“I’ll say the same thing I said last Saturday: Things look better when the ball goes in the basket. At the start of the second half, the ball went in really well for us and our depth wore them down. We caught them on an afternoon when things were going really well for us and not so well for them. Early in the second half, we made a bunch of shots in a row and I told the guys in the locker room I was happy about that, but I told them I was really pleased because I thought defensively we were more involved, everybody. In the second half, we were even more involved than we were in the first half. They’re hard to guard, they spread you, set a screen on the ball three to four times every possession, so our big guys had to help and guards had to get there too, but I thought we did a pretty good job with that. Like I said, the ball went in the basket for us, and it didn’t for them.”
Did you have to challenge the team after Wednesday’s loss to Duke?
“Not really. Everything I say, it acts like I’m taking credit, but the kids just did a good job. We did not practice Thursday. I came, I went to a high school game in Raleigh Thursday morning, I came back here just to see if I saw any guys around. I went down in the weight room and I think 11 of our guys were in the weight room on their own Thursday afternoon, just because we’d decided to give them the day off. Originally we had a practice scheduled, and after the game, I decided to give them the day off. So Friday, when we came in, I showed them two plays of the Duke game and said ‘Alright, now that’s all we’re gonna talk about, that’s behind us now.’ Our focus with the scouting report and every possession we were out there on the court today will be on Miami, and we never mentioned the Duke game again. Pregame meal today, we never mentioned anything except Miami, and the kids really did a great job of focusing.”
Which two plays did you show from the Duke game?
“That’s for me to know, and if I tell you I’d have to kill you. It was just two plays where we didn’t show effort or concentration. One of them was the last play, because we should have had a screen that would have had Marcus Paige wide open for a great shot.”
Did this have the feel to you of a defining moment type game given what happened on Wednesday and first place being on the line?
“No. It had a feel for me of our guys bouncing back and playing pretty hard. I told them in the talk on Friday before practice, when we were talking about all of that stuff, I said ‘Guys, I’m ticked off at the world. I didn’t go to bed, didn’t go to sleep, all that kind of junk that happened, but the fact of the matter is we’re 10-3 and tied for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and every coach in the country would take that.’ So I wasn’t gonna lay back on my side and have this ‘Woe is me’ kind of crap, and I told them I didn’t want to hear any of that junk from them. So they took care of it, but it’s a long season. If we lay an egg on Wednesdaynight, you guys will ask me what the hell is going wrong.”
Was this game as connected as your team has been with each other all season?
“I think we wore them down a little bit, because a lot of it was on the break. We ran two set plays and they both worked, but I think my favorite play of the game was when we pitched ahead to Justin Jackson and he caught it, no dribble, and threw it to Brice (Johnson) for a layup. We moved the ball really well, and I think, and hope, as always, that our depth wore them down, because I like playing a lot of people.”
Did ball-screen defense contribute at all to Isaiah Hicks getting the start?
“No. I decided I want to start him. It had nothing to do with anything, except I wanted to start him.”
What as the theory behind starting Hicks, and did you like what you saw out of him?
“I just said: I wanted to start him, and as coach, I get the privilege of playing who I want at that specific time, and I decided I wanted to start Isaiah. He didn’t bring any apples or anything like that, I just decided to start him.”
Miami had 10 offensive rebounds in the second half and 1 by the time you pulled your starters, what led to that?
“I was mad at the starters, because at halftime I told them ‘Let’s give them none in the second half.’ They had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, and we had 8. We’ll have to run for that one in the second half, because I told them we didn’t want any. We had more points on offensive rebounds in the first half than they did, but they did have 10. They had three more possessions in the first half than we did.”
Did you like what you saw from Isaiah Hicks’ start?
“It was okay, but I’ve liked what Isaiah’s done the whole year. I’ve talked about him almost at every press conference. I may change it back. Boston College, I took Justin (Jackson) out, and that was really, really intelligent. I said I had no idea if it was gonna work, but I’m gonna try it, and he played very well, and he’s played well since then.”
Have you made more of an effort to give Marcus Paige minutes at point guard?
“We’ve been trying to do that all year. At the start of the year, it was gonna be he was gonna play a lot at the point. But, he got hurt and missed six games, when he came back, his right hand was still a little—He favored it dribbling the ball. So, we stuck him at the two, and we started winning, and I still wanted to get him more time. A couple of weeks ago, I told him what I wanted to do, and he wasn’t aggressive as he wanted to be, so we focused on it a little bit more yesterday at practice.”
Was his extended minutes at point guard because of how well Theo Pinson played today?
“No. It had nothing to do with Theo. Nothing to do with Theo. I was pleased with Theo.”
Were you curious what you would find when you went to the weight room Thursday morning?
“No. There’s two of them I wanted to talk to. I was only there 30 minutes, because then I got in a car and we rode to Concord and saw a high school game up there, so I saw one in Raleigh in the morning and one in Concord that night. I just wanted to see if anyone was around so we could talk to make sure they weren’t giving me this ‘Woe is me’ stuff, because I’ve tried to make sure I’ve never felt sorry for myself my whole life, so I don’t like that to happen to my teams.”
“Doug Gottlieb, I don’t care, said that I was going to retire and Hubert was going to replace me. That’s sinful. Sinful. You have no frickin’ idea what you’re talking about. The guy who said that couldn’t even put his damn pants on the right way when he was playing at Oklahoma State. The Kansas crowd were saying, ‘Shorts on backwards! Shorts on backwards!’ And Doug, I like Doug. But that’s not journalism. Don’t make up crap. So Oklahoma State got in a little circle and Eddie Sutton made him take his pants off and put them on the right way. He didn’t even have his dadgum pants on the right way.”
Video courtesy GoHeelsTV