UNC-Duke: Roy Williams Postgame
“Well, it’s extremely disappointing. If you didn’t care who won the game, you had to enjoy a great college basketball game. It has certainly been hyped the last couple of days. If you happen to just like college basketball, then you had to enjoy that part of it, but I happen to love North Carolina. So, it’s not quite as agreeable to me. Everybody is going to talk about the missed free throws, but we made mistakes in the first two minutes of the game that counted in the game, as well. For the most part, I really, really enjoyed the toughness and the poise of my team. Yes, we missed some free throws, we missed some wide-open shots and one from the corner there that was a three that would have helped, but that’s college basketball. It’s 18-, 19-, 20- and 21-year-old kids.
“We’ve been through a tough stretch. We’ve lost three out of four coming in here. I am really proud of my team. They made some big plays. I thought Tyus [Jones] and Justise [Winslow] were really huge for them down the stretch. We had the lead and we throw the ball out of bounds down the court. Kennedy [Meeks] is the best passer I’ve ever had like that and he just threw it out of bounds. Then, Isaiah [Hicks] gets it and turns it over in the press. And yet, there were some weird things that happened. They missed some free throws and then we get the ball back and we miss some free throws. It was just two good basketball teams and the best team won tonight.”
Biggest positives coming out of the game:
“The first four minutes I thought we were brain-dead. We didn’t get off on a rear screen and then they got the lob. We just didn’t do what we wanted in the first four minutes and then it’s an eight, nine, or 10-point lead. After that, I really liked the way we settled down. Then we had another two-minute period in there where we just pushed a guy out of bounds and he ends up with a two-shot foul. Then we set an illegal screen, and we work so hard to set legal screens. Then we turned it over and it goes back to 10 or 11 or something.
“The biggest positive is the way we started the second half. It was a seven-point game at halftime. If they had made a quick run early in the second half then it’s really difficult, but I really liked what our team did. Some guys grew up tonight and some other guys have got to grow up tonight. It’s a marathon and in this league, it’s a tough marathon.”
On not doubling Jahlil Okafor late after Brice Johnson fouled out:
“Late in the game we stopped doubling Jahlil [Okafor] because we didn’t want to give them threes because we were ahead. Threes add up quicker than twos. It hurt us. Brice [Johnson] was 7-for-10, 18 points, 12 rebounds. Isaiah [Hicks] had 12 points, so it hurt us but that wasn’t the major part of the game. I don’t want anybody fouling out. I hated the fourth foul. His man was setting up a screen on the ball and he got cracked and he reached in and got the foul. We have got to stop making those silly fouls. If we would stop making those silly fouls, then perhaps he would have been in the game. Yeah, it hurt us, but the guy we put in did some good things, too.”
On the tribute to Dean Smith before the game:
“Mike and I talked for 30 seconds or so last week at Coach Smith’s private ceremony. Then I called him on Tuesday and he said he was just getting ready to call me. I had an idea and he had an idea, and it was his home court and his idea was better. I think it shows the class that this rivalry really has. Some people hate, hate, hate, and I want to beat their butts so bad I can taste it. But, there is a great deal of respect between the two programs.”
What did Joel James give you early:
“Early he gave us some baskets inside and some toughness. Jahlil is just a load if you’ve got one center, he is going to foul the guy out. Joel gave us something there. Like I said, it was such a weird game. We take the last shot of regulation and it was a dog pile. I thought we got murdered in that and there was no call, but the officials have to call the game by what they see. It was just a weird game. It was a physical game and two teams playing their butts off.”
It seems like he is very emotional on the bench, invested. What does that bring to your team?
“Well, he is invested, I really believe he is. We need everybody to be invested like that. You look down there - 12 minutes, five rebounds, six points. You need those kinds of things. There at the end when they were spreading so much, his agility is not as good as Kennedy’s or Brice’s or Isaiah’s.”
Besides the outcome, is this the type of game you like to see from your team?
“Yeah, but guys, I know the outcome… They played better than we did today. We get another chance and maybe we will play better that day. But maybe they will play better that day, as well. Like I said, it’s a long, long marathon with uphill stretches all the way. It’s a marathon in this league and you’re running uphill all of the time. We had four games in eight days, and then four games out of five on the road, so it’s has been tough.”
On that second-to-last possession, when it seemed frantic with Hicks eventually passing to Tokoto, did you consider calling a timeout to reset the offense?
“Yeah, but I liked Isaiah there 14 feet from the basket with nobody guarding him. He just didn’t realize how open he was. He could have taken one bounce and dunked the ball, probably. But I liked that part, even the jump shot that J.P. got was a pretty doggone good shot. That was not the option; it was not one, two or three.”
You mentioned that you thought some players had stepped up tonight. Who were you referencing?
“Well, I think Isaiah came in when I took Brice out. And I think Joel did some good things for us. J.P. was 7-0 [assist-error], Joel Berry was 5-1. J.P. has been struggling recently, but 15 points, seven assists, zero turnovers, eight rebounds. I think several guys did some good things.”
What was the play design on that last free throw attempt? It looked like you had three point guards on the floor.
“We were trying to intentionally miss it on the left side. We had Kennedy go across. He’s the biggest body we’ve got, so we had him go across and screen. Isaiah was right there. He just couldn’t come up with the ball. The play before that, close to the end of regulation, we had Kennedy posted up and we had Marcus coming off a screen, but neither one of them worked. You’ve got to congratulate Duke and its defense.
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