Listen to Audio (16:36)
Listen to Audio (2:35)
"Obviously we're extremely pleased. Feel lucky, but we did make some plays down the stretch and I was very proud of our guys. We feel like we were in a battle. I feel like I've been in a battle. Our players feel like that.
"But congratulate Ohio. They did some really good things, eight out of 13 in the second half from 3-point line, that was big for them to say the least. We tried to guard the three and didn't do as good a job of it as we would like, but we made enough plays.
"It was big with 20-22. Reggie made a big three for us late in the regulation to get us back in there. And then also made one in the overtime and 17 points, 10 rebounds. John Henson when it was a four-point game chased the guy down and made a big block from behind and so it was an everybody out there. Stilman played 32 minutes, had six assists and zero turnovers. It was not our greatest effort -- well, it was not the prettiest effort by any means, but we got to get some joy in Mudville, because our locker room wasn't as happy as we would like for it to be with being here in the Final Eight.
"But we realize we escaped and we are wounded a little bit right now, but we got to start getting some joy in the locker room. These are great kids."
Right there at the end of regulation, it looked like Ohio had your number. They had the momentum going into overtime. You guys had it from the opening tip. What changed?
"Guys, I was just begging and pleading and trying to work my rear end off to get us in. And I said, Hey, we can't do anything about that. Now we can feel good about this overtime if we play well. And my head was killing me. I got a little dizzy out there a couple times, but I said, If I'm going to die, let's at least die with a win. That kind of thing.
"But sometimes you feel like a preacher because I was just begging and pleading and pushing and trying to get them to understand now this is five minutes, let's play better, let's feel better about the way we played. I think we did that. 5-6 from the line and 2-4 from the field and we fortunately caught them and they were 0-6 from the floor."
Talk about Stilman's play tonight.
"He was really something. Thirty-two minutes, six assist, zero turnovers, and it wasn't a comfortable game. I hope that the slant here is not how lucky North Carolina is, we know that, but give Ohio some credit. But also we had a guy that has 351 assists that didn't play and all of a sudden we got a freshman point guard from Wilmington, North Carolina who is thrust out there. He really did some nice things. It was difficult for him defensively. I probably made a thousand moves tonight and one of the only ones that worked was in the end of the game in the overtime, we switched Reggie and put Reggie on D.J., because he was just tougher for Stilman to handle.
"And again late in the game we tried to go to Z one time and the guy just backed off of Stilman and made it tough to get him in there. But again the guy played 32 minutes had six assists, zero turnovers, so I'm thrilled for him and thrilled for our team too."
Was Kendall able to do anything during shoot around today?
"No. And I would love to give you guys an answer, but I really can't. I have no idea. He is much better. And he's gotten off some of the medication and he's much better. He brushed his teeth today. He didn't jump down and do 10 one-handed pushups, which I told him he was going to have to do before I would let him play.
"Is there a chance he would play Sunday? There's a better chance he would play Sunday than it was today. I really didn't ever expect him to play today, but Oral Roberts University, they said expect a miracle, so I guess I was hoping for a miracle type of thing. But we tried to prepare all week that he was not going to play and that's what we'll try to prepare for for Sunday. But if he can play, needless to say, I would take him."
Reggie, just how big was that three you hit near the end of regulation and then the beginning of overtime? And were you surprised that y'all needed that kind of effort against a team like this?
Bullock: "No, I was just thinking right when I caught the ball, I heard my whole bench, from managers to everybody, say shoot. And right then, I just pulled the trigger and I seen it go in. And I just was like, I was just thinking to myself, it's like my time to perform. And it was a big shot for our team and all my teammates just believing in me to make those shots."
Was it as difficult for you guys to create offense as it appeared?
Zeller: "Any time you lose somebody who leads your team in assists, Kendall's got over 300 assists on the season, so any time you lose somebody like that, it's going to be a little more difficult. I know that I felt open a couple times, but it was something that Kendall's been able to make a spectacular pass to get it there, whereas Stilman and Justin Watts haven't played with me as long and don't necessarily see it. So you got to just be able to adjust. And it is difficult, but at the same time, I think we can do much better than we did tonight."
