Credit David Goldman, AP
Head Coach Mark Fox
“Well that was certainly a hard fought basketball game. We beat a real solid Georgia Tech team and I thought their kids played really hard, I thought our kids played extremely hard and we feel like we’re leaving here with a good win.”
On Dustin Ware
“Dustin Ware, I told my staff last night, he’s going to shot the ball well. He shot well at practice last night and I really felt like he was going to shoot it well. Give credit to Gerald Robinson who made a great pass, he found the open man and Dustin was ready to stick it in the basket. That’s certainly a big basket for our program.”
On playing in close games
“You can practice special situations every day, but there’s not the consequence of losing. The fact that we’ve been in a lot of close games, that’s good experience for us. It certainly paid it’s dividends tonight, because late in the game we didn’t panic…I think we played like a mature group.”
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get over to any players so you’ll just have to get those somewhere else.
Once again, it wasn’t pretty, but you’ll take it. As my friend and co-host Josh Kinsey texted me, “A win is a win! Suck it RPI!” Indeed, suck it RPI.
But really though, I know a lot of fans will take this win with a grain of salt considering how poorly Georgia Tech had been playing coming into this game, but I think you should take this win with some perspective:
-Tech is a little better than they seem. Sure they lost to Kennesaw State and got blasted by Northwestern, but they also played a close game to Syracuse, then #9 in the country. Wins and losses aside, Tech is a talented basketball team, what they lack is direction and that is why Paul Hewitt is on the hot seat every year.
-Georgia is a little worse than they seem. But they’re getting better. Georgia began this season with the Pre-Season SEC Player of the Year (Thompkins) and a First Team Pre-Season SEC (Leslie). Then Thompkins got hurt. Then Leslie had to pick up the load offensively where he usually fed off of Thompkins. He assumed the role. Then Thompkins came back. Then, and now, Leslie is struggling to find his spot. Against UAB, that wasn’t a problem because Price was able to bail him out, tonight it was Ware. Fox admits though, Thompkins does not look “in rhythm” and Leslie is struggling a bit (he had 4 points and four fouls). Admittedly, that’s not what you want to see out of a team like this, but compared to last Friday this team already looks better. As opposed to a second half regression, Georgia shot 48.4% from the field and 63.6% from three, compared to 40% and 45.5%, respectively. They came in focused in the second half and eventually won the game. Really, you can’t ask for much else. If you think I’m being nice, read the next bullet.
-The Bulldogs shot 7-15 (46.7%) from the free-throw line. That. Is. Pathetic. For any team that wants to smell March, much less the SEC title, there are two things you must do well: hit threes and hit free-throws. After going 0-4 in the first and 7-11 in the second, I’ll admit, that’s progress. But what’s more important is when they missed them. Thompkins missed a one-and-one with less than a couple minutes remaining. Robinson missed both with 4.5 seconds remaining and the score at 73-72. Luckily Tech’s inbounds play was foiled by Travis Leslie, but still. Good teams, not even “great” teams make their free throws. At least when they count. Period.
-The zone defense, while better played in the second half, is still giving these guys problems. Without a consistent outside threat, Georgia can expect to see the 2-3 for the rest of the season. Tech guard Brian Oliver admitted they knew Georgia wasn’t a great shooting team so they forced their hand. And while the three party was great in the second, that kind of heat won’t be there every night.
All that aside, though. A great win for Georgia who hadn’t won in Tech in 10 years. This team is resilient, I’ll give them that, and they certainly entertain us, don’t they? Hopefully these next couple games against Arkansas State, High Point, etc. will be a bit more entertaining, but for all the right reasons.
Oh yeah player of the game, of course, is Dustin Ware.
7-9 FG, 7-9 3PT, 6 assists, 21 points, and that nasty three at the end. There were a lot of NBA Scouts watching and I’m sure Ware had them all talking.