UNC 96 A&M 62: Coaches Comments

Post game comments from UNC head coach Matt Doherty and Texas A&M head coach Melvin Watkins

Coach Matt Doherty

"First of all, I want to thank all the fans that showed up tonight. To have 15,000 plus show up is awesome. I want to thank all the fans and season ticket holders who are down in Atlanta who gave up their seats so people could show up tonight. I thought our fans were great. Great atmosphere, great crowd to show up on the 30th of December with the football team playing tomorrow night. I thought it a great testament to the fans.

"This was a great team effort led by Jason Capel with 22 and 16 rebounds. The effort plays, the unselfish plays. We had 26 assists on 37 baskets –I love the ball movement, I love the unselfishness, I love the team basketball. I think our defense has been pretty good. We held them to 35% from the field. At halftime, it was at 40 and we wanted to, in the second half, try to keep it under 40 and we did that.

"Turnovers. We had nine until Kris threw it out of bounds in the press offense and one more after against a team that presses so I am real excited about the way we handled the ball. Three games is a trend so hopefully we are trending in the right direction.

"Brian didn't have a turnover in two games and Adam Boone had six assists and two turnovers. One I thought could have been a foul. They are experienced players. Adam did a real good job of recognizing the changing defenses and we were able to take advantage of it. Good spacing, good ball movement. Again, I can't say enough.

"Kris Lang got some minutes so he got a taste of the action so going into Wake Forest, it won't be his first time back. Orlando, just wanted to get him a little feel too since he's still nursing his hamstring. Couldn't have gone any better I don't think.

"I thought our energy was pretty good. Energy is so important. You hear coaches talk about it. George Karl talks a lot about it and other coaches. To me, it's one of the biggest things. I challenged our team to come out with it and I thought we did. Brian, he creates excitement just by stepping out on the court because he's such an exciting player to watch. Jawad is becoming that way too. He had a missed dunk on a follow that brought me out of my chair and stayed after it. He's going by leaps and bounds. Every time you see him, he's doing something real exciting.

"As good as we were last year, winning 18 games in a row, I am as proud of this team right now because of what we have gone through. We've persevered through some trying times. People are saying things about us and counting us out, but we've stuck together. Again, that's a testament to Jason Capel and Kris Lang to get things headed in the right direction.

"By no means, and I said this after the A & T game, is everything fixed or we are going to run the table. I hope we do, but we realize that now we are going to be playing against better teams, better coaches, we are going to be playing in tougher environments. It's an exciting time, ACC basketball, there are no nights off in this league. We realize we have work to do but I think we have some momentum and some confidence resuming league play.

"I think this was our most complete game, against a very talented basketball team. A&M is a very talented team. They've been going through some hard times with some injuries and some inconsistent play. But they have big strong athletic kids.

"Our kids confidence is as high as it's been…This was a good test for us and we answered the test. I like the fact that we really controlled the game throughout. We didn't let up. The guys joke with me, I always say ‘No Let Up' and end up putting "NLU" on their shoes and on the board. When we have a team down I want to keep them down and I thought we did a good job of that tonight."

A&M Coach Melvin Watkins

"We got off to a pretty good start. What failed us tonight was once again our transition defense. We didn't do a very good job there and we have to give Carolina credit for the way they pushed the ball on us. We just didn't hit shots. We had some good looks. This was one of those nights where we couldn't put the ball in the basket after having some good looks. Once that happened, our defense became a little soft.

"Some of those came late and (we) had some good looks and we just couldn't hit the shots. Only three or four of them were questionable on our behalf, but the rest I would say take again if we had them. But tonight, we were not hitting them.

"They (UNC) are at home here and got into a rhythm. Then, of course, we tried to change our defense and I think we lost our confidence. The only disappointment that I had with the team was that our transition defense was very poor tonight. We did not do a good job there."

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