UNC-UL: Roy Williams Postgame
“A little bit different than five or six nights ago. You’ve heard me say it a thousand times, everything looks better when the ball goes in the basket. In fact, I think probably Marcus’s layup that he made tonight was more difficult than the one he missed the other night. We were very fortunate. Louisville is a great club with a great coach. They jumped on us in the second half. Rick’s halftime talk was a lot better than mine. We turned it over I think three or four times in the first five minutes of the second half. It didn’t look good at that time. I told the guys that I was always confident we were going to come back, [but] I just didn’t know if it’s going to be enough. I was really confident that we would have a chance to win at the end, and we made some baskets. We got fortunate they missed some. I thought we were down nine or 10 – I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the scoreboard – but they say we were down 13 with 8-something to play. Kennedy [Meeks] made a couple free throws and then Marcus made a couple baskets. Joel Berry made a big three for us, no question about that. J.P. [Tokoto], who I didn’t think had played well at all, made two big baskets for us down the stretch.
“We came up with a nice steal in the press, and then the next time they lay it up on the other end so that was the end of that kind of press. You just feel very fortunate. I think after the first T.V. timeout or maybe after my timeout, I don’t know… I think we only had one turnover the rest of the way and I think that’s crucial, too. We had several objectives. One was to win the battle on the backboards and I think we did that. Another one was to try to play without fouling, and we allowed them to shoot 11 free throws.
“We only got 11 ourselves, but we kept them off the free throw line. The turnovers after that first part of that second half…We had seven I think at halftime, and we did have either three or four early in the second half. And I think after that we only had one. It would have been a killer if their shot had gone in. There’s no question about that. It would have broken our hearts, but you always have a chance to bounce back too. It was a great, great, great afternoon for about four seconds there at the end, but I can take that because it’s because it’s those kind of things, those four seconds linger a lot longer.”
On if the final possession was improvisation or a set play:
“There was some improvisation the other night and the play worked perfectly. Brice [Johnson] was wide open at the basket, but they had pressure on the ball and J.P. couldn’t throw it and Joel didn’t set the screen. Today we tried to run a set play and then break into freelance at the end of that. We did want to get Marcus the ball coming to the top of the key and see what happens after. We had a screen for a guy to go to the basket and a couple other things.”
On if he asked Marcus Paige if he was okay during a dead ball after Paige returned from the locker room:
“Yes, because I thought I saw him limp. And he’s had a bad foot; he’s got plantar fasciitis. It’s been really difficult for him. He stepped on Montrezl’s foot or Montrezl stepped on his, and he just rolled his ankle is all it was. So he went in and they did a re-tape job, and I asked him, ‘How does it feel?’ He said, ‘Fine,’ and I said, ‘All right, let’s try it and see.’
“I told him he’s a tough little sucker. If we had five guys out on the court as tough as he was all the time, it would be a lot more fun.”
Did Marcus’s injury play a factor in the game late at all, or will you always planning on going to him?
“I think he’s our best player. Ten years ago if I had Tiger Woods, I wanted Tiger Woods to make the shot, not Roy Williams. I’d be the ultimate role player, I’d carry his dad gum bang anywhere he wanted me to carry it. I have confidence in Marcus. He’s a tough kid and we did want to get the ball into his hands on the last play, and he made a heck of a drive.”
What does a big time win like this mean going forward?
“It means that I feel a heck of a lot better on Saturday night. Until midnight, I’m going to feel great and then we will start thinking about who is coming next In our league you just sit back and think, its ridiculous, it’s off the charts. Every game is going to be a battle. I’m not trying to a context that it really isn’t. But it’s very good teams, very good coaches, great arenas and great crows. It’s a big time atmosphere every time you play. It’s one game, but our guys feel awfully good right now compared to what they felt since Monday night.”
Can you talk about what Nate gave you off the bench?
“The first half is when he made the two three’s. The second half I still think he did some good things and particularly with Marcus’s ankle bothering him, I think taking that responsibility and a little more ball handling out there. And Nate’s pretty good defensively too, so I think he gave us some help in every area.”
Were you happy with Brice’s energy tonight?
“I was. We were in a set play when we were down by one. Threw it to him and Montrezl made an unbelievable block. But Brice did some good things. Early, I thought he was really good rebounding wise, he had 11 rebounds, but he had eight at half, and he only had three in the second half. We were fortunate, that’s the bottom line. In this game, in this league, against these kind of teams. If that last tip had gone in I think it would have counted. The other night we were dying because we didn’t get that last play and today, Louisville didn’t get the last play. It was stupid on my part because we might have been able to get a timeout, but it happened so fast. They did a great job of getting the ball in, because we had a foul to give. But they got the ball in and attacked so much I didn’t get a chance to call the timeout.”
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