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March 30, 2017

Josh Pastner

Quinton Stephens

Josh Okogie

New York, New York

TCU 88, Georgia Tech 56

Q. Guys, what are your emotions right now after the game?
QUINTON STEPHENS: I mean, we would never want our season to end this way but I don't think it takes anything away from what we did this year. TCU played a great game. I think that we played till the last buzzer.

But I mean, we stuck together. We stayed with the way we need to play. We all embraced as a team. We knew it was bigger than us and we knew bigger things were coming and this is only the beginning.

COACH PASTNER: First off, Lee, want to make sure, give a recognition to Lee from the ACC is here to represent us, appreciate you being here. Want to give just a great recognition to your young men, these student athletes. They have just been absolutely phenomenal.

From where we started to where we are now, these guys to my left and the guys in the locker room have been just unbelievable and I promise you, like if you've seen us in the beginning, and to be playing in this Final game, it's miraculous.

And I'm just, I'm so happy for these guys. Obviously this is not the ending we wanted. But I'm not going to allow it to steal the joy in the type of season we had and the amount of overachievement we've had.

These guys have just been crazy good, and these seniors have been phenomenal. They have left a lasting legacy. And these underclassmen, guys like Josh next to me here, can build and take on what these guys have left and now we've got to build as we continue to move forward.

So just ultra, ultra proud, honored and very grateful with sincere, genuine gratefulness to be able to coach these young men and be around them for this length of time.

Q. For Josh, and the entire podium, they started the game on that run, were you surprised they came out that hard?
COACH PASTNER: Well, they jumped on us early. We've been talking about our starts, and we've had great starts here in this run of the NIT. The last time we had a poor start was in the ACC Tournament versus Pittsburgh. They jumped on us, and since then, we had four great starts in. This game we just did not start well. We dug ourselves in a hole and we totally were trying to climb out of it the entire evening.

It just made it hard on us and we just could never really get over that hump or get it close enough. We would get it, maybe get it to eight or seven and we didn't come up with a big loose ball or an offensive rebound. They received and got -- we never could get close enough to put the pressure back on TCU.

Q. Coming into the season, finishing off here in the Final, how much of a steppingstone is this coming out of ACC play, getting that experience, having this experience for your team and a first year at the school and moving into next year?
COACH PASTNER: Well, it's phenomenal. Just absolutely outstanding. You know, for the seniors to have the continuation of play, we have 17 home wins which is a Georgia Tech single-season record. We have 21 wins this year. You know, and for a guy like Josh, here to my left, the experience that he gets in postseason play; you know, for what we're trying to do, I mean, he's got to be a team captain for us next year. Quinton was a team captain for us this year, so Josh has got to take those reigns and do the same, as well, too.

Will and Jeff, from the NCAA and NIT, I just want to thank you both for your hospitality through the whole trip and we appreciate it and we're very honored to be part of the tournament. To you both, thank you. The NIT people, everything was first class all the way through.

Q. Repeating an earlier question but to the players. I think it was 10-0 after like three, three and a half minutes. Before the game, did it feel normal? Did it feel like you guys were ready? And what was going on in the first few minutes of the game, because it seems like they ran over you.
QUINTON STEPHENS: Yeah, definitely. I think that we come out with the same mindset. They punched us first. We come out with that same mindset. We punched CSU Bakersfield first, and we saw the outcome of that. We put ourselves in a little bit of a hole, and we stayed positive. I mean, our huddles, we were always staying together.

Coach would let us know, they usually let us know, we've got to get our energy up, keep playing hard. I mean, we're playing for -- when the game got out of hand, we finished and we have to play with some pride and keep playing hard. I appreciate the guys that came in at the end of the game. They played hard. Got a couple loose balls. Finished some plays. We just had to keep playing hard.

COACH PASTNER: Losing, having a tough night really hurts us offensively. It makes it tough on us because we count on obviously to open some things up for driving angles, so he had missed a couple shots and that allowed them to maybe shrink the floor or spread out a little bit more, both in a way that -- crowded one way and just didn't have that many -- for us to penetrate, as well.

Obviously the start was really the difference in the game, the way they started. Both halves, both halves they had better starts.

Q. 54 points in the paint and 21 second chance, have you ever faced a team that presented that much of a problem?
COACH PASTNER: We have been really good defensively all year. We came in the game fifth in the country in defensive efficiency, and we came in the game, led the ACC in conference play in field goal percentage defense. We just didn't -- we just weren't real effective tonight.

They did a nice job on second shots. And that really hurt us, the second shot there hurt us in the paint there. We just weren't as effective. TCU deserves all the credit, but we were not good today on both sides of the floor, and both ends of the ball, and just one of those nights that we had and obviously when we're having that and the other team is playing really well, it's a bad combination.

Q. Quinton, Coach mentioned the second-chance points that TCU had, can you describe the energy that they were playing with? Seemed like they were really attacking the offensive glass.
QUINTON STEPHENS: Seems like they sent all five to the glass. They were real physical. I think they just -- they played hard and they came up with some loose balls. I think both teams played hard. But they found a way to get the balls.

Q. Josh, two questions. First, you went through the point in which you went down pretty hard. Looked like you might have hurt your ankle or something and went off the court. Did it affect you at all the rest of the game? And then also, at the offensive end, what were you seeing defensively from them, because it seemed like they were doing a really good job sort of clogging the middle and preventing you from driving.
JOSH OKOGIE: Yeah, I got to the lane and we got tied up and I fell kind of funny on my knee. Really didn't affect me. I was able to come back in and perform.

Driving in the lane, they made it hard for all of us to be honest, we couldn't penetrate inside. Clogged it up and they made it hard to kick the ball out and they forced a lot of turnovers.

Q. Josh, I know Ben got in foul trouble --
COACH PASTNER: Ben has done such a good job this year fouling and he had those couple early fouls. I don't think he was in as rhythm as he usually has been, and we just weren't in rhythm, and you know, we just -- like that, we were down 14-1 I think, and against some -- we missed a couple layups. We had some missed free throws. And then they would come down and store and just avalanched a little bit there. And then we fought back and they just -- there was some key times where we were making a run, and they got a second-chance basket or a second-chance and one or something like that, and it just -- you know, they were -- when that happened, it just kills the momentum that we were on.

17 turnovers is just too much for us, and they had 28 points off of our 17 turnovers; that, and the second-chance points. We had 16 offensive rebounds, 21 second-chance points and the points off of turnovers is the difference right there. In a high-level game, you can't do that.

And that's why we beat Bakersfield. We only had seven turnovers and through the NIT we've done such a great job of taking care of the basketball. Today we had too many turnovers and they gave up too many second chances.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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