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Hoops Post-Game: Quotes from Florida State’s win versus Wake Forest

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FSU improves to 11-3 on the season after exciting 92-85 overtime victory

CREDIT: Mike Olivella, Atlantic Coast Conference

Florida State returned to the court Saturday and took down Wake Forest 92-85 in overtime. Junior guard RaiQuan Gray established new career highs in points and rebounds with 24 and 12, also adding 4 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal.

Trailing by 2 points with 5.4 seconds to play, freshman guard Scottie Barnes drove the length of the court for a reverse layup to force overtime. He finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

After the game, FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton, Gray, and Barnes joined the media for post-game comments.

Leonard Hamilton’s comments:

Opening statement plus Balsa Koprivica’s injury: “Balsa didn’t play because he turned his ankle this morning in shootaround. Just one of those freak things where he stepped the wrong way, non-contact. Sometimes when that happens this late into the game…It really tested the strength of our bench and our rotation. We had to be creative and make some adjustments that we haven’t had to make. It was an excellent game for us. Wake Forest they were extremely patient, and moved the ball, got some back-door cuts on us and challenged all of our defensive principles. We got a little separation there early in the second half, I think we put it up 14. Then they just went crazy knocking down threes. They have had several games, I think one game they hit 15 threes, they have had several guys who have gone for 7 or 8 threes in a game. We knew they would be a real good shooting team, and they didn’t disappoint us from that standpoint. But I was very proud of our guys, we got the stops that we needed, we got the deflections and steals. Came up with some big plays, hit our free throws down the stretch. That was good for us, and hopefully our guys will utilize the intensity of this game and that’ll help us prepare for the game on Monday night.”

On Barnes’ game-tying shot to force overtime: “Sometimes, some coaches like to call timeout and give the other defensive team a chance to set their defense. We just felt that we wanted to go on the push, and if someone didn’t stop us, we we’re going for the layup. And if we did get stopped we wanted to kick it for three. You don’t have a whole lot of time to make decisions when you only got around 5 seconds to go on the clock. Scottie was very quick and fast with the ball, finishing with those long arms. We were very fortunate to finish that play and put us into overtime.”

On Gray’s performance: “He was battling inside and getting some tough rebounds. Especially when you don’t have Balsa and you have your other two 7-footers on the bench in foul trouble. He was our big guy. So, he stepped up tonight, gave us major contributions with 12 rebounds and 24 points. Hit his free throws 10/10 from the free throw line. Him and M.J. are probably two of our more experienced players, and we needed their exceptional leadership to win this afternoon.”

On having a lot of veterans in the lineup: “In a game of this nature, we had to go with our most experienced players. When you are down three players, one is injured and the other two are in foul trouble, and you play against a team- really this is typical with what Wake Forest has been doing all year. When you go back and look at the defeats that they have had they have always been right in every game. We knew it would be tough obviously. We were a little disappointed we weren’t able to maintain our lead in the second half. Hopefully we can grow and learn from the mistakes we have made. But the maturity of those guys who have been around for a while, obviously was huge today.”

On 11th straight overtime win: “I think that we have an unbelievable coaching staff in terms of assistant coaches. Coach Jones has been with me close to 25 years. Coach Bradley has been with me for over 20. C.Y., recruited out of high school. Steve is very, very experienced. We spend a lot of time working on situations. I think our guys have a level of confidence they don’t seem to panic when we get caught in those situations. We go over a lot of these situations starting from day 1 in practice. We have been fortunate enough to maintain our poise, hit our free throws, and make good decisions down the stretch in these situations.”

On the Virginia preparations on one day’s rest: “It won’t be very physical, it will be more mental. We will walk through our game plans. Virginia is probably one of the best teams in America in terms of executing offensively and defensively. We have got to be aware of what they are doing. We won’t have the luxury of going out there and drilling it. A lot of it is going to have to be mental. Looking at it, walking through it, and trying to retain our game plan. They are exceptional offensively. They don’t do that much, but what they do they do it over and over. They say, ‘we are going to do what we do, if you stop it you can win, if you make a mistake we are going to score.’ Defensively, they aren’t changing, they are going to be consistent with what they do. You have to execute against their style of defense. They are going to trap you when the ball comes to the post. They are going to play the pack line. They are not going to come out of their positioning very well, so you have to hit shots, execute, and on the defensive end, you have to be on your horse all the time.”

