“We were active defensively and got some turnovers early in the game which I thought really helped us, you look at the points off turnovers, almost all of them were in the first half. In the second half, we didn’t scramble nearly as much, we went to the free throw line and missed some and we’re better at it when we make the second shot on the free throw and get into our scramble. Brice was good offensively, he did some good things for us. You've got six guys in double figures, and four guys setting a career high in assists, so 30 assists on 36 baskets is pretty good basketball, you like that part. No question I didn’t like the fact they shot 56 percent in the second half, but we were able to do okay. It got down to 12 or 13 or 14 -- something like that one of the coaches said -- but then we made some shots and it was fun watching us offensively after we did get a couple stops, and the way we shared the ball and found open three-point shooters or guys inside. I was frustrated with Luke, and yet the last time he was in there I thought he really did some good things. We’ve seen some of that really good play in practice and since Kennedy’s out we need another guy to be able to step up. I thought Joel did some good things, Isaiah did some good things, and we need all three of those guys -- Luke, Isaiah, and Joel to be able to step up while Kennedy is out. Made some shots during the first half and got them to miss a bunch of them except half court at the end at the buzzer.”
How do things change with whether it's Isaiah in or Joel?
“Not a lot. I knew I was going to start Joel (James) because he’s a senior, he deserved it, and he’s done some good things. I didn’t even look but I probably felt like Isaiah may even play more minutes. But Isaiah does a better job guarding the screen on the ball because he’s quicker but Joel was a force in their defensively clogging the lane up and making a couple really big time blocks for us too.”
Is playing Isaiah and Joel together something you've done before?
“We’ve done that a lot, we do it every day in practice too. The only change is on two occasions we went small, one at the very end not the walk-on group, but before that we had Justin and Theo as the 3 and 4. But we did also have them as the 3 and 4 early in the game in the first half and that helped us a little bit because they went small as well.”
Is this the kind of game where you can try different combinations?
“First of all I was trying to make sure we win, but there’s no question that you’re trying some things to see how it looks out there on the court as opposed to during practice because there is a little more stress and a little more pressure. But I think Luke Maye really is going to be a good player, you look at his stat line and it’s not that impressive, but I really think Luke Maye is going to be a really good player for us, surprise a lot of people. He’s got to get a little more confident, work a little harder, and I think if he does that he’s got a knack for coming up with the basketball on the boards.”
Brice seemed to take the Texas loss hard, what did you sense from him?
“I think he was Brice, I don’t think it changed. Kids nowadays they take it hard in the locker room and then on the plane they’re all joking around playing games and stuff and it feels like someone reached in and took out my heart. But Brice is Brice and you have to understand that, but 25 points and 10 rebounds I like that. But he has to play better defensively and he knows it. I think for a while there tonight he was really a man on the backboards, he got several offensive rebounds in a crowd, and we need him to do that.”
How do you go about helping someone limit fouls?
“Guys just have to play hard the time. Marcus’s first foul today was because Brice wasn’t where he was supposed to be. Then Marcus got a second foul in the first half so we had to take Marcus out for the last three minutes of the first half. So, Brice wants to be it, but he’s got to want it more and he got to be more active and be more effective. He’s getting frustrated with himself and I like that, I want him to care, I want him to be ticked off, if you don’t play well I want it to hurt you. Last year he and Isaiah both had trouble making too many silly fouls and in the game the other day in Texas a couple of Brice’s would go in that category. You can’t make silly fouls, your first foul is a silly one and then all of a sudden you get a second one, then that means you don’t play as much. I think he played five minutes in the first half. If he’s one of our best players I’d like for him to play more than five minutes, and he must be one our best players because I keep running him out there in the starting lineup.”
What are you most pleased with in terms of Joel Berry's progress?
“He had a really good preseason, if you go in there right he’ll tell you he had nine assists and three turnovers because he went brain-dead three times. I want him to be 9-0, tonight would’ve been an easy night for him to go 9-0 because his three turnovers - a guy at this level usually doesn’t just jump up in the air and come back down with the basketball without passing it, some of that. Joel had a great preseason for us, he’s been really big for us in a lot of games, and I think he’s just going to get better and better and better. The good things is he understands his mistakes and understands what he needs to do and now he’s just got to do it. I think I even said at the end of the preseason that he and Marcus had had the two best performances in the preseason.”
To put Justin Jackson at the top of that trap atop the zone, what are you looking for from him?
“From up there he has to be more effective. What I like is he had four offensive rebounds tonight, I told him and Theo we gotta get more rebounding from the 3 spot. We played the trap I think four possessions, we haven’t practiced it enough so we have to get a lot better, Justin plays there, Theo plays there, Kenny plays there. Kenny may be more effective there than the other two guys so we have to keep working at it.”
With Kennedy out does that affect you more defensively than anything else?
“I think it does affect us defensively because it’s hard to move him around in there but I think it affects offensively as well because of all our big guys he’s our best passing big man. Tonight's (assist-turnover ratios): Brice was 0-2, Joel was 0-0, Isaiah was 3-0, and we need to have good assist-turnover ratios. Kennedy is the best passing big man we have, so it hurts not having him on both ends of the floor right now. But bottom line is we don’t have him right now so we have to play with who we have.”
UNC-Tulane: Roy Williams Postgame