UNC-VT: Postgame Interviews

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Inside Carolina's postgame coverage includes audio, quotes and video from head coach Roy Williams and players, who spoke to the media following UNC's game against Virginia Tech ...

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Opening Comments -
"We're ecstatic with the win. It was a heck of a second half performance for us. You're supposedly only going to age one year in one year's calender's time but between Saturday's and tonight's game I aged three or four years. They were so much more aggressive than we were in the first half, we were so careless with the basketball - it was just awful.

"We got a little run right before the half to cut it from the biggest lead (16) to seven at the half and I felt great, because I thought it could have been much, much worse than that. Then we didn't get it done early in the second half but we kept chipping away.

"Needless to say Harrison was big - I think he hit three or four outside shots in the last six or seven minutes of the game. And he needed to because he wasn't very good up until that point. I told him 'Your game stunk, but God almighty you were good for a six-minute stretch there.'

"Kendall was big - he made a three - and you look at that line of nine assists and zero turnovers, that's impressive right there. ..."

How important was it for this team to find a way to get it done in those last 15 minutes?
"We talked about it for Saturday's game, and in practice yesterday - you've got to keep playing, you've got to keep plugging along. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't pretty for Harrison and Dexter, they continued to turn it over in the second half ... The kids are maturing and I think that's huge for us."

The team attacked the zone much better in the second half. Did you make any adjustments?
"We needed to get the ball inside more. First half we were just rotating around and standing still. We needed to get the ball inside and we needed to move inside more. We needed to screen more. Two of Harrison's shots in the second hald we screened someone on the zone and if you watch the whole first half I don't think we screened anybody in the zone. And they don't have a lot of guys. It's a very physical, demanding game - perhaps they won't be quite as aggressive and as quick."


How big was this win in finding a way to win, building off a similar situation at Virginia?
"I'd say the last 15 minutes of both games, at Virginia and home against Virginia Tech, we got down early - 14 or 12 against Virginia and 16 tonight - we got down . It's a big confidence booster to know that if we can keep fighting we'll always be there at the end. Now we don't want to get down every game, but it gives us a lot of confidence."

Can you walk us through those last 20 seconds, when Delaney came down the court?
"I saw that he ended up getting the ball and nobody was guarding him, so I ran out to him and he had the ball at halfcourt so I had no idea if I was on an island or a ball screen was coming -- and I don't remember anything after that until I got fouled."

What was going through your mind when you took those free throws?
"Just a phrase that I've always lived by: 'Big-time players step up and make big-time plays in big-time games.' I kept repeating that to myself ..."


Were you surprised to see Harrison step up and hit those three big shots?
"We'll be down by five with a minute left in practice and he'll score five in a row and hit the game winner. So I see it every day and it doesn't surprise me. But this is good for him to show the world he can do that - they've been on him pretty hard. He can do that stuff, I wasn't surprised. I just told him while we were running down the court, 'That's why you're here.'

Can you speak to the impact Kendall has on this team?
"He was born to play the position, just the way he thinks and the way he carries himself - even when we're just sitting in a room the leadership things come out. He helped us a lot tonight and I'm thankful for that and glad he's here ... "

How does it impact you personally when Kendall's on the floor?
"We take on the persona of our point guard. He's calm, collected and I think sees things develop a little bit more than most people. He'll fake it and know where he wants to go with the ball where some people might just pass it."


Can you talk about your big shots late in the game tonight?
"It was a late game situation. I don't know how comfortable my teammates felt shooting it, but I had no problem shooting it because you either make it and be the hero or miss it and be the goat, and I don't have any problem being either. So I shot it with a free mind ... My two favorite players, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, they've always been clutch players. Obviously, I'm not them - I'm not them, period. But that's something they always did so it's something I try to do."

You struggled for much of the game and then hit some big shots. What do you take away from a performance like that?
"I've got to cut on some turnovers and make some more shots earlier in the game. I made some silly turnovers and forced some shots, and I've got to be better at that as the season goes along."

Kendall had nine assists tonight - what impact does his presence have on you guys?
"Kendall's a true point, true as they come. He gets everyone involved - I can't explain it. When you're out there with him, everyone knows they will get a touch, they know he's going to find them in the right position. If you're open, you know he'll get you the ball. It's a shooter's dream, I'll say it that way. All our shooters on the team could agree, it's a dream to play with him."


What separates you guys from being the best team in the league?
"Being able to put a full game together. Right now we play superb at times and other times we'll play awful ... we've got to be able to get to the point where we play like that for 40 minutes ... I want to say we're close, but at the same time you've got to mature and get there. We do have our moments and I think everybody just has to get that mindset."

Can you think of why the team hasn't been able to put it together yet?
"I don't really know of any certain reason - I think it's something we all have to work on, being ready to go rather than waiting to get settled into the game. That'd probably be the biggest thing - when we come out we're either two hyped up or too antsy that we make a lot of mistakes. We just need to calm down and be comfortable at the beginning of the game."

The team struggled so much against the zone at the start of the game - do you think you were prepared for that defense?
"Because Virginia Tech played zone for all 40 minutes against Florida State, we had a very good idea they'd play zone, especially with all their injuries. We'd been working on it all week, but their zone was a lot more aggressive than the one we were practicing against and I think it shocked a lot of guys."

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