March 2, 2012
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Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell
On the nature of tonight’s win: “It was a toughness win. It was a mental, physical grind-it-out type of game where you have to show some guts and do things that aren’t fun. You have to fight through screens. You have to keep everybody in front of you as hard as you can and make them shoot a contested shot. You have to go block out. You have to grind on offense and move the ball and cut. It’s exhausting. You have to play with great discipline and you have to execute, and we did that.”
On getting his team to the point where it can win a game like this: “It’s because of the way we work and the way we practice every day and how hard these guys go at it that we’ve improved. We’re a better team in February than we were in November and December. We’re markedly better. We’ve had 25 or 30 games and a bunch of good practices. Things have come our way a little bit.”
On his message to the team after past close losses: “It was only a couple of possessions. If we could just continue to grind and push the boulder up the mountain, we would eventually get there and start to have some success. The thing that speaks to the character of the kids is that it’s easy to say, but it’s hard to want to come to work every day and keep pushing the boulder. It’s not fun when you don’t get results. That speaks to their character and their maturity. They’re not going to let a little adversity stop them. They believe in what we’re doing. They like the way we play. They like their teammates. It was just a couple of bad situations.”
On the difficulty of consistent play: “We have to really work to get things. We have to work hard to get stops. Offensively, we really have to execute things well. There are a lot of things that go into playing really well. That’s why it’s so hard to have a lot of games like that.”
His thoughts on Tanner Smith’s and Andre Young’s impact on the team: “They don’t get enough credit for being good players. They are really good players. We look at things the wrong way sometimes. All the things they can do–making threes, making good passes, good basketball IQ plays, poise under pressure, willingness to be coached, willingness to come and work hard every day, willingness to be leaders and put their necks out in front of other people. There are a lot of things that go into being really good. They care more about the team than they care about their stats and what’s going on with that. There are checks in all of those boxes.”
Virginia Tech Head Coach Seth Greenberg
Overall Thoughts: “You can’t have that many live-ball turnovers. We knew about their hands on defense; we knew they were going to bring unbelievable ball pressure. If you put the ball on the floor against Clemson, you have to put it down with a purpose. We had too many guys that didn’t do that. On the other hand, I thought we had a lot of guys do a lot of good things. It was a typical Clemson and Virginia Tech game. We did a nice job of establishing Cadarian [Raines]. I thought Erick [Green] did a good job of chasing [Andre] Young off the three-point line. We had two stretches where we weren’t as good with the ball as we needed to be, and they capitalized on it. It’s as simple as that.
On playing in another close game: “I told our guys that we’re doing a lot of good things. We’re playing hard and I think we’re really improving in a lot of different areas. It’s disappointing we’re not winning. The biggest thing for us is the live-ball turnovers. The game tonight came down to us not being as tight with the ball as we needed to be. We got a good look at the end of the game and I’ll take that. We got some stops when we needed, but we can’t give up 21 points off of turnovers and win a ballgame. When our defense was set, we did a pretty good job of defending. I can’t fault our guys for coming on the road and being in position to win a game.
On free throws: “I love these kids. They’re playing their hearts out. Cadarian Raines is playing as hard as humanly possible and I know how badly he wanted to make those free throws. He missed. You have to feel for him. You know how important it was to him and he had his opportunity, he just couldn’t capitalize on it. We had each guy make 100 free throws yesterday before we left to get on the bus, but it’s different when you’re in a pressure situation.”
On end of the game: “We got what we wanted when Jarell Eddie missed a three. Cadarian Raines got a look inside and then the last shot of the game is what we wanted too. We got exactly what we wanted, we just couldn’t finish.”
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