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March 19, 2021

Josh Pastner

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Hinkle Fieldhouse

Postgame Media Conference

Loyola 71, Georgia Tech 60

JOSH PASTNER: Couple things. Let me give great credit to coach Porter Moser and Loyola of Chicago. What a great basketball team. Extremely well-coached. Have really good players. Coach Moser is one of the best coaches in the country. They deserve so much credit. That's a great basketball team we played.

The way Coach Moser has it running, they're going to be building a statue of him at Loyola of Chicago. If they haven't already, I imagine it's going to be in the works sooner or later.

Secondly, with our guys, our team, Georgia Tech, I'm so proud of our young men. We've had an incredible year, have accomplished things in the last two years in ACC play that's never been accomplished at Georgia Tech, things that hadn't been done in 30 years, 20 years, the last two years in the ACC of what we've done. I'm just so proud of our young men.

It was tough not playing with Moses, right? Not easy to lose your ACC Player of the Year. I feel so bad for that young man. Think about it, he's worked so hard, a chance of a lifetime to play in the NCAA tournament, and unfortunately he's not able to play. I feel sick for him. I just feel sick for him. That's obviously a big loss when you're not having the ACC Player of the Year that you've depended on and counted on.

But that being said, you still had to go out and play the game. That's just part of it. In the world that we're in right now with COVID-19, the virus, it's kind of day by day. When you get to the floor, we're just so thankful that we've had a tournament. I want to give so much credit to the men and women, both the men's side and the women's side, all the coaches, the administrators, the NCAA, we're so thankful to the NCAA to have this tournament, thankful for the city of Indianapolis hosting this tournament.

The alternative is not to have a tournament. We're just so thankful that we're able to do this. Turner and CBS televise it all. We're just so thankful. We're thankful to be part of it.

Losing stinks. End of the year stinks. We have a lot to keep our head high. Got to give Loyola of Chicago a lot of credit.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.

Q. Not to dwell on the negative on a day when you shoot almost 60%, but as much as you agonized over COVID, is this like your worst nightmare come true when your best player gets to Indianapolis and has to go into isolation?

JOSH PASTNER: First of all, this year, every single test, we're testing three times a week prior to the ACC tournament, you understand how every single test, the pressure I felt? Every single test.

Number one is I didn't want to get a positive because I don't want COVID. I don't want to give it to my family and I didn't want to give it to the players. I never wanted to not coach. If you had a positive, I mean, you could be out for two weeks. I didn't want the players or the staff to test positive. I didn't want them to get COVID. I don't want them to pass it to their families, to be out for two weeks.

We have tried to do everything in our power to be so careful this year in everything that we can. The pressure that I felt almost every single day since November, I can't describe the words, the pressure I felt every single time we took a test because you just don't know. A positive could knock you out.

Look, I've said this many times, you know how precious this job is to be at Georgia Tech, to be able to coach in the ACC, to coach against these teams, for these young men to play in the ACC or in the NCAA? Every test dictates if you're going to have that opportunity.

It's nothing that anyone does. They didn't do anything wrong. If you have a positive, it would knock you out. Then you have to contact trace.

The swing of emotions from winning the championship on Saturday to the swing of emotions of finding out the test results, then the swing of emotions from every single test making sure that we can even get to this game. I can't even express the pressure and the swing of high to low. It was overwhelming at times because you don't...

You know how sick I felt for Moses Wright, for him not to be able to play today? Obviously thank God everything is okay. It's just he loses that opportunity. That's how fine of a line it is because of COVID.

That all being said, our medical team, Dr. Galante, Richard Stewart deserves so much credit. I also want to give a tremendous shout out to everybody involved. The men, the women, all across the country, the administrators, the NCAA, the medical team, to have a tournament both for the men and women, thank God for all of you.

This gives the young people a chance to look forward to something, they have something to play for. I'm just so thankful that we got to be part of it.

But there's just no denying it's literally one day at a time and almost one breath at a time waiting literally for every result every time you tested.

Q. How much did Moses' absence result particularly in the rebounding advantage they had?

JOSH PASTNER: I mean, listen, Loyola of Chicago deserves all credit to win the game. They beat us. They beat us and we didn't have Moses today.

