Hewitt: "Best Guys Are Going To Play"

Going into the Friday afternoon contest with Mercer the Jackets knew they would be in for a tough contest after having Mercer take them to overtime last season. Despite an outstanding forty point performance by Mercer's James Florence, Georgia Tech moved their record to 4-1 with an 85-74 win over Mercer.

Coach Paul Hewitt gives his post game comments on the performance of the team and comments on James Florence's outstanding night against them. Florence's performance was the most points given up by a Tech team since Tyler Hansbrough lit them up for forty in 2006.

Coach Hewitt Opening Statement

"I thought we played well in some stretches. James Florence obviously is outstanding. He kept attacking the paint on us and we didn't do a good job of keeping him out of the lane. We got to a ten point lead in the first half and committed two or three really bad fouls that kept them in the game. We were scoring pretty efficiently. Those two or three fouls made it a five point game at the half. They hung around because he's a great player. He's been a great player for a long time for them."

Is that one of the better guard performances you've seen since you've been here?

"Yeah, he was great. We knew he was capable of doing that. You go back in his history and you see that one year they went out to USC and beat O.J. Mayo when he was there and he was a freshman. That team went to the NCAA's that year. This is no big deal for him to come in here and play at this level against this type of competition."

You didn't have Udofia on him at all?

"No I thought we were better off with D'Andre (Bell) and obviously that was wrong."

Derrick (Favors) had six shots and most were put backs. I know you wanted him to get the ball more?

"We make an emphasis on that every day. There were times early in the half when he caught it and they fouled him and we weren't in the bonus. He was 6-7 from the foul line but yeah we have to get the ball inside to him more. At halftime he was 4-4 and Gani (Lawal) was 5-6 and that was one of the things we addressed at halftime. They have no answer for those guys. Throw it in there."

You gave up nineteen offensive rebounds.

"It's disappointing. We looked at the stats we keep on the bench and they got three three's off of second shots. At one point we executed our pick and roll defense to a T and we knock the ball out of the guy's hands and Florence runs through three guys gets it and scores a layup. There were probably eleven points that were given up because they outhustled us to loose balls. That was the difference in making it close at the half."

Can you talk about Mfon's performance in the second half?

"I was interested to see how he responded because he didn't play well in the first half and early in the second half. He was throwing the ball all over the place and didn't seem to have any rhythm. He showed some mental toughness by hanging in there and coming out with sixteen points and I thought made some game changing plays down the stretch to help us get the win."

Are you starting to get a sense of the rotation you want to use?

We've said that the best guys are going to play. With this team, other than Derrick, Gani, Iman, Zach, Mfon and D'Andre, it's going to be open after that. The guys have to perform. Brian Oliver got a chance in Puerto Rico and stepped up and made two big three's in the second half against Dayton. He's kinda stayed in there since and he gave us three three's and eleven points in nine minutes. That's pretty good production. Just because a guy's not playing now doesn't mean he can't resurface later in the season."

Iman seems to be struggling a little bit. Can you comment on that?

"I don't know if his leg's bothering him. He's had that little issue with the pulled hamstring behind the knee. I don't know if that is what it is. He had seven assists and one turnover today and had eight assists and one turnover against Boston University. He's playing a good floor game. He's just not shooting the ball well. Against BU he didn't shoot well but he had an excellent floor game."

You were 6-18 from three point range. Is that the number of three point shots you're looking for in a game?

"I've been saying all along as our passing improves that our shooting will improve. If there was one area that I thought we improved on today was our passing. Obviously we can do a better job with that. Gani had no assists and three turnovers so that's something he has to work on. We'll take what the defense gives us. I'd like to see us get the ball inside more to Derrick and Gani. You should be in a situation where you take what the defense gives you. If there going to give us those three's after we make an effort to get the ball inside, then go ahead. If there's a kick out three then we should go ahead and shoot it. The quality of passing has to continue to improve and you'll see the quality of our shooting improve as well."


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