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"It's a wonderful win for us, and in coaching you got some guys that you really, really like, some guys that you don't. Most of the guys that you respect a great deal and don't worry about whether you like them or not. But Lorenzo Romar is a guy that I really, really like and really, really respect a great deal, too, and when the last shot was missed and he jumped up and feel that elation, you look down own the other bench and see a guy that you really like, for a second there it's not good. And I think Lorenzo would understand this as much as I like him, I like my team even better. But it was a great basketball game.
"If you are a basketball guy, you had to enjoy that basketball game. Lorenzo had his team really ready to play. They made shots. They were so much more aggressive than we were in the first half. They got the offensive rebounds, they did so many good things and we're down 11, and I was just so proud of my team the way we just kept playing. I told them at halftime I was very lucky, felt very luck we because I didn't think we played as able as we needed to and still only down one. Then they come out and score the first four points of the second half, but my team just kept making plays.
"In the locker room, I told John I wish he would have caught the ball that was shot from the 10-second line with five seconds -- after they had it out of bounds with five seconds. It would have made it not quite as exciting. A great win for us over a big-time basketball team that had a big-time year and over a big-time coach, coaching staff, and one of the great guys in college basketball."
Coach, you didn't look quite like
yourself on the sidelines. Are you feeling okay
today, are you ill?
"Today was a tough day. I didn't feel very good. Told the kids to take care of their old man, and they did a nice job of that. So I feel a heck of a lot better now. It's been pretty, you know, unpleasant since about 4:30 this morning."
Can you talk about Henson's play
today? There was a couple of plays where his
arms looks like they reached to the ceiling.
Looked like you had a funny story for us about
him that you told Kendall.
"I think the question over here was about John hitting Kendall sometimes. John hits him sometimes intentionally and tries to act like it's an accident. And Kendall turns away and John winks at everybody else. But he's a tremendous shot blocker. I was disappointed with him the last play because it looked like I thought the shot was not going to have a chance to go in. And I said, "What were you thinking?" Because he got up and tried to block it. He said, "Well, it was just for two I saw it." So even if they called it goal tending, it was going to be a win.
"John is a quick thinker. He has long arms and quick thinking. It will be interesting for me to see it on the tape, but my video guy said it was a two-point shot there at the end.
"I told him in grade school, you know, they tell you to look the ball into your hands. And on that shot attempt of theirs from about the center line -- that was a good play by Lorenzo because we were going to foul. We were up three, and I think he instructed his guys if it looked like it was going to be a foul to go ahead and shot the bull. What we had done is we see said we were going to foul therm and get close enough to foul them in the backcourt. Not wait until they got across the 10-second line. If the guy anticipates a foul, he can shoot it quickly and sometimes the referee buys into it. John is a very mischievous 11-year-old who happens to be about 20."
seemed like you guys had to go through
several phases adapting to the way they were
playing, because there's nobody in the ACC
that is quite like them, but it that you had fully
come around about the last 12 minutes of the
became because were you got getting some
driving lanes to the basket, some half court
lanes there. Is that the way you saw it when
you guys were able to get to the rim, that you
were starting to take control of the game?
"Well, second half they played a lot more man-to-man and made driving angles a lot easier. The bigs when they came in set screens, they were coming out hard. Really we just wanted to keep attacking the basket. We were having success doing that, and once we settled down, we only had nine turnovers for the game. That's a credit to us, just being patient, and then we were able to make things happen."
Could you just talk
a little bit about the challenges you face in the
East Regional ahead and the success you've
been able to have in the State in the NCAA
"We're going to enjoy this win until midnight. I think it's something to be proud of, making the Sweet 16. We don't want to look too far ahead. I think the game is at 7:45 tonight. Marquette, Syracuse, two great teams. We're be looking forward to it, seeing who's the winner and just preparing."
Dexter, can you talk about going home for the Sweet 16?
"It's a good feeling. You know, I haven't seen my family in awhile. I know I'm going to probably have my own section with my family there, but it's a good feeling to go home and play in front of a crowd like that. You know, I'm anxious and can't wait for it. Hopefully it doesn't snow."
On his free throws in the closing seconds:
"Down the stretch you have to have confidence and believe in yourself and be and be ready to take those big shots. You work on them all the time in practice. Practice. You got to be ready. Pretty confident in making those shots."
On advancing to the Sweet 16:
"It's great. Coming into Newark we're going to have a week to prepare, so that's going to give us a lot of time. It's not like the ACC Tournament where it's, 'We've got to go play again tomorrow, hopefully our legs are there.' So this will give us good time to prepare and get mentally ready for the game."
This team won a lot of close games during the regular season, but is it different in this atmosphere?
"Yeah, definitely. These games are a lot more intense. You can get up 10 or 15 and maybe a team will go away, but in the NCAA Tournament, you've got teams that will continue to come back. We all know that if we lose, we've got to go home and sit there and watch everybody else play."
On the potential last-second goal-tend:
"It was a two-pointer clearly, so if it wasn't, I wouldn't have jumped up. It is what it is."
On the team's defensive play down the stretch:
"We buckled down and played 'D' like we're supposed to. That's how we got the win."
LORENZO ROMAR & PLAYERS
"Very hard-fought game. Carolina is a very good basketball team. I was proud of our guys. I hate to see our seniors end it this way. I thought our guys fought, did so many things right, that could have enabled us to win the ballgame but we didn't get it done. Give a lot of credit to the Tar Heels."
Henson had a couple of big plays blocking that inbound pass and a couple of blocks. Can you talk about the difficulty he poses for opponents?
"You can see why he's the Player of the Year defensively. He has so much length. He anticipates extremely well. Rarely does he leave his feet until the ball leaves the offensive player's hands. They put him on the baseline to defend inbound plays and makes it difficult to throw over the top, and he -- it was very effective at the end when we tried to throw inbounds and he got his hand on the basketball.
"He certainly is a presence, and I think early on especially, we missed some close shots maybe thinking a little too much about where he was."
On the final inbounds play when you had 0.5 seconds remaining, what were the options there and did you think Henson goal-tended that final shot?
"I think the explanation was that it was a two. So I wouldn't have mattered if he goal tended or not. Still we wouldn't have been able to win. I think that was the explanation. We're trying to get the ball, trying to get a clean look. You know, I'd like to see the film and see that play again to see if, in fact, we have someone open that he was trying to hit. We just wanted to get the ball because -- get the ball inbound and get a shot because of the way they were defending, we felt we could catch and shoot right away and get a good look."