On Virginia: “They have changed up a little bit. Even though we have faced them before, I think it helps that we have a tremendous amount of respect for them. They are doing some things differently. They are emphasizing things differently. They are a lot more aggressive. They are averaging more points. They have increased their pace a a lot. They don’t hold the game, their pace is quicker than it has normally been. They are a different type of offensive team. They got weapons at all five spots. They have quality of depth. They are playing more people. We are going to enjoy this victory a little bit. We know that Virginia is going to be a challenging opponent for us but that is life in the ACC.”

On Anthony Polite, who returned today: “There is no doubt that his experience, he is probably our best on-ball defender. He is extremely confident in his jump-shooting ability. He makes good decisions. He is a strong physical presence on the court. Great teammate, great in the huddle. Knowledgeable about our systems. He is always on point with our game plan. Has a high basketball IQ. He is a pure Seminole through his heart. I have enjoyed coaching him. We are a lot better when he is healthy.”

RaiQuan Gray’s comments:

On Barnes’ clutch shot at the end of regulation: “He is a great finisher; he can get to the basket pretty much anytime he wants. We can trust him. He made a shot like that earlier in the year. We had faith that he would come through. We just gave him the ball and he attacked and did what he did, he was going to make the right play, either lay the ball in or kick it.”

On Barnes’ confidence: “I have been knowing Scottie for a while, he lives for moments like this. I was yelling at the free throw line at him telling him he is built for moments like this. Obviously in the Indiana game this year he came up clutch for us. He wants the ball in those situations, he thrives in those situations. He is a confident guy in his game. We trust in him. He is built for moments like that.”

On playing his best late in games: “I just credit my coaching staff. Coming in they redshirted me, I had to improve my conditioning. They have been doing a great job with me step by step each year and holding me accountable. That is the main thing is holding me accountable. I am just willing to put the work in every day. Just try to stay consistent in my workout. That is really paying off for me this year.”

On his game: “I think I am a lot quicker, just more confident overall. I am a lot more comfortable. I am playing, I think, good basketball right now. We are also winning games, so I think I am in a good spot right now and we are also in a good spot.”

On the big game versus Virginia: “It is just another game. It is not the last game of the season, so it is just another game. That is kind of for y’all to write about and hype it up. We just treat it as another game. It is going to be a battle. They’re a great team, we’re a great team.”

More on Virginia: “They have a lot of great players. They’re first five is connected and they move the ball well. They defend, they’ve been a great defensive team since I have known college basketball. They’re going to be ready to come in and fight for the full 40 minutes. That is the mentality we have to have.”

On defense after a two-week layoff: “When you are not out on the court competing for two weeks that takes away from anybody’s rhythm, offensively and defensively. I think that we made a few mistakes that we are going to watch on film and correct. I think it was a little slippage from not playing for 2 weeks, but I am confident in our guys in the locker room. We have high character guys and we are willing to listen to the coaches. We are going to bounce back.”

On 11th straight overtime win: “Like is said, our coaches do a great job of preparing us for that. We practice that a lot starting in the preseason, summertime all the way up until now. They do a great job of preparing us for every situation almost. We are confident in our coaches and we just go out and execute whatever they drop in the huddle and whatever game plan they have.”

Scottie Barnes’ comments:

On his clutch shot: “Our coaches already told us that we should do a quick drag. I just trusted what he said. We did a quick drag, got the big to switch, and I was able to turn that corner on the big. I scored at the end of regulation to send it to overtime.”

On the strong defense late in the game: “They got us on a couple things. Their offense does a lot of screen and clip things, so they got us on a couple of those. Once we made adjustments and we fixed things into the media timeout, we just were able to get stops. It helped us extend our lead. We weren’t focused on the game plan. Once we focused on our game plan and locked in, it helped us out a lot.”

On the two-week layoff: “I wouldn’t say its so hard, but definitely being on the court more consistently, running up and down and getting your wind, it definitely helps. We haven’t been on the court that much, but things happen. We just have to fight through it. We are going to get back on track.”

On RaiQuan Gray’s strong performance season: “The tear that he has been on, I don’t know how many points he has scored the past few games, rebounds, his defensive effort. He has been everywhere on the defensive end, getting blocks, steals, being in the passing lanes. Its just unbelievable, watching him do these types of things. He is a prime example of what it is like to be Seminole.”

On having veteran teammates around him: “Having that veteran leadership out on the court always helps me. They are telling me a couple plays that they think will work. They know how to run the offense since they have been here so long. It just helps me out, they inspire me to talk on defense. They do a lot of things, little things that just help me out on the court, be more confident, get in the right spots. Just try to make me better as a player.”