Men's Basketball

Georgetown vs. Syracuse Post-Game Quotes

Dec. 5, 2015

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Georgetown 79, Syracuse 72
Saturday, December 5, 2015
Washington, D.C. ââ'¬" Verizon Center

Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III
On Georgetown"s defense...
For stretches it was very good. I think from the beginning we had the energy necessary, we had the communication necessary, I think we were anticipating what was going to happen. I thought it was very good for long stretches today.

On Georgetown getting too perimeter oriented at times...
I"ve said this before, the way they play that zone ââ'¬" it"s easy to say they play a 2-3 ââ'¬" I"m thinking the latter part, B.J. gets going and they changed it, so it was harder to get it in. But more importantly than their half-court defense, our offense against the press just got too casual. I think everyone was anticipating them fouling and they weren"t fouling, so we just got too casual how we handled the ball, which we have to address.

On Georgetown"s offense during their first half run to take the lead...
They"re hard to score against, they"re a veteran team, but I think we did a good job getting the ball where we wanted it, most of the time, getting into the teeth of that zone and the person in there then having to make a decision while you are under duress. It wasn"t perfect, but I thought the guys did a good job of getting it in there. We had the success getting it in, then I think everyone that received the ball was trying to make that penetrating pass and we got stagnant...Overall, I thought offensively we were pretty good.

On Georgetown"s 3-pt. defense against Syracuse...
I think our guys were very attentive. They paid attention in scout. We knew how and where they were going to try and get their shots, we had a few mix ups, in particular (Franklin) Howard gets in there and then throws a couple out where we knew he was going to do that, but I think we did a good job. A lot of it was effort and energy. It"s one thing to sit here and say "stop the 3-pointers," but it"s another thing where they"re running and moving and you"re worried about helping your teammate and clogging up the middle and then getting out and I just think that our guys did a good job of doing both. Protecting the middle and playing good help defense, but knowing who you were guarding. That was one of (D"Vauntes) better defensive efforts in a couple of years, I thought he was very good on defense.

On if it was odd playing Syracuse without Jim Boeheim...
Nope. Syracuse was still on the chest. It did not feel odd at all.

On getting Syracuse into foul trouble...
We stayed in attack mode. We wanted to be aggressive, very, very aggressive, without being selfish. I thought our guys did that. We wanted to keep coming at them. You saw it in long stretches, all of a sudden you"re backing up to half-court and you"re just passing it around and passing it around and nothing is there, but you just have to stay aggressive.

On Franklin Howard providing energy for Syracuse in the second half...
He did, there is no doubt that Frank did that. I don"t remember exactly, but I feel like that"s the most he"s played in a while and I thought he was effective.

On Bradley Hayes being among the most improved players in the country...
Bradley was outstanding today. He was a presence at the defensive end as well, we need him to be more of a presence at the defensive end, but he finished and he made the right decisions. He threw it out when he should throw it out, he got going a little bit and I think our guys did a good job of finding him down there. That is what we now expect and need from him. I don"t think they were expecting that, he was a presence and they had to deal with that. He will have a lot more moments like today, before the season is over.

On any pre-game words for Syracuse coach Mike Hopkins...
I don"t think I have to. I meant to look this up last night or this morning, but Mike has been sitting on that bench for over half his life and so it"s not like he"s going to try to reinvent the wheel. He"s going to do what he understands and what he knows how to do and what he"s learned. Inevitably you guys are going to start comparing him to Jim, that comes with the territory. He"s prepared, he knows what to do. A lot of what they do he"s had input and thoughts as the time has gone on. It"s not going to be, I don"t think, a huge transition for him. I think that slide over is going to be pretty seamless.

More on Bradley Hayes...
For the last three years, B.J. has worked extremely hard. It"s not like he just started working this summer. He just now has a coach who is now putting him in the game. But he"s worked extremely hard, but more he"s been a great teammate. Not just a good teammate, a great teammate, that has only cared about Georgetown basketball and us winning games. He, along with D"Vauntes this year, has done a good job of bringing the young guys along and helping them understand what Georgetown basketball is all about...He cares about this program and when people care as much about the program as he does, you want them to have success.

On playing "arguably" the toughest schedule in the country and how it prepares you for GU...
Is it arguably? You shouldn"t get much argument. I think and you hope as a coach that those experiences prepare you as we go forward...We"ve had a lot of discussions the last few weeks about the key point in the game, whether you want to go back and look at the Radford game, the Maryland game, the Duke game, it"s not necessarily the last minute of the game. It"s, "okay, right now they"ve hit two baskets in a row, we need to get a stop right now. We have to get a rebound right now, we have to get a good possession right now." I think just in talking through that, today there was a heightened sense of this is an important point in the game and there is seven minutes left in the game, nine minutes left in the game...That focus was there today - it"s easy to say this, I"m going to discount the end with the press ââ'¬"but middle of the second half when they could"ve gained energy we did a good job of making sure they didn"t.

On D"Vauntes Smith-Rivera"s comment on wanting to get a win against Syracuse...
He"s a senior at Georgetown playing against Syracuse. If he"s not fired up to play in this game, then we"ve made a whole lot of mistakes these last four years. Simple as that.

Senior center Bradley Hayes
On his improvement between the last time GU played Syracuse and today...

It"s been constant work. Unfortunately I didn"t get to play much against Syracuse the last time and there was a lot of built up aggression toward that, so to be able to come out and play and show how hard I"ve worked up to this moment, it just felt good.

