Virginia Tech Head Coach, Buzz Williams:
-- "They're a good team. We really struggled, obviously, in the first half, we probably set a school record for defensive FG%. I mean those are hard numbers to overcome." -- On FSU shooting 73% in the first half.
-- "We're gonna be size deficient and we can continue to address it as best we can. It's hard to get doubled up on the glass."
-- "Turned over 9% of the time tonight, which that gives us a chance...14 assists on 24 baskets is great. Need to make more than 16 free throws, because that's another way that you can counter what you're giving up on the offensive glass."
-- "I thought 22 [Xavier Rathan-Mayes] was as good a freshmen as we've seen all year. Not close. And I thought 1 [Devon Bookert] was really good. Those were the guys, and 24 [Robbie Berwick]."
-- "We're trailing when the official throws the ball up. We're trailing. You may not see it in the lights on the scoreboard, but we're behind. So, we've got to find ways as best we can to overcome the deficit."
-- "We're obviously trying to do different things to keep the ball out of the paint. I would say this: I think 22 plays a lot of minutes. I think 1 probably played a few more minutes than he typically does (Bookert, in fact, played all 40 minutes). I would say 24 probably played slightly more minutes than he typically does. Not saying that I'm trying to coach [Coach Ham's] team, but I would say that we were doing the best we could to overcome what was happening in the paint, and those three guys played on the perimeter longer maybe than they have all season long. I didn't watch all 14 games that they've played up until this point, I think I watched 10. But I know that in the 10 I watched I don't remember those guys playing 99 minutes out of 120 at the three perimeter spots."-- After being asked if FSU did anything different than he was expecting.
FSU Head Coach, Leonard Hamilton:
-- "Obviously you guys haven't seen us play a whole lot of zone, especially a team that's the best three-point shooting team in the ACC, but their style of ball, their quickness and their speed with a small lineup that they started, we felt that we had to make some adjustments. And, um, it didn't look like it was going to work for awhile. You look back and see that they shootin' 61% in the first half from three-point range--8 for 13. But I thought our guys adjusted to at least keep them to have enough periods in the game, we were able to get enough stops" -- On the move to the zone for much of this game.
-- "We kind of moved our guards around a little bit, took X off the ball a little and gave him a little more freedom to be aggressive. I think in many cases we have kind have put him in a difficult position, with Devon being hurt early in the year and asking [Xavier] to run a team while he's adjusting to college basketball. So we've tried to take a little pressure off him and give him a little more freedom and I thought he came through for us tonight."
-- "I've said all along that I thought Robbie Berwick would end up being a guy that could contribute. But freshman go through a period of adjustment and I think he's going through his. Tonight I thought he was very relaxed...he was very comfortable within our system offensively and defensively and I was glad to see him step up. I knew it was just a matter of time."
-- "For some youngsters who are just starting their career, to come into their second ACC game and make a difference like that...it gives us the impression that those guys will have bright futures. But the steadying force for us in the first half was Devon Bookert. He was able to get us in and out of our systems, I thought his defense was good, he gave us good leadership, and you like to see that from one of your veterans"
-- "I just thought that our shot selection was good. I thought we made the extra pass, we created opportunities for each other...they changed defenses on almost every other possession. They have a system where on misses they picked us up in man, and when they made baskets they were either in a 2-2-1 or 1-2-2. They mixed their defenses up...I thought our guys were put in a situation where we had to be all on the same page, we had to communicate very well in order for us to execute." -- On why the offense worked so well in the first half
-- "[Devon's] always been a consistent shooter, but he had a bad wheel. So, you know, he wasn't quite to his old self." -- On Devon Bookert showing improved play of late.
-- "It kind of freed his mind up a little bit so he didn't have to worry about creating for every body else. I had told him earlier in the week that I thought maybe I had put him in a very difficult position because of Devon not being 100%...he's always had the potential to be a point guard, but he's been more of a scorer. But we've given him the responsibility of running the team. I just thought that now as Devon is coming back and he's healthy that we could take a little pressure off of Mayes and give him a little bit more of an opportunity to play the way he's always played, while still allowing him to develop his leadership skills from the point guard position."
-- "There's no doubt that we did not play as well as we had hoped to play in Starksville. Very seldom do we play where another team has a lot more effort than us...for whatever reason, that happened. They outplayed us. Mentally, emotionally, and physically they were more invested into the game. And I think it was obvious when we watched the film."
-- "We're not experienced enough, or necessarily deep enough, or talented enough to where we can go out and not give our very best and be successful."
-- "This is a league where it doesn't seem to matter where you play, whether you're home or on the road, you playing whether they're 1 or 15, it's always a challenge. Most of the games are grinders...you got good coaching, you got great fan support. I've said all along, it's the top basketball league ever assembled in the history of college basketball in the United States."
-- "I'd like to get Dayshawn Watkins a little bit more involved because he's quick enough to defend real well...I think he's still...not quite sure of how he needs to play. We need him to make the same level of progress that X and Phil and Robbie have made."
-- "We're who we are. We are not at that stage of development where I feel that we can dictate what other people are doing. What we gotta do is just play to our strengths."
Great video from Kiel Turpin:
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Devon Bookert talks about the win:
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As noted by both coaches, FSU's freshman have really been making strides lately. Virginia Tech's defense is abysmal, but earlier in the year our guys weren't making shots even if they were left completely alone. There is something to be said for meeting expectations against a team you're better than--especially for developing teams.
Syracuse is a clear step up from VT (more like two clear steps) but they also are not the Syracuse of the last few seasons. If the perimeter shot making continues from guys not named Bookert, and if the freshman continue to translate their practice improvements over to the games, pulling the upset is at least more probable than the Lloyd Christmas land of chances.