UNC-SJU Postgame: Locker Room Report

CHARLOTTE, NC -- Following a 92-76 drubbing of the St. Joseph's Hawks, <I>Inside Carolina</I>'s J.B. Cissell entered an upbeat Tar Heel locker room to discuss the win with the Tar Heel players.

Jason Capel

The mood seems a little lighter in here tonight than last night, don't you think?

"We won, man. We won against a good team. We won without Kris Lang. It's just the fact that we've been through a lot of adversity, and we came out here after a tough loss last night and performed and won is a really good feeling."

It seemed like you took the loss really hard last night, and you said that you had to get your teammates ready to play tonight. Did you do or say anything, and was there a players-only meeting?

"There wasn't a players-only meeting, but I think I talked to everybody last night and today during the shoot-around. I just tried to get everybody loose and have fun. I think you saw that during the game. I was out there acting silly, talking, laughing, smiling, just trying to get everybody to relax. We play tense a lot of times, and that hurts us, causing turnovers and things like that. I tried to get everybody to go out and have fun."

Matt said that the entire team needs to buy into playing with emotion and that you plug into him and the team plugs into you. It's all going through you. You are the common link. Can you comment on that?

"Yeah, that's why I get frustrated sometimes because I'm trying to get everyone to play -- I'm an intense person -- to play up to my level. I think these guys are doing a good job. They are working hard and we're going to get better. We have to have performances every night – a total team effort. If we do that, and guys play hard with a lot of emotion then we have a good chance of winning basketball games."

Matt is intense and wants to win, and he makes no secret of wanting to win. What has he been like with you through the adversity?

"He's been cool with me. He's been very demanding, and I have a lot of responsibility – more than I think I could have ever imagined wanting to be the team leader. But I'm dealing with it the best way that I can. It's tough that we're losing, and it's tough because I'm not having the type of senior year, individually and as a team, that I would like to. But it's a great group of guys. We all care about each other, and we are all working together. We know we're going to get better. We just have to get through the rough times to see the sunshine."

What do you think was the biggest factor in everyone stepping up tonight?

"I think it was the fact that we saw Kris wasn't playing. I think it's the fact that everybody came out carefree. Brian Morrison wasn't looking at the bench. He was turning and shooting, and that's the way he has to play. He has to cut down on his turnovers, but that's the way he has to play. Everybody came out playing their game, not looking over at the bench at Coach and just going out and playing. If we do that and play with confidence, we'll be a good team."

Do you think some of the guys are looking over their shoulders?

"Too much, way too much, way too much. That comes from inexperience, and that comes from trying to please coach, but you've got to be a basketball player and go out there and play."

Jawad Williams

The mood was pretty somber in here after the loss last night. What was the reason for you guys bouncing back tonight?

"We felt we had our backs against the wall. We had to come out and battle. We couldn't drop our heads and continue to think about our loss from last night. We had to come out and play."

It seems like Matt is pretty intense, and he wants to win – and he wants you guys to want to win. What's he been like through the adversity?

"He's been very confident. He said our shots are going to drop, and today it did. And we just have to build on that from here."

Jason said that some of the players on this team are looking at the bench and worrying. Is that the case?

"He gave us that confidence today. He told us to go out and play like we play in pick-up, like we did this summer. When we play pick-up, we play our best. We make mistakes, but we didn't care what happened. The worst thing to do was to get down, and we played pretty well tonight."

Melvin Scott

Last night you guys played tight at times. How did you come out so loose tonight?

"We learned from the loss yesterday. We didn't hang our heads. We were having fun. We were joking so much, one of their players said, 'Hey! Chill! Chill!' We stuck together, and we were happy and enjoying ourselves.

"Coach said he was not upset with us. The key for today was toughness. We gave it our all and hung in there. We were tough. Coach said you've got to be tough to hit shots. That's what we were tonight – tough."

What did Matt say after the loss last night?

"He said, 'Don't worry about it.' He was upset, but he said to get some sleep and get some rest. We wanted to put it behind us. We wanted to go into Christmas with a championship, but we lost. We didn't play tough enough and aggressive. He just said to play tough tonight."

What's up with Brian Morrison? He comes in and either has a bunch of turnovers and can't hit water from a boat or he's hitting from everywhere?

"When he looks to shoot and doesn't hesitate, he's a great shooter. Coach knows that, and we try to make him feel comfortable in the games. We just tell him to take good shots. Sometimes he has to take a bad – courageous – shot. I'm not going to say 'bad' because he makes them. He took a courageous one tonight, and that got him going early. We know B-Mo is a great shooter. We love him. We're going to live with him and die with him. If he has turnovers, Coach will slow him down, but tonight he was on a roll."

Unsolicited remark: (Pointing at Jackie Manuel) "Be sure you call him 'Weasel.'"

Brian Morrison

It seems like every third or fourth game that you explode offensively, and in other games you struggle and play inconsistently. Why is that?

"I really don't know. Maybe I'm not focusing or concentrating enough, but I'm going to try to concentrate every game, I guess. I really don't have an explanation for it."

Two of the three games that this team has won, you've had outstanding performances. Jason said that some of the guys on the team look over at the bench, rather than just playing. Do you feel hesitant and worried about making mistakes?

"I think that sometimes I play too hesitant. Tonight, and from now on, I'm going to go out and just play the way I know I can play."

Has Matt said anything to you in particular about your play?

"He told us all before the game to play like we would in a pick-up game – with structure, but with the confidence of a pick-up game. The big thing I was trying to do tonight – I've always had a swagger to myself – I was trying to play like that tonight."

I understand Coach Doherty lost a bet with you today on a half-court shot.

"Yeah. He had to run a down-back, down-back in 20 (seconds). He made it – barely."

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