UNC-UConn: Jim Calhoun, UConn Player Quotes

The Huskies coach, Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon addressed the media following the game...

Opening statementr
"First off I would like to like to congratulate North Carolina. I have watched enough tape of them and they have played some good games. I thought in the first half they came in and body checked us and got into our stuff and wouldn't let us move and I didn't know some of that was allowed, but regardless, you need to adjust the way they are calling the game and they were allowed to get into our bodies and took us out of our game and so a lot of credit to Roy after a tough loss at Maryland to come back and really, really, once again, get in to us and really do a great, great job and kind of bury us. We did not have any great speeches at half time we just had to start playing basketball again and get the ball down inside to Okafor. We displayed the heart of a champion in the second half and did a terrific job but what we just didn't do was finish off the way we need to finish off to be a championship team. It was a hell of a basketball game. I will say one other thing, I hear about the "wine and cheese" crowd here at North Carolina and I don't know where the hell they are but they were not here today. That is the most bogus thing I have ever heard in my life. We were here last year and the crowd was great and this year the crowd was even greater. This is one heck of a home court advantage."

On the performance of Rashad McCants:
"What Roy Williams should do is schedule us 26 times a year. Last year he had 27 against us and this year he had 27 against us. So keep scheduling us and he will have a real good time. We don't have a match-up for him. We kept loosing him and conversely he rises to big games. He has always been a great player and he is one of the most talented kids in America. He was immense today and I also thought Jawad Williams was great today. I thought Okafor had a hard time adjusting to him."

If you are going to play North Carolina again this season do you change your game plan?
"Yes, we don't get down by 15. That would not be in the game plan. Secondly, we study game tapes, and we have studied six games and some of what went on here today we haven't seen all year from them. So how was I supposed to know what was going to happen here today. They rose to the occasion. Change my game plan? I would give the ball to Emeka five more times, don't miss foul shots and don't turn the ball over 21 times."

Emeka Okafor

Everyone described your offensive game coming into college as crude. Now you are very polished. How did that happen?

A lot of hard work. A lot of late nights in the gym. A lot of help from coaches.

When you have people like Roy Williams say you are the best player in the country, does that still surprise you that they are talking about you?

It's an honor but I don't let it go to my head. Success can lead to failure if you get to happy where you are. You always have to take compliments in stride but remember what got you where you are and keep working.

Two years straight you guys have come down here and had tough losses. Last year, you had early foul trouble and didn't do much. Did you make an effort to not play like that again?

I was going to do whatever I could. Come in here and play hard and go from there.

The officials were letting it go under the basket. Is that the type of game you like?

Yea I like it. When the officials let us get physical, I like that type game. That's where I am best.

Talk about the last play…McCants hits a big three…

McCants hit a big three (laughter). That's it.

On Gordon's last shot, was there any set play there?

We had six seconds and that's a lot of time, but it's not a lot of time. Just enough to get across half court and once we get across half court, you take whatever you can get.

Ben Gordon

What about having Taliek Brown on the bench at the end?

It's tough but we've been in that situation before. We know how to win when he's in the game and when he's not in the game. Today we just came up short.

What did Carolina do to affect your game?

It really wasn't anything in particular they were doing, just some days it goes in, some days it doesn't. I was getting the shots I usually get. Maybe I was a little off rhythm and some were in and out.

Will you replay this game in your mind or is it over and gone now?

Definitely, I'll try to see the mistakes I made and try to learn from them. Down the line, it's pay off.

Talk about last play…

It was drawn up so I could run off a screen from Denham [Brown], and then look for my shot and if I didn't have it, kick to D for the three. But it didn't really go like that. It wasn't easy to run that play. They left Denham and doubled me so I couldn't see him. So I swung back middle and got a decent shot but it didn't fall.

Inside Carolina Top Stories