Listen to Audio (13:57)
"Well, we're really disappointed in the outcome of the game and congratulate Leonard and his staff and Florida State's team. They've had a fantastic year and they showed it this weekend and showed it again today against us. I have no problem with my team, the way we competed, particularly the last twelve minutes. It was a big-time basketball game and we gave ourselves a chance and we kept trying to pry the door open and they kept closing the door. They made shots down the stretch. Xavier Gibson made that little jumper on the baseline. They made free throws, they made plays, three-point plays, they did what they had to do to stop somebody from coming back and stealing a win from them and you got to congratulate them.
"We've been pretty doggone good defensively basically the whole season. In ACC play, believe it or not, we even have a better defensive field-goal percentage than Florida State does. Overall, all games, they have a much better [field-goal percentage] than we did, but today their offense was much stronger than our defense and they made shots.
"I've said a thousand times, the ball always looks better when the ball goes in the basket, but I really liked the way my team came back and fought. I really liked the toughness that we showed. I liked that we tried to do a better job each and every possession. We didn't get off to a good start. We didn't play well in the first half and we didn't play well in the first part of the second half, but the last twelve minutes it was a North Carolina team that I've seen recently and it's a North Carolina team that I like and we want to be, but I think the biggest thing you have to do is congratulate Florida State. They played a heck of a game. They shot over 60% in the first half; shot over 50% in the second half. It's hard to make a comeback on a team that's being that effective on the offensive end, but we had a chance and they made plays and that's the reason they're the champions."
To what do you attribute your teams 39% field-goal percentage?
"I would say their defense. Lets give some credit to the other team. Every North Carolina fan just thinks it's always just about us and it's not about us. Fifty-fifty, it's half us and half them. They did a great job defensively. Yeah we missed some we'd like to make, there's no question, but they played the same number of games here that we did. They even played later than we did last night. We don't have quite the bench that we had that we can rest people, but the bottom-line is those are all excuses. We didn't make shots and we didn't make enough shots. They made more than we made."
What would have been an emergency situation where John Henson would have played today?
"If we had a one-point lead and the ball was underneath their basket, three seconds to play I would've put him in to guard the guy taking the ball out of bounds. It helped us win the Washington game in the NCAA Tournament last year, but that would've been it… if we had four guys foul out maybe I would've put him in the middle of the zone and told him to stand still, but basically he felt better today, but he wasn't confident and then it didn't have to get to the level of I had to decide where he was going to be effective or not effective. If he wasn't confident with it then, in my opinion, there's no need to put him out there. We're a better team with John, but I don't want that to be something we talk about. It takes away from Florida State's great win."
On Leonard Hamilton being from North Carolina and being the first African-American coach to win an ACC Championship:
"I'm sure that Leonard's proud of that, but I think we're also at the time it's just… he's a coach. We kid a little bit about both of us just being homeboys from North Carolina. He swears up and down that Gastonia is a lot bigger than Asheville and things like that, but Leonard and I got to know each other when I was an assistant at North Carolina and he was an assistant at Kentucky.
"He's a wonderful coach, he's fun to be around, he's dedicated to the game. In my opinion… he's gotten a bad rap over several years about being just a great recruiter and not being able to coach. He coaches his rear-end off. They led the nation in defensive field-goal percentage I think three out of four years, but he's a guy that I enjoy. He's a guy that's done a great job at Florida State and people should recognize what a fantastic coach he is and I'm not saying anything about being the first African-American, because guys our age remember when that was really different and I hope that we get the game of basketball that it doesn't get to be as different anymore. When I look at Leonard Hamilton, I look at a peer that I have a great deal of respect for and look at him as a friend and, yes, he's African-American and I'm white redneck or whatever, but I look at him as a friend."
Listen to Audio (2:48)
Can you talk about the last play and what the team had set up?
"We had two plays set up, or two screens set up, for Harrison and Harrison coming on top. They switched it so he was overplayed and we had another screen for him rolling down the baseline and they switched it again so he wasn't open. PJ did a great job. He was our third option coming up and he was open. He tried to make the best out of it and it's tough when you catch the ball near half-court. "
Were there any thoughts of the 90-57 loss at Florida State when you got down big?
"Yeah. I think we were down 16 or something like that. I mean that was kind of embarrassing to be down by that many in the first half, but we knew that we could either give up and go back to 33 or we could make a run and I think our guys did a great job, especially during the last three minutes of the first half, of coming back and trying to get in the flow of things and in the second half kind of picking it up."
Listen to Audio (4:45)
On the missed three-point attempt late in the game:
"I think we did a great job of executing. ‘Z' set a nice back screen, I hit Reggie. One guy ran out to him and two people ran with ‘Z'. Reggie was heady enough to find me. I might've rushed it a little bit or could've gotten a better look, but at the same time, you can't expect to make every shot, so you got to give Florida State credit."
Describe how the team played in the final twelve minutes of the game:
"We showed some fight and that's why I can't be too upset with a loss, first of all, because we have bigger things to come, but also I was proud of my teammates. The way PJ came in and really helped us out. They way McAdoo came in and just those type of things may not show up on the stat sheet – the hunger, the effort. Like coach said, the last twelve minutes were great, but we got to find a way to do that for the whole forty minutes."
Listen to Audio (3:26)
Can you talk about the difference between the first and second halves?
"We got to give them a lot of credit. They came out very ready to play and jumped on us early offensively and defensively and I don't think we really competed until the second half. In a perfect world, yeah it's nice to think if we played the way we did in the first half like we did in the second, we would've won the game, but you got to give credit where credit's due."
On the play of PJ Hairston today:
"Yeah that's definitely a positive we can take away from this game - him stepping up in big games, shooting well. He's been in a little bit of a slump for a big part of the season, but now it's postseason and he's playing well and hopefully he can continue to build off that."
Listen to Audio (19:13)
"Obviously I am extremely proud of our players and the fact that we've been through a lot of ups and downs through the course of the year. The thing I'm most proud of is that they've shown a tremendous amount of character. They've tried to do everything we've asked them to do early on in the season when we were not playing as well as we had hoped. They were positive. We maintained patience with them. I wanted to give them the level of con?dence that we believe that we continue to keep working hard and staying focused that we're a good basketball team, a team that's capable of winning the ACC Tournament."
On what this title means to the team:
"I'm sure as time goes on, it will start to sink in and maybe there is validation out there that I'm really not thinking about. For me, I wanted to just go out and focus on this particular game and the talent that we had today. As we were going through the game, I just wanted my guys to give their best shot, give all they had in this particular game. And then if there is some type of recognition or some type of status we are suppose to receive, you guys will decide that."