For both of you, just the thoughts of what it means to be a step away from a chance to get to a Final Four and the chance to do that, especially with the way things were going there late, just what it means to have that opportunity?
Bullock: "Well, for me it means a lot to me, just to be able to play in the NCAA tournament. Because last year, I didn't play in it and I know it meant a lot to me. You seen a lot of things that my team needed and I wasn't able to bring that to the table because I wasn't playing. So just actually just being in the Elite 8 now... We went there last year, but we're not going to settle for just being there we want to move forward and just keep working hard."
Zeller: "It means a lot. Losing to Kentucky last year was something that has kind of always weighed on us, so hopefully we can have a better showing on Sunday and have a chance to go to the Final Four."
Listen to Audio (1:57)
"Me and 'H' were joking that a year ago he was a little beach boy from Wilmington. I don't think he thought he would be in this position, but he is. He's handled himself extremely well and I'm really proud of him."
When will you know if you can play on Sunday?
"I'm not talking about me. Tonight it's about our team."
Listen to Audio (2:42)
Did you have butterflies before the game?
"There were definitely some nerves, but we're in the Sweet 16, so you just have to put it away, step up and be a man. I definitely had help with coach (Roy Williams) and Kendall off to the side always giving me tips and seeing what they see. The No. 1 thing for me was to not turn it over, get the team into the offense and feed the ball inside because we had a huge size advantage inside."
"I have bigger goals right now than just winning in the Sweet 16. This team is good enough to win the national championship."
Listen to Audio (3:33)
On the final play of regulation:
"It was just a clear-out, take what the defense gives you. I tried to penetrate. I probably should have pulled up, but the lane opened up so much I thought I could get there."
On his poor shooting night:
"I didn't know numbers, it was obviously some terrible percentage. But at the end of the day, you've got to make plays no matter. You've got to put that aside and try to go out and win the game."
Listen to Audio (13:00)
"Awful proud of our guys for the way that they fought when things weren't going well during the game. And there was some stretches where we had to fight through some adversity; they have done that all year.
"But as I told them in the locker room, there's nothing I can say to them at this point that's going to take away the sting of getting beat in that one. They got a lot of pride and they believed all year that we could compete and beat anybody that we played. That was no different heading into tonight's game and, unfortunately, they just made a few more plays than we did. We had our chances, and they did as well. They took advantage of some of their chances a little bit more, especially in the overtime than we did. And obviously they end up surviving and advancing. And it's it never feels good when you're into tournament and you got to go home.
"The biggest thing I'll miss is I enjoy being around these guys. I've enjoyed this team, the fact that we don't get to practice any more this season hurts me probably more than anything because of how much I've enjoyed being around them."
What were you guys able to do to bother Harrison Barnes? And also was there anything you could exploit with the point guard play of theirs with Marshall out?
"Obviously Barnes is a terrific player and he made some big plays for their team late in regulation and in the overtime. We just tried to battle him and compete, to be honest with you. We had some of our better defenders on him as well. Offutt's a terrific defender, Johnson's a great defender, and Hall has gotten better and is 6'6", and has some size. But he's a tough cover because he can score such a variety of ways. We were fortunate tonight with the effort that we gave on the defensive end and we just tried to make it hard on him and force him into tough twos. And I thought we did a good job of that the majority of the night.
"In terms of the point guard play, I thought the young man did a really good job. Coming into the situation, I thought he and Watts did a really good job. They were steady, obviously their interior play. And then I thought Bullock made some really big threes. We got hung up on the screen there in the overtime. We lost him in transition when D.J. was down under the hoop when we were trying to scramble five on four.
"So he made some big plays as well. I just thought he was really steady. I thought he did a nice job. In terms of exploiting, I thought we got in the lane a little bit, certainly I'm not saying that's his fault. Thought Cooper did a good job of getting the ball in the lane in the second half and spraying the ball out as we spread the floor and we tried to attack in that manner."