But the ACC is the premier league in the country, the premier. He's the ACC Player of the Year. He led us in rebounds, points and field goal percentage. He's one of the very best players in America. Then you don't find out whether you're going to have him or not till some point in this week. It's a humongous loss, there's no denying it. It's just a huge loss.

You got to give Loyola of Chicago credit, Coach Moser and them full credit, because they beat us. Obviously not having Moses at this point of the season when you don't have time to really make any adjustments to figure out your guy that you run your entire offense through is not going to be with you.

I felt we were small in a lot of areas at times. They hit some big threes. Obviously in the end, those rebounds really hurt us. Not having Moses, not having Moses just...

Obviously we scored 42 points in the paint, but he's the ACC Player of the Year. He's one of the best players in America. It's hard to play without him. But I feel sick for the kid because he didn't get to experience this. That's what I'm most devastated about. But thank God he's healthy right now. That's most important.

I always like to say, if you have your health, you're a true billionaire. If you have your health, you're a billionaire. You can't put a price tag of money or anything on your health. Thank God that Moses is healthy. He'll overcome this. That's all that's most important right now, that he's healthy.

Q. Curious about the two fouls on Jordan in the first half, that seemed to really change kind of the game. Also you only shot 10 threes, weren't trying for threes late in the game. What was the thought process? Trying to get downhill?

JOSH PASTNER: We had 42 points in the paint. We didn't live and die by the three. You have to give Loyola of Chicago credit, they're a good defensive team, numbers-wise they're best in the country based on efficiency.

What I was a little more surprised, I would have liked to see us get to the free-throw line more. We only got five free-throws. Part of our game plan was to keep driving. When you're driving that much, you feel you're going to maybe have an opportunity to get to the free-throw line.

Loyola of Chicago defended well, got to give them credit. I mean, we shot 60% from the field, and we didn't live and die by the three. The difference is the offensive rebounds, they had 13, and we were 11 for 27.

I thought we were small sometimes defensively in our changing of defenses that allowed them to get open opportunities. Not having Moses there, we had to play smaller at times.

You have to give Loyola of Chicago credit. They were really good. They're a good defensive team. We were trying to drive the ball. We were talking our game plan. Keep attacking the paint. We didn't feel they had a shot blocker. But they do a great job of moving their feet. They're physical. They play with physicality. Loyola of Chicago and Coach Moser deserve a lot of credit.

Q. You have documented all season about grit, hustle and everything in between of this team. I know you don't go into a game thinking there are a lot of guys that may have just played their last game in a Georgia Tech uniform. When you think of these guys, sum it up if you can in words?

JOSH PASTNER: I'm just so proud of these guys. I teared up, broke down in the locker room. I actually thanked each guy and everyone on staff, just thanked them for what they've done and how grateful I am and honored and privileged and blessed to have been able to coach this group, been around these guys, both players and staff. Just I love every single one of them. I can't express my gratitude enough for these young men.

Obviously the NCAA has allowed the seniors to come back. Will they come back? I don't know. As we get back home, kind of decompress, recenter and get refocused, we'll be able to have those conversations and decide what the guys want to do, then go from there.

But I'm forever grateful and so thankful for these young men.

Q. The three-point shooting, they seemed to get a lot of open looks moving you back and forth. What went into you not being able to challenge more of those?

JOSH PASTNER: I felt we over-helped a couple times. I didn't feel we did a good job guarding the ball, keeping it in front of us in the zone. We were small in some areas, which we're better off when we have bigger wings in the zone. Because of not having Moses we really had to size down.

They hit big shots. They were living for 27. We did a good job on 25, he's a really good player, I don't want to mispronounce his name. Krutwig. They did a great job with making threes in key times off of free throw box-outs, some different things. They hit big shots.

Us sizing down I think was an issue. But got to give them credit. They hit big threes.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

JOSH PASTNER: Thank you, everybody. For the Atlanta media that covered us all year, forever grateful. Thank you so much, everybody. Appreciate everything that everyone that has followed us. I appreciate Dan Gavitt, Dr. Emmert, but Dan Gavitt is head of the men's basketball for making sure this tournament happened. Thank you to Indianapolis. So appreciative to be a part of it. I know it wasn't easy. A lot of work involved. Thank you, Dan Gavitt, for having this.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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