On beating Syracuse...
It"s a big time win, not just for me, but for the team and the coaches. We all understand how much history Georgetown and Syracuse have and I"m really proud of the freshmen. They stepped up in a big way. To take that history on their back and to come out and play the way they did, I"m really proud of them for that.

On being able to take advantage of his teammates finding him...
I give all the credit to my teammates. They found me when I was open and I did the easy part, they did the hard part getting me the ball and I just scored.

Senior guard D"Vauntes Smith-Rivera
On the importance of beating Syracuse...

Well the last time we played Syracuse we lost up in The Garden, so I wanted to come out with a win and this was my last chance to play them.

On this win being more special than other victories...
It"s definitely special. It still is a big rivalry game. Me and Bradley both came in here knowing it would be our last time playing and wanted to capitalize on it. I"m glad that he played the way that he did, because we got it done.

On matching up with Trevor Cooney...
I just wanted to take up his space and not let him get too many open looks. He got a couple and made them, but just crowd his space and make him take tough shots.

On Georgetown struggling against Syracuse"s pressure...
They were moving fast. They were covering a lot of ground, I felt like as soon as I caught the ball, everyone was just all over the place.

Syracuse Head Coach Designate Mike Hopkins
Opening statement...

"We came out there and Georgetown was really aggressive defensively. They did a great job defending our ball screens and forced us a little out of character of how we have been playing. We took a couple tough shots and shooting 30 percent from the field goal and 15 percent from the 3 in the first half just isn"t going to cut it. We also got out rebounded by nine so the first half just wasn"t good. I give Georgetown a lot of credit. They played great defense. I thought they were really active. They played tough and aggressive. I thought in the second half, we just got down by too much, too many points. But I was very proud of our guys because they kept fighting. We figured out a lineup that we were comfortable with, something that was working and we stuck with it and we were able to capitalize but we just dug ourselves too big of a hole. Georgetown is a good basketball team and it was a tough game."

Balancing a short bench and trying to increase the Syracuse presence in the second half...
"Well I think it was desperation. We were trying to get extra possessions with our smaller lineup. When we got stuck on the half court, [Bradley] Hayes was unbelievable just pounding us so we thought that we could speed him up and try to turn him over which we did and their also a good foul shooting team. But it worked, we were able to cut it close, we just couldn"t get that one more stop or make that one more shot. Our kids, I thought really worked and fought back."

On the preparing for the game personally...
"I have been preparing myself to be a head coach for 20 years and that is always what I wanted to be. I always visualize myself doing it. So I was excited, I was really excited and to go out there first game ever versus one of the greatest rivalries in college basketball and been a part of so many games was kind of surreal, but obviously disappointed that we lost."

On not having Head Coach Boeheim there...
"I don"t know if you saw, we had his seat empty next to us. He"s always with us at the end of the day. He built us, built the program. I wanted this one for him tonight."

On Franklin Howard possibly replacing Kaleb Joseph...
"No this was a game where Georgetown was playing very aggressive on ball screens and Fran [Howard] is our best penetrator on the ball. What he did was he got his opportunity and he went out there and he performed. He was able to get in the lane, forced Georgetown claps and give some of our shooters some shots. I thought he was very aggressive. Kaleb Joseph came in the game. Every game is going to be different for those guys. Caleb has the ability to make open shots. He sparked us the other night against Wisconsin. Frank I thought gave us a spark tonight. He showed a lot. Syracuse basketball, obviously we try to win every game and after the game we go watch film. We focus on the process. What are we going to do? What are we going to do to get better? I thought defensively in the first half, we made some poor assignment decisions for shooters, especially at the end of shock clocks. It is tough to play 30 seconds of defense or 28 seconds of defense and then they shoot a three and they get an offensive rebound. So those were things that we are going to back and watch on film. We"ll get better and I am excited for these next eight games. Our goal is to get better, to give coach B the North Carolina game, that"s what we do. Nothing is changing."

On his coaching...
"I felt very comfortable but there was something at the beginning of the game. I felt like I was playing. That was pretty surreal. There are going to be a lot great learning lessons but we"re going to get better. The team is going to get better and the coaching staff is going to get better and hopefully we will be playing in March."

On not having contact with Head Coach Jim Boeheim...
"Imagine someone came and said that you can"t talk to your father for a month and he lives down the street. That"s tough but we"ll get through it. We"ve been through a lot. But I can tell you one thing, coach B is one of the greatest people when dealing adversity and as a coach in coaching my first game, its not the ideal situation but it is what it is. I would love to be able to call him and ask him what he thought as a mentor. Now my brother is going to call me and say "What the hell are you going. This guy did this and you didn"t have that lineup in."

On DaJuan Coleman...
"DaJuan you know gave us, I don"t know if you guys remember when he was a freshman, we played Villanova and he had a really good game. There was this shot with so much emotion. He has so much energy and it"s infectious to the team. We saw it in the Wisconsin game. Tonight they were hurting us on the glass and I had to put him Just to give different looks but he did a great job. He is physical. He finished around the basket today. He was aggressive, made his foul shots. I thought he looked great and I think defensively against the physical teams we are going to need him. And we didn"t play? In the last couple of games but when they have big guys like [Bradley] Hayes and [Jessie] Govan. You play these teams that are really big in our league our front line is going to have to change. When you have [Tyler] Lydon at the five that"s a difference scenario. It"s a more offensive."

On Bradley Hayes...
"He"s got to be one of the most improved players in the country. He"s big. He"s got a touch around the basket and he just put our guys underneath the rim. I thought we made an adjustment at the end of the first half where we tried to play higher but it didn"t work so well in terms in he kept getting in that position. He"s physical, he"s good. He had a great game tonight. He killed us."

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