UNC-WFU: Roy Williams Postgame

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Inside Carolina's postgame coverage includes video and quotes from head coach Roy Williams's postgame press conference following UNC's win over Wake Forest.

Opening comments:
"It was a weird night for us. We were a little low on personnel. We lose Theo [Pinson] and then at the end we lose Nate [Britt], too. Justin Jackson played the entire second half and I think Marcus [Paige] may have played the entire second half. We needed them to do some things like that. It's a tough stretch we’re in, four games in an eight-day period. Our shot selection in the second half was much better than it was in the first half. We had one two-minute stretch where J.P. pulled up and shot one on the break when it was 2-on-2 and we needed to run clock. Brice sets an illegal screen or whatever and got an offensive foul called. I don’t know if it was an illegal screen or just pushing off. And then Brice throws it away trying to hit Jackson on a back door cut, so our brain went dead for about those four possessions, but other than that, I thought in the second half, offensively we were really good.

“We played more zone tonight than we've played in all of the other games put together this year, but we did because early in the second half J.P. [Tokoto], Kennedy [Meeks] and Marcus all three had three fouls in the first two minutes of the second half. We just tried to buy some time with it and hoped that they would hustle it like they did in man-to-man. They made a couple of threes but I do think it bought us time and that’s what we were looking for. It was a good, good win. We feel good about it."

You had four turnovers early but seemed to cut down on this miscues for the rest of the game.
“And you take away the offensive foul on Brice and his back door pass and it really would have been good. But we’ve been working, talking, praying, beating each other up and all of this kind of stuff about turnovers. We can live with 12 because we try to do some things offensively. We can’t live with 17 or 18 or what we’ve done sometimes.”

On Justin Jackson’s improved aggressiveness:
“I think he’s a very good player and I think we need him to be more aggressive getting to the backboards. I don’t think he rebounded it exceptionally well tonight – he had three rebounds and J.P. had six, and at halftime they had one apiece. So we did get more rebounding from him in the second half, but he does need to be more aggressive. He can score the ball. I think he made one three tonight, but he can shoot the ball from deep and also take it to the basket. We need him to step up and be the kind of player we think he can be.”

Brice Johnson led the team with 19 points, but you seemed frustrated with him in the first half. Why was that?
“You go back and you can look at the tape. The ball is laying right there. You’ve got to go get the dadgum basketball. It’s a pretty simple thing. I shouldn’t have to coach effort. He was scoring the basketball. It was a difficult matchup for him. If you want to play in the game, at least give me 100 percent. Yes, I was about as frustrated as I could be. I can live with about anything, but not a lack of effort.”

Did Wake Forest’s poor shooting play a role in your decision to play zone in the second half?
"I knew that, but it had nothing to do with the reason we did it. I wanted J.P., Marcus and Kennedy to have a chance to be in it at the end of the game. We did it strictly to see if we could stay out of foul trouble. I think that [Dinos] Mitoglou hit two threes and somebody else made one, and that was when we even substituted, and I said the heck with it. Then we went to our halfcourt trap, the 1-3-1, just to try to,.. You know, they pay me a lot of money to think sometimes over there and try to do something, so that's what we did."

On the progression of the North Carolina frontcourt this season:
"I said in the first press conference, I said the biggest thing was that a couple of guys had to step up and be big-time players. And I'll still say that right now, because from the perimeter, we're okay. Marcus hasn't played the way I wanted him to play, or the way he wants to play, but if the big guys give us those kinds of numbers, that's pretty doggone good."

“I liked the pace. Again, we’re still not going as fast as I want us to go. If we were better shooters, I’d want us to go even faster, but I’d like to be more selective on our shot selection. Shooting 60 percent for the game is extremely good. When we shoot the ball like that, I think we’re a very good basketball team, if you don’t play stupid sometimes.”

On the game plan for Devin Thomas:
"He’s is the guy that we try to concentrate on. There's no question about it. I thought Georgia Tech worked extremely hard to try to slow him down. I watched the Wake Forest games against Duke and Louisville when he just killed everybody. So if you're the coach, you're supposed to try to emphasize cutting back on the opportunities that their best scorer has. So we tried, but we were fortunate that he missed a couple of easy ones, too. He was something that we emphasized. Codi Miller-McIntyre too, because he goes to the hole so hard. We tried to build a wall to slow him down. It didn't work very often, but a couple of times it did."

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