UNC-UNI: Roy Williams Postgame

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Roy Williams talked to reporters following North Carolina's win over Northern Iowa on Wednesday night at the Smith Center.

Opening comments:

My Christmas wish at halftime was to play better defense. And I think we did, but also they missed some shots that they normally make. I thought Kennedy Meeks was the difference. I got so mad at him in the first half. We talked about No. 2 - Klint Carlson - going left and he lets him drive there and lay it up left-handed. I was also discouraged with Isaiah and Joel because they both had two fouls and I couldn't play them as much. ... But in the second half I thought defensively we were much better. For us, good defense leads to some breaks...

Did you like Kennedy's defense in the second half?

That's just what I said. I thought he was the difference in the game in the second half. He was into it, he got his arm out there denying, you saw him switching, you saw him playing defense the way he can play ... I went and told him... some things about how as a coach I was really proud of him.

He got the free throw line nine times. How much more assertive was he on that end?

Well, in the first half they are doubling big to big so you have to make a quick move and throw it out. We let that bother us more than we did in the second half. ... And he was aggressive going to the offensive boards, too.

You went with that small lineup for a long time to close the first half. What did you like about that group?

We were still in the game. Joel had two (fouls), Isaiah had two ... They went with only one big guy and four perimeter guys, so we went with Justin as the four-man to try to match them up. And I told our guys that I didn't want to do that in the second half -- I wanted them to have to match us.  I wanted to go big and that depended on Kennedy and Isaiah playing, playing defense without fouling and being productive inside...

What's the difference between Kennedy now from a year ago?

Against Wisconsin I thought he was sensational. I thought he was the best player we had in the game. In the second half I thought he was the best player in the game for us today. He's got to have that attention, and he's got to have that attention to detail and listen. Defensively, I have no idea who's going to win defensive player of the game but I think he's going to have the best grade that he's had in a while. Last year he stayed out of Brice's way - that is the best thing he did because Brice was pretty doggone good ... now he's helping us on the defensive end and scoring in the low post.

Do you have any reaction to the report that the NCAA has sent UNC a third notice of allegations?

My reaction is I'm tired of this junk. I've said everything I'm going to say. I felt all along that we have done the right thing and whatever they do they have to do ... I did have one goal and I'm going to have to change it. I had hoped that the NCAA thing would be over with before I retired, and now I'm hoping it will be over with before I die.

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