Josh Pastner Discusses Why Georgia Tech Struggled So Much Against Syracuse

Matthew McGavic

Opening statement:

“First off, I’ve got to give Syracuse a lot of credit. They were the aggressor this afternoon and it showed up in all parts of the box score – free-throw line, fast break points, second chance points, that was kind of the deal. We needed, in a game like this – and Moses [Wright] had 17 [points] and nine [rebounds], and he had a good week this week, Moses Wright. But we needed Moses to have about 25 and 15, and we talked about that last night in film. Because until we get our full complement, guys are really going to play to take Michael Devoe out. And due to some lack of shooting on the perimeter, we’ve got to dominate the red zone. And we’ve done that for the most part in all of the games we’ve played, but today was the first game we did not dominate the red zone. We needed Moses and James [Banks III] to dominate the red zone and we didn’t get that done today. And again, they were the aggressor. We’ve got great young men, good kids, good guys, it was just kind of one of those games when Syracuse punched us and then just kept punching us. We needed our front court guys to dominate that red zone today and we just didn’t get it done. We’ll bounce back, we’ve got a big week next week with finals so we’ve got to make sure we do a great job there. And then we’ve got a great opportunity against Kentucky on Saturday and we’ll just keep getting better and keep improving and keep working at it.”

On why the offense struggled so much against the Syracuse zone:

“This might sound odd considering his size, [Jose Alvarado] is our best guy against a zone because of his feel against the zone and being able to get the ball to the middle, his screening. In zone, you can teach guys plays but a lot of times it’s a feel, and he’s the best at it. And that’s why we’ve had good success. He and [former Yellow Jacket] Josh Heath were very, very good against zone because of their feel, and if you look at last year and the year before that we’ve had good success, and partly it’s because of Josh Heath and Jose’s feel against the zone. We talked about that as a staff, not having him and where to put guys, and we had felt going in, they were going to try and eliminate Mike [Devoe], which they did a good job of. And we needed to really attack with Moses and James. And we felt if we could get the ball to Moses, and in a game like this we needed him to have 25 or 30 [points]. And that was our thing, we’ve got to get the ball to Moses at the high post and let him try to carry us. And he still had 17 and nine, but he wasn’t as effective. He missed a lot of free throws, he was 1-for-5. He missed a lot of short shots. He had opportunities to get to about the 30-point mark. But overall Moses had a solid week. And we need James, obviously. James didn’t start a couple games. He didn’t have as good a week as we needed him to. We need those two guys to get back because that’s a strength of ours that we’ve got to be able to dominate the red zone. And we throw it to those guys a lot, they’re getting the ball touched pretty much every time down, so we need those guys to really produce at a high level for us.”

On the hot shooting of Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim:

“I said it before to the Syracuse radio people, I said this is a scary game because they have not shot the ball well. But I know how good of a shooter Elijah Hughes is, and I know Buddy Boeheim, the type of shooter he is. I saw them both in high school, they’re high level shooters. I said they’re going to eventually break out of it and I hope it’s the next game. And they got hot. We told our guys, those two guys, you cannot give an inch. They were a house on fire, it was like standing on the pier shooting the ocean and they just were on fire. And it started the game and it just changed the whole dynamic. And they were the aggressor, they came out swinging, and that got them the lead and we didn’t have enough fire power to come back [from] that.”

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