’s our third game in five nights. Rod was cramping, so just finding a way to win was very good.”

On playing 4 games in 9 days and staying tough:“We needed to win a game like this. Obviously when we lost a tough one like Florida State it really hurt. And, NC State too for that matter. We were right there. To steal one in an unbelievable environment there would have been awesome, but to be able to come back twice like we have and hold tough, and winning our two home games, was huge for us. We are still trying to learn how to win and how to do things. A lot of guys in our program have to learn how to make big plays. Those were big free throws from KJ at the end. He had the ball at the end against Florida State and the potential to make a play and he really didn’t do it. Those guys have to realize they are the guys. You can’t always get the ball to Book. As much as you want to, that’s not always going to be an option. Milt isn’t a guy who creates as much, so those other guys need to step up to win some games. They need to make plays at the end of games. Today, it was free throws, which was good. It’s a learning experience for all of the young guys.”

On K.J. McDaniels‘ talent and potential: “He still has a long way to go. He has a very good ceiling. He will be a better player when he’s 26 or 27 and he’s more in to his body and more mature as a player, because he’s still very young as a perimeter player. It’s going to take a lot of time for him to get truly comfortable. He’s uncomfortable on defense sometimes and even gets caught up in screens sometimes and gets turned around. Sometimes he makes up for it with a huge dunk and other times he doesn’t. He shows unbelievable upside. He can affect the game in many ways. He’s got to get better in transition.”

On Bernard Sullivan‘s performance:“Bernard was great tonight. I’m really happy for him. He’s been working at it. In practice sometimes he has played well and other times he has struggled. Sometimes the game seems to move a little fast for him. Having said that, there is a huge difference in Bernard this year compared to last year. Last year, he was a completely different guy with his ailments, and he struggled. He still isn’t one of those guys with conditioning that is great, but he has his explosiveness back. Obviously, you saw that on the put-back tonight. We have seen more explosiveness in the 4-6 weeks with him, and that has been really good to see. There is just some things he struggles with a little bit, but today he was big. We don’t win the game if he doesn’t play that well. He fought inside better and hung in there with some bigger guys.”

Georgia Tech Head Coach Brian GregoryOverall thoughts:“Give Clemson credit because I think they’re playing really well right now. They had a couple of tough losses on the road to North Carolina State and to Florida State. Obviously they played well this weekend against Virginia Tech, and they played well again tonight. They know where their points come from. They do a good job of sharing the ball. Those two seniors inside do a good job. You’ve got to pay close attention to them. They got a lot of good basketball from different guys tonight. I’m disappointed in the last ten minutes of the first half.

“I’m disappointed in our inability to control the basketball and take care of the basketball. I thought that was a big key in the game. Our rebounding in the first half was atrocious, and we responded pretty well in the second half. But we’re at a point as a team where we’re not good enough to play 20 good minutes of basketball and win in this league. You have to play 40, so give them credit because over a 40-minute period, they played better than we did. In this league, it’s not who’s better than who. It’s who plays best for 40 minutes, and they did that tonight.”

On Clemson’s rebounding edge in the first half:“We didn’t have the physical and mental toughness that you need to rebound the ball against Clemson. I’ve known Brad for a long time, and his teams, night in and night out, are some of the toughest teams around. Whether they’re young or old, big or small, it doesn’t matter. They’re tough, they play hard, they’re physical, and if you don’t match that, you’re going to get your brains beat in on the glass and in other areas. That’s what happened. Our guys responded well. Give our guys credit. They’re as resilient a bunch as I’ve seen. Being resilient means you screwed up a little bit to start off. I’d rather be really good all the way through than be resilient. It’s not a bad trait when you’re rebuilding.”

On the last two minutes of the first half:“We turned the ball over. That was the key. We turned the ball over and they got second shots. They got some runouts, so our defense couldn’t set. They shot 45 percent because they got transition baskets off turnovers and they got some second shots. It’s hard to overcome, especially on the road.”