UNC-TU: Roy Williams Postgame

UNC's head coach spoke to reporters following his team's 95-75 win over Tulane at the Smoothie King Center on Friday.

Opening comments:
“Well, that was a little ugly at times. Yet you look at the stats and there were some things that were really good. Justin Jackson 9-for-12, Isaiah Hicks 7-for-8, Tony Bradley 5-for-7. In the first half we had 14 assists on our 17 baskets. Outrebounded them 52-38, but we should have a big rebound margin. Kennedy had 15 rebounds, but the problem is he had seven offensive and five after he missed his first shot. That helps your rebound totals but kills your field goal percentage. Cameron Reynolds was really effective for them, 5-of-6 from the 3-point line. We didn’t get our big guys out to play him or get back to him soon enough.

“We did have 10 guys to play double figure minutes. It was a plan that we wanted to do. We wanted to play a lot of guys and get a lot of time in. I would have played Seventh Woods even more, except he got into some foul trouble in the first half with two fouls. In that kind of situation, I’d rather not have Joel play 30 minutes, so we need Seventh to stay out of foul trouble. But it’s on the road, it’s a win. Did some good things, got some things that we can learn from. We’ll grade the tape and let them see the tape tomorrow, then have a short practice and try to get ready for Chattanooga on Sunday.”

Your team went on a 26-10 run in the first half to build some separation. What did you see during that stretch?
“Probably passed the ball better at that point. We were losing our guys defensively and never got back to Cameron. I know he made a couple of threes right before that run. But we shared the ball. That was the best part of it in the first half.”

Isaiah Hicks did not commit a foul until the second half. How important is it for him to play with that type of awareness?
“Well, today is a very good sign. We’ve worked on it for three years. If you go through his career, he’s probably committed more fouls than anybody in Carolina history per minute. But it was extremely important for us today to get him in the game and do those kinds of things.”

Can you talk about Berry taking over the leadership role?
“Well, he’s been doing that in practice. I said something about it this week. He leads more by example than anything. We’ve got to get Isaiah, Tony and Kennedy to realize their man is setting a screen for them in the backcourt. It’s inexcusable to let him get cracked like that when he’s working the guy in the backcourt, so we’ve got to do that, but he’s a tough guy. I was stunned when he missed those two free throws – what did he finish up with, 7-for-9? – but he’s had a good preseason. He’s played well for us.”

If Isaiah is more aggressive in defending on the perimeter, is he liable to pick up more fouls?
“No, I don’t think so. We weren’t in the same neighborhood when he shot them today. You’ve got to be closer to get a foul. We weren’t even in the same area code with them there for a while. But Isaiah hasn’t ever really gotten his fouls on guarding the ball shooting. He’s always gotten his fouls on posting up or fighting through a screen or boxing out or pushing a guy, something like that…

“We had two straight offensive fouls, Isaiah and Tony back-to-back. Two three-second calls, the first time I think in my coaching career. I’m going to treat those like technicals. You get a three-second call, you’re going to have to run for it, because you’ve got to move, you can’t stay in there.”

Was Kennedy a little quicker off his feet tonight?
“I’m not real positive when a guy goes 4-for-13. I was really mad at him. I want him to get the ball and shoot it quicker instead of holding it so long and drawing a crowd. If the second half, defensive backboards I think he really did a nice job. He came up with some loose balls and got one he chased all of the way into the corner. I’m just not pleased with what he did offensively, no.”

You had three guys that didn’t miss a shot in the first half. That’s a bit rare, wouldn’t you say?
“Well, we hope we take the really good shots all of the time. You can shoot a high percentage if you take really good shots. We work on shooting a heck of a lot and shooting the shots in practice that they’re going to get in the games.”

Why did you decide to start Kenny Williams tonight?
“Just felt like it was probably something I was going to do. I have no idea. I let the staff vote, and it was 2-2, and I made the decision. Pretty easy deal. I really had intended to change the lineup at halftime, but I was chewing on them a little bit and got out there a little late and didn’t do it.”

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