UNC-OSU: Roy Williams Postgame
“I thought we were fortunate and we did some really good things. I thought defensively we were pretty good and then all of a sudden at the end we started fouling on every possession and they were fouling and our best free throw shooters were missing free throws and turning it over and Kennedy missed a layup, maybe two inside six inches and it didn’t look good but we kept getting in to take one shot and that’s rebounding on the other end. I think they cut it to eight at one time, but I was very discouraged with the way we finished the half because they scored the last four points of the half on easy, easy shots.
“And I was really ticked at halftime. If I want the last shot, you know what I want? The last shot. I don’t want to shoot the ball with six seconds to play and give them a layup on the other end. That’s my fault as a coach, we’ve got to get people to understand last shot means last shot. But they scored the last four points and yet early in the second half we had missed, they had missed we’d make, they would make, and then we had some good plays. But it was just a weird, weird game for us at the end. Kennedy rebounded the ball really well, but we didn’t make enough shots, and yet our defense was pretty doggone good, or they missed some open shots that they normally make.”
What sticks with you more, the way you finished the game or the 30 minutes where you played pretty well?
“I’d say you enter both. A coach can’t say, ‘oh gosh, we were really good for 33 minutes, I’ll forget how we stunk it up the last seven,’ that just doesn’t happen. But I congratulated them because I think Ohio State is a very good basketball team, but we did some very good things, and had a lead, I don’t know what it was, it was one point at the second half, I know we had 16 in the first half. But we were controlling the game. I’ll tell you one thing. Marc Loving made a very difficult three from over in the corner, it goes all the way around, it goes up and comes back down and it was challenged, so you have to congratulate him. But if any coach can separate that he’s a better man than I am.”
Is the first half about as well as you’ve shared the ball this year?
“No. I wouldn’t say that. We had a 17 percent turnover percentage in the first half, and usually that means somebody is trying to hit a home run instead of making the easy play. I don’t think we had anybody in double figures; we had a lot of guys scoring. We share the ball. We’re not a selfish team but every now and then we make a silly play. J.P. trying to throw it in the middle against the zone when the game is on the line, and they bat it up in the air and turn it over. And Kennedy has three guys guarding him and he’s got Marcus Paige, who is a pretty good player standing out there wide open, so what does he do? He fakes the pass to Marcus. Faking a pass to an open guy is a very selfish act. We talk about that a lot. I told him I let Tyler Hansbrough try and score against two guys, but I made Tyler throw it out against three. So we’ll have some of those moments, but we are an unselfish bunch.”
How about Joel Berry?
“First half Joel gave us a nice lift. Second half, he should have gotten the lose ball over there in the corner. He did some good things. I guess he’s had at least three games in a row that he’s given us a spark and hopefully that will get him started.”
On handling the transition game:
“Until the very end we didn’t make many silly turnovers. We missed a shot, I forget who missed a wide-open shot, and it bounces out and Bryce tries to stop the fast break high. Bryce against Shannon in the open court is not very smart, so now they have a 3-on-1. In the second half that’s what I harped on in the timeouts more than anything is sprinting back and getting picked up. Because I thought that was one of the things that really hurt us. But they have ball handlers and shooters and they are athletic. They do a better job of making you turn it over with the zone than anybody except Syracuse, and I think they did a nice job of that.”
What was working so well against their zone, especially in the first half?
“We had good movement of the ball and movement of the bodies. I always say move yourself and move the ball intelligently, and I thought we did a good job of that. We didn’t make many shots. I’ve never seen Marcus Paige miss as many open shots as he had in the second half and two layups. But I still think that says a lot about how we can be, because eventually he’s going to start really playing. But I think it’s just ball movement and player movement.”
Do you like playing all these good teams for later on in the season?
“I like it a lot better than I did against Kentucky and some of those games that we’ve lost. But we’ve played, and I think I’m right on this, the previous 11 years, I think our schedule has been ranked in the top 25 every year. One year I think it was ranked as the most difficult schedule. I do believe in a tough schedule and hope that it gets you ready for later on. I am extremely relieved. I’m not sitting up here saying I’m as happy as you can possibly be, I don’t hear the happy song in my ears right now. I think we stunk it up down the stretch and I think we have to get better there.”
Where you expecting to have a big advantage inside?
“Their zone, there is a big hole right in there below the free throw line, but they are so athletic and quick and sometime they cover up for it. In practice trying to get our blue squad to try and simulate that. We’d throw in there and it was a bounce pass and a dunk almost every time, but they can’t simulate Ohio State’s practicing as much as they do and their athleticism. First half we shoot 52 percent and we missed a ton of really easy shots, but in the second half we didn’t shoot it as well.”
Did you talk to your players at all about being in the house that Jordan built?<\b>
“I think yesterday’s practice was weird for us because it was almost like we were out in left field. I said ‘guys come on, we’ve got to have more enthusiasm, we’ve got to have more spirit kind of thing.’ But I mean they’re sort of looking around. We practiced in the practice facility and came over and practiced over here. We went outside and had a team picture made in front of the statue, so it’s a great experience for the guys.
“He’s the greatest player to ever play the game. I feel very flattered, very honored that I helped recruit him, helped coach him, and I consider him a great friend. Every time I come up here I think about the few times I was in that locker room after they won world championships. I was up here two times when they won world championships. One of them might’ve even been in the old Chicago stadium, I’m not sure. But the house that Jordan built will always stand I can tell you that.”
On successfully defending D’Angelo Russell:
“We really thought D’Angelo is a really effective player for them, and has been every game. He can shoot the ball from three and he can take the ball to the basket. He is left -handed but he can spin and go right hand. And all our guys knew how good he was and we did try to emphasize to stay in front of the basketball. I watched last night up until one o’clock in the morning or something their tape of the Louisville game. In the Louisville game the whole second half he played point guard almost the whole half. And he was pretty doggone good in that game. And we recruited him early so I knew a little bit about him. But we hit him on a day when he missed some shots that he would normally make, and hopefully we bothered him a little bit.”
Heading into conference play, what would you like to see your team improve on the most?
“Nothing but the game of basketball. I’m serious. Everybody sort of giggles. There is not one phase that we can’t get better at, which is good. We need to shoot it better, we need to rebound better, we need to defend better, we need to talk more on the defensive end. When they got the lob for the dunk it infuriated me because it was just one simple little screen and we didn’t talk on it. So we need to talk so much better and get better defensively. The other thing, the kids need to have some pride and toughness because it’s a man’s game out there and we missed an awful lot of easy shots today.”
Do you think playing this game here will help you recruit in Chicago?
“No program really recruits to itself. If I go see a game, Calipari is there. If Calipari goes to see a game, Krzyzewski is there. We all work extremely hard. I’m not staying right here, I’m going to see a game tonight. I don’t think any program just recruits by itself; the coaches really work extremely hard. But we try to play about everywhere. I think North Carolina can recruit nationally and will always try to do that. There are a couple guys in this town that are pretty doggone good, every year, not just this year.”
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