They’re hard to guard. They put so much pressure on you. During the course of the game, I thought they were shooting 70 percent from 3. Then I looked down, and they shot about the same thing we did. They’re hard to guard. We were hard for them to guard inside, but it’s a battle. We tried to get it inside, tried to play to our advantage there, and they spread us and drive us and shoot 3s and play to the advantage that they have because our big guys have got to come out on the court. … We had it 13, 14, 15, whatever it was. Then about five or six calls in a row went against us. They were calls, and they’re part of the game. Then all of a sudden they made a couple of big plays and made a couple of big 3s, we foul a guy needlessly on a 4-foot jumper, and then at the same time we missed a couple of shots and missed a couple of layups. All of a sudden, now it’s a one-possession game. When it got to be a one-possession game, that’s when Joel made the shot out front that we thought was a 3 but was really a 2. … They’re really hard to guard. Goodness gracious. We’ve had some big-time battles with them. It’s the fourth time we’ve played them in it seems like the last three weeks, but I guess it’s about a year.
On the importance of Joel Berry’s shot
Well, it’s always important. There’s no question about that. You don’t want to make it a one-possession game with them having the ball. It was a one-possession game, but we had the ball. I don’t think it ever got to a one-possession game where they had the basketball. That’s always important. Joel hadn’t shot it very well, Justin didn’t shoot it very well, and I was dumb enough to call Joel’s play from out of bounds underneath, and it went in. I told him that should give him some confidence, anyway. It was a big shot, but getting a stop on the other end may have been just as big or even bigger, especially when we turned it into a basket by Justin.
On Tony Bradley’s production
Tony off the bench was big for us, and I’ll tell you who else was big for us was Kenny Williams. Kenny has been struggling shooting the ball, and 4 for 6 from the floor, 3 for 4 from the 3-point line, three assists, and no turnovers. I think that was big for us, too. I’ve always said that it’s not just that five. We had six guys in double figures. I thought Tony had more than five rebounds. I thought he got five rebounds on one possession. He did some good things for us.
On playing in Greensboro
I’m glad that people in Greensboro got to see us play. I’m glad we were able to take a game here because that stupid rule that we have in our state, it took a lot of great opportunities from people in our state and great athletes who would like to do things in our state. I think that stupid rule – I guess it’s a law; a law is more important than a rule – I just think that it’s ridiculous what it’s doing to our state and the reputation of our state.
Playing here in Greensboro, I was really mad. Period. The end. I wanted to play in the Smith Center. The bottom line is that we have people in our university administration who made the best decision they can possibly make with the best information they had. I didn’t want to do this. I like playing in the Smith Center. But I trust our people, and they made a great decision. Right now, everything is cool in Chapel Hill. Restaurants are open, people can go to the bathroom, all kinds of stuff. And you can go into any bathroom you want to in Chapel Hill. But I didn’t like it, don’t like it, and never will like it. But it was not good for Michael (Brey), either. He would have loved to have played on Saturday. He didn’t care where we played, but he would have loved to have played on Saturday because that was better for him with the close changeover from here to his next game. And I told him that it wasn’t good for either one of us.
It’s been weird for us this year because we had Hurricane Matthew and the junk they put on us and the feelings that our administration had about that decision and the way that we played that night. We had the State game and problems that we had getting everybody to understand what we were trying to do, and we played great. This one here is the most weird thing I’ve ever been involved in in my life. My best friend in Kansas, a golf pro in Kansas, came to see us play and thinks he’s going to see a big-time Notre Dame-North Carolina game in the Smith Center. He spent two nights in a hotel, no meals at home, and had to leave at halftime to get back to Raleigh to catch his flight. So it wasn’t very good for anybody.
But the people here today, I’m thrilled. Those people were into it. I wish I could say thank you to every single one of them because they were important to us winning the game.
On game getting emotional in the second half
I didn’t let it go very well. I was pretty frustrated, so it was emotional at times for me, too. It was a frustrating series of events in that time period. ACC basketball is always going to be emotional. It’s down to the wire, and there are not many games decided where people leave and try to get out to the parking lot early.
On Isaiah Hicks
The Patriots are in good shape, and the Falcons are in good shape because they’ve got Ryan and Tom Brady at quarterback. You saw Isaiah throw it 10 feet over Seventh Woods’ head. He dang sure wouldn’t be quarterback. He didn’t play as well as I needed him to play on the defensive end, but he made some big baskets for us early and made a big free throw for us late.
On Kenny Williams
We had a discussion this week. I talked about, ‘Play basketball.’ It’s been a long time since he’s gotten an offensive rebound for a basket, and his numbers have been going down. I said, ‘Do you not trust me as a coach?’ He looked at me like I was weird. I said, ‘Well, I think you’re pretty good because I keep putting your rear end out there. So why don’t you have confidence?’ Those were big plays that he made for us today.
On Theo Pinson
We hope Theo will be back soon. He’s getting close, and he’s feeling great. We’re just trying to be cautious.