March 10, 2007
North Carolina Quotes
We're excited about being here, we're excited about beating a very good Boston College team. I thought our defense was better today than it's been in a while. I thought Ty Lawson was sensational guarding Tyrese (Rice). Tyrese had 32 (points) last night but let's understand that he had to play 45 minutes last night. Jared (Dudley) had to play 45 minutes and on back-to-back nights that's difficult to do, but I thought Ty (Lawson) may have had his best defensive game of the year because Tyrese (Rice) is so hard to keep in front of him.
On the play of Tyler Hansbrough:
I thought Tyler Hansbrough was really big rebounding the ball for us. You can look at his stats over the course of the year and until these last two games he always shoots a great percentage. That mask is bothering him a great deal, and it still bothers me because he's the victim and no one is worried about him. It's a shame because he's had a great year, a great two years, but right now he's struggling, but I love kids that will find another way to help us win and his rebounding I thought was part of that.
On the play of Brandan Wright:
Brandan (Wright) did a great job for us inside and also was able to run the floor. He can run a heck of a lot faster than he even realizes he can run and if I can get him to do it more consistently it would really be a lot of fun, but I think that getting out and running on the break and showing great hands, he got his feet settled. He didn't come close to walking. He had one play where he looked like somebody out for an afternoon stroll but he finally laid it up. We feel very good. Our defense was good and I think we did some good things on offense and we're happy to be here.
On younger players stepping up:
By this time of the year you should have been exposed to everything and you're not nearly as freshman-like as you were at the start of the year. We've played 33 games so they are experienced and kids these days are more worldly than they were 15 or 20 years ago. Most of the time our guys, even yesterday it was the first ACC Tournament game where our first-, second- and third- leading scorers were freshman, and today we had that same kind of scenario where all three guys in double-figures were freshmen. I really believe it was Ty Lawson's best defensive game of the year. Kids are so much more experienced now. They're not as phased by things like this as they used to be, and it's not to say we can't screw it up. Even the one who didn't have his ears cleaned out was a freshman too, but it's a game of mistakes and we just try to make as few as we possibly can.
On intensity at beginning of the game:
We have team goals and intensity is a big thing. We always talk about it as a team and we haven't won an ACC Tournament Championship in a while and the guys on the team really want that.
On lessons from first year:
I've learned a lot of things, and I can't even tell you in such a short time period. I learned you've got to keep the intensity going, you've got to play hard every possession and you can't let your guard down because guys are coming after me.
On Tyler Hansbrough's efforts and intensity:
Tyler is a leader, probably not by words but by emotion and everything, so when we see him get intense in games and just putting all his effort into it we just have to follow because he's like our unspoken leader.
On Lawson's strategy against Tyrese Rice:
Just staying in front of him, not letting him get in the lane and penetrating to score, and making sure he didn't get the ball back because he's a good player, and he's the heart of the team. I just made sure he didn't get off and have a good night.
Boston College Quotes
On facing perhaps the most difficult opponent:
Yes. It was clear that tempo was going to be real important for us. The fact that we missed layups and missed free throws led to run-outs for them in the first half. That's the biggest difference in the ball game is that I thought we missed some opportunities and because of that it allowed them to push the ball up the floor and get some transition baskets. If we make those layups, then the transition goes away. So not only do you lose two points, but they're gaining two points, so it was a four-point swing on a number of different occasions. And of course, they were only sending two guys to the defensive backboards and were able to get out with their wings. That's something that they were having some success with the first time we played them. We were able to capitalize and get the rebound and put the ball back in the basket. Today we didn't do it.
On Brandan Wright:
The thing is, obviously with his athleticism, there are not many guys in the country his size that can run as well as he does. He's got good hands; he catches the ball well in transition which is unique for a lot of big players. That's really what makes them go, because when he runs down the middle of the floor you have to be a little bit concerned about that. It allows the wings to get open.
On defensive strategy in the second half:
We made shots. We made shots and got them into a halfcourt. And then we turned around and turned the ball over two times in a row to stretch it back out again. The difference was that we came down and made some shots and were able to get to our halfcourt defense. That's what we needed to do. There were small stretches of the game that we were able to play at our tempo. There were not enough stretches of the game that were played at our tempo. That clearly was the difference.
On North Carolina's intensity:
They came out and played the same way. They try to deny everything. We just missed a lot of shots early on - little easy layups, missed free throws. But then you have to stop them in transition. We did a poor job of that and they kind of exploited that.
Was fatigue a factor?
I wouldn't say that. I would say that we just missed shots. I had good looks. I don't think fatigue has anything to do with missing layups. I felt like I was rushing my shots. Obviously 45 minutes is 45 minutes. We're used to playing a lot of minutes. You're playing back-to-back days. But in the second half I made a lot more shots than I did in the first half.
Are teammates finding ways to free him up more?
We're doing the same thing we do every game throughout the whole season. It all depends, sometimes Tyrese (Rice) is shooting a lot more shots, sometimes it's Sean (Marshall). Whoever is open in the offense. I just made a concentrated effort in the second half to get my looks, to come off screens a little bit harder, be a little bit more aggressive. Some went in, some didn't.
It was a huge impact. That and transition was critical for us. We had to slow the tempo down, which we really didn't do, and you've got to rebound. That team sends 12 men - ship them in, ship them out basically - and we tried to box out with athleticism and effort. They just got to us today.
On providing senior leadership:
"Definitely. I know I left yesterday's game a little upset with myself. I kind of let my emotions take over the game, so I just tried to bring a better effort to today's game. We got down early and we kept fighting, but made too many mental mistakes and missed layups early.