March 9, 2007
2007 ACC BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
GAME 5: #9 Florida State v. #1 North Carolina
FLORIDA STATE Quotes
Our gameplan was to take care of the ball and try to block North Carolina from speeding us up. At the beginning of the game, for whatever reason, we seemed to have a lot of unforced turnovers that gave them too many easy opportunities. They're such a great team; they don't need a whole lot of help from us.
Obviously we never really seemed to get in synch offensively the whole first half. We made a run there late in the second half, but it was after we dug that hole for ourselves in the first half. It seemed as though we had a difficult time getting out of it. We had cut it to four, with the ball, and I think we missed two easy opportunities and turned the ball over. What should have been a, going into the half, a lot closer game, ends up being a 10-point lead. The turnover we had there at the end of the half and the technical didn't help any. So now we go down 12 points instead of six points or so, which would have been a manageable deficit at the half. But you have to give North Carolina credit. They're a great basketball team; they executed their gameplan. We faltered with the turnovers, and they never gave us a chance to get in our rhythm.
On the technical before the half:
I reacted - maybe overreacted - and he gave me a technical. Obviously he saw it differently and they have the final say. That didn't have anything to do with the outcome of the game; I just thought that, if you remember in the beginning of the game, we had some awful good looks the first four-five shots. We couldn't have gotten better shots. They didn't go down for us, and for whatever reason, about three or four occasions we turned the ball over and gave them a couple of extra possessions. We came out the second half and I thought we had three great looks - I think two of them were right at the basket - and one was a wide-open jumper and we missed all three of them. They went down and scored on their three possessions. So what was a 12-point game goes to an 18-point game. We got the good opportunities; it was just one of those nights where things just didn't fall. You have to give North Carolina credit for finishing their plays. They're a talented team and we came up a little short.
On FSU's NCAA Tournament chances:
Well, when you look at our strength of schedule, there aren't very many teams in the country that have played any more top 40 teams than we have. So, last year, we were 9-7 in the league, won 19 games overall, and I'm assuming that the reason (not getting in) was strength of schedule. Now I don't know if there are very many teams who have played the type of schedule that we've played. So obviously we've corrected that. We haven't lost to anyone out of the top 40 or 50 in RPI. We have been successful against at least four or five teams ranked in the top 25 in the country. I think we play in what is the best league in the country. We were four out of five, or five out of six until Tony (Douglas) got hurt. Obviously we played our best basketball and we lost a very integral part of our system. It was very difficult for us to overcome that. But even with that, of those four or five games that we lost, a couple of them were on last possessions and two or three points here or there. So I think we still played well, but we couldn't just overcome the drive. So losing a point guard when you're playing real well or an injured player, when they say that means something, then maybe they'll be taking that under consideration. I would like to have seen us without that adversity, but that's not trying to make an excuse. You asked me to state my case. I hope you don't feel like I'm trying to make excuses for what we are, but I think that we ran into some adversity. I think that the statistics prove, from a numbers standpoint, that we're a pretty good basketball team. We have met most of the criteria, as I see it, as I understand it, and that justifies us having an opportunity to play.
On leaving the game after fouling out:
It was really frustrating, walking to the bench. I was just hoping my team would make a run.
On whether yesterday's game affected FSU's performance today:
I really feel like we were ready. I feel that we got the necessary rest. Like coach said, I really think we didn't get in an offensive rhythm. Our gameplan coming in to this game was to be patient; I really felt like we rushed our shots. We just didn't get in a rhythm. North Carolina doesn't need help when you take quick shots and turn the ball over. They're such a great team in transition. There's no way you can really get back in the game.
On the difference between his performance in Chapel Hill and today's game:
They have some long defenders; they made it tough on me. I really just didn't get in an offensive rhythm. I had some great looks, and the ball just wasn't going in for me.
On the quick swing in momentum before halftime:
It happened so fast. We know that North Carolina is a good transition team. When you're in the game, in the heat of the moment, you don't really know until a timeout or something comes. We looked up, and they were up a lot more than they had been.
NORTH CAROLINA Quotes
We're glad to be able to stay here another day and play, it's the way you should look at it in a tournament. I truly believe you build your momentum once you get in a tournament. The first half was a little ugly at times, missing free throws, and it was a huge lift right before the half. It was safe to say it was a four-point game or a six-point game, and then all of a sudden it was a ten-point game, and then with the two free throws it was a 12-point game. Then we scored the first three possessions of the half and that made it a lot better as well. I thought we tried to fight through some silliness and I thought we did a good job of that, but we needed to get the basketball inside. I really felt for Tyler (Hansbrough) today , playing with that mask on. The doctors really wanted him to do it and I was able to convince him to do it today. I don't know if I'll be able to convince him to do it tomorrow. It bothered him like it would bother everybody. It's one of the things that everyone's forgotten about with all the stuff, that this is a kid that got hurt and I think he tried to play as hard as he possibly could, but Wayne (Ellington) gave us a big lift making some shots today, and I think Reyshawn (Terry) gave us a big lift on the back boards that we were very fortunate they got in foul trouble. We were deeper. We tried to play a lot of people in the first half and get some possessions out of everybody, and hopefully if we got fouls called we were spread out us and not as spread out on them and that helped us in the game to say the least.
On importance of winning tournament:
I haven't won an ACC Tournament championship since I came back, I would love to do that myself. Everybody always acts like I pooh-pooh the ACC Tournament because there is that thought process that you play people for nine weeks, why do you have to play them all again in three days? But it's what it is, and since we're here I want to win this sucker. There's no question in my mind I'd like to win it. I'd like the world's largest cocktail party, the Carolina Blue People to have more bragging rights than anybody else.
On not seeming pleased with Brandan (Wright) off the bench:
It was stupid. Brandan (Wright) didn't jump as high and have those arms, and turned it over on a four-on-two, but Que (Quentin Thomas) chose that Brandan can get up there to get it, and I told him Brandan saved his life.
On importance of winning tournament:
It would be great because I've never won an ACC Tournament since I've been here, even being on the team that won the National Championship. It's very important to me, as well as my team and my coaches. It's very big for us.
On getting the ball inside:
Their defense was very aggressive the first couple of seconds, but we tried to be patient on offense and give them a chance to make the mistake. With that said, guys doing that we were able to get the ball inside and just be patient on offense.
On impact of technical at half time:
We started the second half with an easy two points, and that's always good. It got us in flow, got us in the momentum.