UNC-Duke: Roy Williams Postgame

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Roy Williams speaks to reporters following North Carolina's win over Duke on Saturday at the Smith Center.

Opening comments:

“... It was a big-time game. I don’t know how many lead changes, but there were a lot of them. When the score was tied, the timeout before I told Justin [Jackson] to take another split second, to get set a little bit more. I think he did that and made the three at the top of the key, and that gave us a three-point lead. Then when we went up six, they cut it back to one, and that’s when Joel Berry made a tough layup inside. Joel scored seven in a row. After that, for us, we really wanted to do a much better job inside the paint area than we did over there. And I think we did that. We got them 44-26 (points in the paint), 15-5 points off offensive rebounds. But again, Joel Berry shooting five for five from the three-point line. You’ve always heard me talk about balance, and I think we had to have that. Needless to say, he’s the only one that made one until Justin made that three at the top of the key. Isaiah [Hicks] was big. We kept him out of foul trouble today. Twenty-one points, nine rebounds, and a missed dunk. I told him about that, too. If you can’t dunk, don’t try, but I really believe he can. It’s a big time win.

"We lost our first game in the conference season at Georgia Tech, and we did not play well. Our activity level was not there. Our focus was not there. Our effort was not there. Our brain was not there. Since then, we’ve played pretty doggone well. A couple of teams, Duke at Duke, Miami at Miami, Virginia at Virginia, hit us right in the mouth, but we’ve bounced back and played some better basketball after that.

"Our defense is very frustrating. We kept getting them on the free throw line. They shoot 35 free throws. When the other team shoots 14 more free throws than you do, that usually means you lose. We were able to make some at the end when we got the lead. Our defense was good at times, but at times it was ugly. They’re an awfully powerful offensive team.”

The improvement in the inside game from the first Duke game, was that related to Isaiah being in tonight?

“I said I didn't want to use it as an excuse, but we are better when Isaiah is playing and playing well. Needless to say, if you’ve got 22 minutes played and scored 21 points and have nine rebounds, he’s playing and playing well. I screamed at him one time because Jayson Tatum takes one dribble and drives in and lays it up. It’s a hard matchup, but he’s good enough to do it. He was big for us tonight. That area of the court was big for us tonight and they did a better job over there with that than we did.”

Your team seemed to do a better job defending the three ...

“That was one of our three biggest emphases. They made 13 threes in Durham and we made four - outscored us there by 27 points and that was hard for us to make up inside. It was a huge factor for us in the second half - they were 3-11. They didn’t seem to shoot it as well. Some were open, but I think we did bother them. A little more effort and a little more intelligence...”

What does it say about this team to win the ACC regular season title by two games?

“Winning the league and winning it by two games is something we’ll always be proud of. I think it is the best league. Top to bottom, there’s no league in the country like it. Now we’ve got to back it up and do in the postseason what we did last year. We showed everybody that we’re the best league last year with what we did in postseason. Up until this point we’ve shown that we’re the champions.”

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