March 11, 2007
2007 ACC BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
GAME 11: #10 NC State v. #1 North Carolina
NORTH CAROLINA Coaches Quotes
Well, this feels pretty good, there's no question about that. I couldn't be more proud of the kids that I have and what they've done. You also have to be really proud of North Carolina State and admire and respect what they did. Coming to play for four days was phenomenal, and Brandon Costner had a big-time day for them, but I liked our guys too. When it got down to a one-point game a lot of teams could have given in because we had missed either three or four from point-blank range from two or three feet, and then they're making their run and got it within one. Then after that we did a much better job with our execution. They had to start fouling, we went to the free-throw line and made foul shots. Ty's (Ty Lawson) the only one that missed a single foul shot and that always tells how tough a team is, so I was extremely proud of the team at that point.
On Brandan Wright being MVP:
Brandan being the MVP I think was so well deserved, I think that was big. Reyshawn (Terry) was on his case in the second half and I let him sit there for a long time and he came back in and made three big plays in a row for us.
On the play of Wes Miller and Tyler Hansbrough:
I thought Wes (Miller) was huge at making those two threes for us right before the half. Tyler Hansbrough doing what he did today, and I think if you just sit back and think what I talked about the whole time, as a post player he's got to turn and find the rim quickly with his back to the basket and he's got that mask on and that's an obstacle. That's not as bad for a perimeter player because he's looking straight at it. Tyler goes to the free throw line looking straight at it like a perimeter player and he makes 11 out of 11 and I think you've got to congratulate him and his toughness there, but loved what our team did.
On the team's goals coming into the weekend:
We set a goal to come in here and win the tournament and I told the guys we didn't set a goal to come in here and be here Sunday. We set a goal to win the tourney and it's a good feeling.
On Reyshawn Terry's potential:
He has such ability if he can just stay focused and stay in the moment and not worry about what happened on the last play. I just didn't think he was into it and we always talk about not fouling jump shots and I thought he loafed back a little bit, fouled the jump shot, so I just took him out. He had missed two box outs in a row, but also with that ability you've got to give it a chance. I can let him sit there all I want and at the end of the game say hey, if you had played we would have done better, but it doesn't do any good there. I have been one for my entire life to give people chances and I think for him it'll always be. He's been there with me since I got there and I pushed him probably as hard at least as any player I've ever coached. He's just a phenomenal youngster that I'll keep giving chances to, and I just love him to death.
On winning first ACC title:
It's another achievement and accomplishment for me, my team, my coaching staff. For Coach Williams, he hasn't won this since he's been here so it's another jewel to go in his jewelry box. Like Wes (Miller) said, Coach said we can enjoy it until midnight and then we've got to focus on the NCAA Tournament, but it means a lot to this team and this organization.
On returning to the game following benching:
Coach said he would like to see me play. He's always been on me, pushing me to the limit, trying to push me to be the best player I can possibly be. He's always going to tell you, if you're going to be in the game I'm going to coach you no matter what, so he never gave up on me. He gave me another chance like he always does. My teammates had confidence in me, my coaching staff had confidence in me, so the opportunity came for me to just throw down the shots.
On beating a strong North Carolina State team:
Coming into the game we knew they were a little tired, but we knew they weren't going to give up and it was going to be a dog fight. We're going to make our runs and they're going to make their runs, but it all boiled down to who was going to get the stops and be the toughest and most poised at the end, and it showed today.
On winning first ACC title:
That's the one thing we haven't experienced since we've been here. I won the regular season in 2005, and obviously I won the NCAA tournament. For me, I grew up in the state of North Carolina, lived there my whole life. My dad's been taking me to the ACC Tournament - my mom tells me I was there when I was one year old - so it's means the world to me. It's something I always dreamed about as a kid. Going to these games as a kid is one of the things that inspired me to want to work at the game and play the game, and I really can't describe with words how it feels. The other side of that is that we're not done and we know that. We have a lot of work left ahead of us, so we're going to enjoy this until midnight - I think that's coach's rule - and then we'll be preparing for the NCAA Tournament.
On his MVP performance weekend:
I was feeling good as a player. Coming out of the Duke game I thought I played well. I thought we had a lot of momentum coming into the tournament and I just felt like I had to really step up. With Tyler (wearing) the mask it's definitely hard to see with his back to the basket. Peripheral (vision) is really tough.
NC STATE Quotes
We just played against, obviously, a very good basketball team. They made some big shots down the stretch. They're tough inside, they're tough outside and obviously they play hard. But I'm so proud of our guys and the way we performed this entire weekend, how we came out and played and got to this point. It was a great effort by our guys. We missed a couple of shots down the stretch there that we needed, and they were able to knock theirs down. But by no means am I disappointed. I told our guys you can be hurt, but don't be disappointed. Because there's nothing to be disappointed about.
On Atsur's performance despite injury:
He's going to be a little modest about this thing. What he did today and how he played with that thing bothering him just tells you what kind of young man this is. He didn't complain, I know it was hurting him, but he wanted to stay in there. With him on the floor, at whatever percent it is - 50 percent, 70 percent - we're still a better ball club. Just his presence on the floor allowed us to do what we did in this ballgame today.
On whether fatigue was a factor late in the game:
It could have been. I don't know. Certainly we had a good look at it (Grant's late missed shot), that's what you try to do, you try to run the set and be patient enough to get a good shot. Those were certainly opportunities for us. I don't know if it was the legs or not. Gavin doesn't normally shoot airballs, I can say that. Maybe he rushed it a little, he was wide open and he still rushed it, I don't know. He just missed the shot.
On what he said/did to spur the comeback:
Well, we started to do a little better job of being patient and reading what they were doing. Early we were just coming and taking shots and forcing things and not being patient. This is a good ball club, Carolina, they're not going to just allow you to run where you want to go. They're going to deny you, they're going to force you to change directions, they're going to fight you in the post. But, if we're trying to get something inside, then we have to be patient with it and swing the ball and force them to make adjustments. Then we can get it back. Early in the ball game we kept holding the ball on one side of the floor and trying to force it in there. During that stretch, I think you saw the ball moving a little better from side to side, and we got those guys to move some. We were able to get those open looks.
On rallying from a 16-point deficit:
I think our defense was pretty good in that stretch. We had that run and I think our bench did a great job stepping up, especially Dennis Horner who gave us a big lift. Bryan Nieman and all my other teammates hit some big shots. Courtney, Gavin, Ben and Brandon, they did a great job. We had that run and cut the lead, I believe, to one. We had the ball game there.
On his physical condition:
Obviously I don't feel great, but I was out there just to try to compete and do whatever I could to slow the tempo down, be a leader on offense and just be a leader out there. That's what I was trying to do. I was trying to be mentally tough.
On struggling with his shot:
It was my physical thing; it had nothing to do with the defense. Actually I knew that coming into the game. Coach told me just to set up some shots for my teammates and that's what I was trying to do. I wasn't in a position to where I could just go out and score, so I was trying to find my teammates.
Would tying or getting the lead have made the difference in the game?
I think we would have won the game. Every minute I'm out there on the court I believe we can win the game. We've got a group of guys that stick together, we play hard and as long as we listen to coach, we'll be fine.
On Terry's late three-pointers:
Terry is a great player. We played great defense in that possession but he hit a key shot for them that put them up. It was a dagger for us but we just stuck with it and kept trying to fight and fight and hopefully got ourselves back in the game to win.
On Brandon Costner:
Brandon Costner is a great player. Our offense is set up where he can play inside or outside. What he did for us, he just stepped up and made big shots. He wasn't selfish at all and took good shots.