UNC-FSU: Roy Williams Postgame
“We got the ‘W.’ It was a weird game at times. We really did some nice things with our execution on the offensive end, and also defensively, I thought we played well at times. But boy, [Xavier] Rathan-Mayes, we held him scoreless without a field goal for about four or five minutes, but all of a sudden, in the last 30 seconds he made three or four of them in a row. He was a difficult guy for us to guard. Sometimes he’d come off the screen, and a big guy would be there and the next time he would refuse a screen and beat our defender back to the basket and we didn’t do a good job of getting back and helping the helper. But I was happy. I’m proud of Brice [Johnson]. Brice’s back was bothering him, even in warm-ups. I told him I wish it was bothering him in warm-ups all of the time if he is going to get 18 and 14, but I was worried about him. Joel [James] hurt his knee; that’s the reason he couldn’t come back into the game. We tried some zone, we tried some 1-3-1, just a few things just to try to change things up and see if we could buy some time. But it wasn’t a very comfortable day for us, but that’s because Florida State is really good. A couple of times we thought we have very open looks to the basket and a couple of times they blocked it and other times our guys were afraid they were going block it, so we missed some easy ones. But you know, Brice had 18-14 and Marcus having 19 and playing as many minutes as he played, and J.P. [Tokoto]. Justin [Jackson] played 34 minutes, and I thought Justin, if he could have made a lay up and make some free throws, he would have had a big-time game. Everybody’s been saying too many good things about him the last few games so its right that he stinks so he can go back and be a better player again. [I’m] very pleased to win the game.”
Were you pleased with what Nate Britt was able to give you?
“Yes, especially in the first half, I thought he was really good. In the second half, he didn’t make a couple of passes and missed some shots. He’s a little guy. He has to understand that when he runs in there, I mean those guys have flyswatters. He’s leading the country in blocked shots when he thinks he’s got an open layup. I was really pleased. He showed some toughness today and he’s a tough kid. I asked him, ‘Are you sure you’re alright?’ and he said, ‘I’m fine.’ He has 15 stiches inside his upper lip, and its not very comfortable for him. I am very proud of him and he gave us some great minutes.”
Considering that you’ve had modified practices recently, what part of that approach has been most effective in the games?
“I think our sustained effort defensively. We were pretty good for the first 10 seconds and then all of a sudden we get into rarified air that we haven’t been before, and maintaining the defensive intensity and finishing. You know, they got 11 offensive rebounds, but they got a lot more of them in the first half than they did in the second. I think that just sustaining the effort, and then the other thing is that if you don’t have good practice time, it’s hard to execute under duress because we can’t put them in duress situations during the course of our practice. But we got some big-time offensive rebounds for us there today in the game. I think three or four possessions we got an offensive rebound and put it back in and that always helps.”
Considering the lack of practice time and the injuries, have you been impressed with your team’s ability to grind out wins?
“We’ve done a pretty nice job of that, but it’s still so early in the season. Who knows what’s going to happen the next 11 ACC games. If you’re not going to grind it out in this league, you’re going to get your tail beat. But I have been impressed that they don’t jabber at each other when somebody makes a mistake. They stick their head back in and say, ‘Alright, let’s go.” They pick him up, and at the same time, we keep trying.”
You talked about toughness a lot earlier in the season. How has the team evolved in that way?
“We’ve gotten better; we really have. Last year, James Michael McAdoo set the tone for everybody. All of a sudden, he was diving on the floor and taking charges. He set the tone. We talked about that at practice one day and said, ‘That’s the one thing we’re missing. Somebody’s got to step up.’ That old saying that one man makes a majority. If you step up, everybody will follow. Tonight we had several opportunities to take a charge and we haven’t gotten one yet. But we’re going to get one next game. I think we’ll get one next game, and if we don’t, we’ll have a ‘take charge’ drill in practice the next day, because we’re going to get one before I die.”
You had four players with three assists tonight. How important has the sharing-the-ball aspect been in your team’s recent improved offensive play?
“Thirteen assists and 29 baskets, that’s not a very good percentage for us. I would think that’s below average. Eleven points on offensive rebounds, that’s five right there that you can’t have an assist on unless you give a guy an assist for missing a shot. We do try to share the ball. Tonight, a couple of times we should have given it up sooner. Two times on the break in the first half, we throw it off a guy’s foot one time. Kennedy’s in the middle and we practice him in the middle of the fast break every day. Every single day. I’ve never had a practice where we don’t put a big guy in the middle of the court and let him handle the ball. Do the simple thing and it can help you. We are an unselfish team. 13-5 I like. I really like five turnovers. I really like that, and so hopefully we’re gaining some ground there. We do try to share the ball. Tonight, a couple of times we should have given it up sooner.”
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