Freshmen Help Jackets Succeed in P.R.

Two freshmen played an important role in Georgia Tech's 85-74 win over Mercer Friday afternoon. Point guard Mfon Udofia, after getting off to a slow start in the first half led the Jackets down the stretch. Brian Oliver helped Tech get off to an early lead hitting three from three point range. Both players gave us their post-game comments following the Tech win.

Mfon Udofia

You got your game going down the stretch when it was important. Can you comment on that a little bit?

"I came out and got two early fouls and sat out most of the first half. I just had to pick it up and get my teammates energized to have a great second half."

You looked to be establishing your three-point shot today?

"Yeah, early in the season I was missing from outside the three. I just got back in the gym and got more shots up. It was falling tonight."

They were trying to deny the ball down low to Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors. Did that open up some shots for you?

"The team we have with Gani and Derrick down low - one person can't check them. It opens it up for the wings and the point guards. Brian Oliver came in and hit a couple of three's."

At this point are you still a little hesitant to penetrate?

"Not really, I'm just trying to get the offense down. That's all it is. I'm not really hesitant."

I guess you're feeling more comfortable with each game you play?

"I'm playing them game by game. The Puerto Rico tipoff helped me a lot against top competition. I feel I'm getting better and better each game."

You guys had a tough matchup against James Florence?

"He just had a good game. We didn't play defense so he had a good game."

Are you still trying to get the ball inside more than in the past?

"Definitely, that's where our offense is going to come from. We have Gani and Derrick down low. They've got to get a touch."

The team shot well from the foul line. Is that something the team has been working on this season?

"Every day in practice we play a little competition game. I know it's helping me a lot. In the beginning of the season I know I struggled at the free throw line. Now I feel like I'm getting more confident and more relaxed up there."

Brian Oliver

Coach Paul Hewitt has been looking for better passing to set up the three's. It seemed like you got some good looks today?

"Coach said that out in transition if you've got one let it go. He said we have to move the ball around and make the defense work more so that our shooters can get wide open and get better looks. Getting the ball inside to Gani and Derrick, people tend to collapse on them and then they can kick out. It makes it easier for the shooter."

What was it like trying to keep up with Florence?

That kid is fast. He's very fast. I know for the little time that I guarded him I had to run around and try to deny him. I said man, he is running me everywhere. It was definitely face-paced trying to guard him."

With him running around like that were you surprised he shot such a high percentage?

Yeah, with most guys when you run around so much you don't have the legs to get that lift on your shot. He was having a great night."

The eighteen three-pointers you attempted tonight; is that in the neighborhood of where you should be?

"I think it is. It pretty much depends on the night. If we are passing well and everything is going well for us then we're going to get more three point shots."

They decided they were going to deny the ball to Derrick and Gani and that opened it up for you?

"Yeah it does open it up. I think a lot of teams aren't really sure if we can shoot the three. We've got shooters on the team. We can space the floor out and open things up for Gani and Derrick so that they have no choice but to play us straight up. They can't double down on Derrick or Gani."

I guess you have to have that shooters mentality even if you do miss one every now and then?

"Yeah, you always have to stay confident in your shot. You can't shy away from it because once you do they're not going to respect you."

Do you see yourself emerging as the guy that comes off the bench and is the go-to guy?

"Once my name is called, I know why coach brought me in to be a shooter. Once I go into the game whenever my name is called, I know that if I get an open look I have to knock it down. I have to come in and give the team a little spark." Top Stories