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EXTRA BARNES AUDIO
"It's an unbelievable game again. I have no idea why we got off to such a slow start. If I knew what the heck it was I already would have changed it. Recently we've been playing well early, but yesterday and today we didn't play as well early. Clemson did well. They had a tremendous effect on us. They were more aggressive. Their defense got started. They brought out on the court what they wanted to do. They were aggressive. They had more points on second shots. They had more fast break points. They had more rebounds at half, 19-to-11 rebounds. They scored nine more points off of our turnovers. They had seven points on fast breaks and we had none. All those are aggressive stats.
"In the second half, we got more aggressive. Our defense got better. Harrison started making a bunch of shots. Leslie [McDonald] came in and made a big 3 for us. It really hurt us when Leslie was in foul trouble because we're only eight deep anyway. It took another guy out of the rotation. I took Harrison out with about 5:55 left and that was the first time he had been out in the second half. I said, ‘Just giving you a breather.' I was thinking to myself, ‘I'm going to need you to make some more shots.'
"For him to get 40 points, a freshman ACC Tournament record, and for North Carolina guys – Lennie Rosenbluth, whose jersey's in the rafters retired had 45, Charlie Scott, whose jersey's in the rafters, twice had 41. I remember one of those games when I was a student when Charlie made his last nine shots to win the ACC Tournament final. Harrison's in big-time company right there.
"I'll say this, early in the year the young man took a lot of doubters and criticism from people who said, ‘Oh, he's not that good.' He stayed focused on being Harrison Barnes. Every press conference I said if I had no concerns about Harrison Barnes; if that was my concern I was a pretty lucky guy. What he did was he stayed focused and every week he got a lot better and a lot better and a lot better, and then he started showing up even moreso in the games.
"John and his defense was important to us. John, another double-double. But for us to play effectively, we've got to e more aggressive ourselves and not let the other team be the aggressor. We should have had 'Z' up here too because when it was 73-71 when we threw it into 'Z' and he made a big–time shot and then we played great defense the last 28 seconds.
"Let me confess something else to you. You know how great coaching really helps you. At the timeout before the overtime, we said we're going to get the tap, John, do this, we'll get the tap, we're going to run a set play. This is what we're going to do, blah, blah. We'll run this set play. One guy sitting up here that's not as close to me as the other one [Henson] screwed it up. He forgot about that from the bench to the court.
"So then we take a bad shot and Dexter [Strickland] chases down the rebound and we get it to Harrison Barnes right in front of our bench. And then this really bright guy that coaches North Carolina is screaming another set play and Harrison knocked in a 3. And that wasn't what I was calling. I said, ‘Good shot, son, that a boy.' I was calling another play. If he had been listening to me he wouldn't have had that 3 right there so great players sometimes take bad coaches to another trip."
When you came in as a freshman, there were high expectations and pressure. Do you think that helped you when the pressure
cranked up in the tournament?
"It is what it is. I just went out there and tried to play great basketball today."
After one of your 3s, was that a wing-flap type gesture?
"Lots of things are done and said during a game. I don't know what it was. It might have been. That's all I'll say. It might have been."
Did you twist your ankle a little bit today?
"I twisted it a little bit, but I'll be alright."
The last three minutes when you're down seven points and they don't score again, what did you guys do defensively?
"We just followed our principles and were in the right place at the right time. We boxed out and made them shoot tough shots, made them get one shot a possession. We hit the big shots offensively and that catapulted us to victory."
What would it mean to win the championship, particularly if you get another shot against Duke:
"It would mean a lot. Winning the championship at North Carolina is something we want to do. Hopefully we would get the win, whether it's Duke or Virginia Tech."
What about Barnes' performance?
"That's what he does. He takes the shot with five seconds left the same way he takes the shot with 20 minutes left. He's just a great player. Great players make great plays. He was there for us at the end of the game and put us over the top again."
When you post up, do you like to feel the defender to know where he is?
"A little bit. It depends on the situation. How he is playing kind of depends on how I make my move. It can give you an advantage or disadvantage either way. You have to read it and act accordingly."
What do these two games do to help this team prepare for next week?
"I think it does a lot. I don't remember who said it yesterday, but somebody was like, 'Oh wow, tournament play is totally different.' You start to realize its not another regular season game where you never know who's going to show up. It's playoff time and you know every night you're going to get their best shot and everybody's going to play their best."
"It's a very difficult loss for us. I thought we played very well for long stretches and really controlled the game for a good part. North Carolina's got some very talented players, and Harrison Barnes was outstanding. We couldn't guard him. We couldn't stop him. He was a real difference maker for them.
"I'm really proud of the way my guys competed. I thought we played as hard as we could and had a couple of chances to make some shots to really ice the game late during the last couple of minutes, and we missed them. Give North Carolina some credit. I think they're a very talented group of guys that can go to a lot of different options when they need a basket. You've seen that in the last couple of days."
On how much the crowd being in North Carolina's favor might have come into play:
"It's not neutral, everybody knows that. This place holds, what 24,000, and 18,000 are cheering for North Carolina, 2,000 are cheering for Clemson, and 4,000 people are rooting against Carolina. That's just the way it is. It's tough. You've got to be better than that, and we just didn't get it done. It helps, no doubt. I think it helps them on their runs on their runs late in games.
"Miami, us … when you've got a crowd like that going for you and giving you positive momentum, I think that helps. No doubt about it, it makes it doubly difficult for the teams that are on the road to grind out a win. I look up at our student section, and there's 300 of them up where you can barely see them, and they're trying like to crazy to cheer for us and help us through tough times. It's not the reason we lost or anything like that, but it's certainly an advantage for a team that has 18,000 people cheering for them."