UNC-Virginia Postgame Locker Room Report

CHAPEL HILL, NC -- Following a 71-67 loss to the Virginial Cavaliers, UNC Tar Heels Will Johnson, Melvin Scott, and Jason Capel answered questions from the media in the Carolina locker room.

Will Johnson

Unlike the previous two games, you guys were in it until the end. Are there any positives from this game?

"Losing is losing. I thought there were more positives today. We can take more things from this game, but I still feel like we should have won."

It looked like the team's struggles shooting and turnovers were two big things in this game, in the end.

"It was our decision-making down the stretch that hurt us -- rushing shots and throwing some risky passes. But I thought we did a better job on the boards in the second half.

"To win an ACC game, you have to be smart down the stretch. That's the main thing we have to learn from this game."

It doesn't get any easier from here. What do you do to get back into the right track?

"I think today was a step. I think we played better than we have been playing. We had a good practice yesterday, and I think this team is starting to realize what it takes, night in and night out, to compete in this league.

"We are going to start winning games, and we have a chance to do that on Wednesday. We go down to Florida State. They beat Duke at home, and they are going to be tough, but every game is tough. The most important thing for our guys to realize is that we have to bring it every night."

What was practice like this week after Wake and Maryland, with so many turnovers and playing really poorly at times?

"It wasn't fun. We had some tough practices, and we needed them. We are starting to re-commit ourselves to our work ethic and our focus. We got away from some things and Coach gave us a wake-up call – and we needed it."

What did he do?

"We just had hard practices. There's really no secret. After Wake and Maryland, it was obvious we had a lot to work on, so practices were longer and harder. It's a simple formula. I think the key to winning games is bringing that work ethic to practice."

Did he have a message for you after the Maryland game?

"He had a lot of messages. There was no single tell-all statement. I just think there were a number of problems, and we talked about it as a team. The main thing was just being tough, playing hard, and playing smart. We didn't do that against Wake. We didn't do that against Maryland. You have to take pridw when you're out there. You can't take anything from a loss if you don't play hard. I think we played harder today. Now, we just need to play smarter."

Melvin Scott

Can you build on this game, going into Florida State?

"Absolutely. We can build, but we have to make better decisions, take better shots, and continue to play hard. It was a close game, and we could taste the win, but it slipped away from us. We have to sew up the open patches in our game."

Do you feel like you are on the brink of getting over the hump, being able to pull out games?

"It's hard to tell. We keep trying to build from losses, but I think we are improving. We are getting better each game. We have to limit our mistakes, and we'll be fine."

This team takes a lot of perimeter shots. Are you trying to get the ball inside more?

"We're trying to get it inside, but they've done their scouting report. Everybody knows that Kris Lang is a dominant force inside. They have some big fellas too, and they aren't just going to let him walk into the lane and post up. We try to get it to him as much as we can. When he gets it, most of the time, they double-team him so he has to kick it out. We're a good shooting team. We shoot well in practice, but we just have to bring it over to the game. We hit some big shots tonight, but it was the little mistakes that hurt us."

Jason Capel

When you win by a point, you say "a win is a win," so does this loss hurt as much, even though you gave a great effort?

"We gave a great effort, but we lost, so that doesn't mean anything to me, really. I'm glad that, as a team, we fought, because we didn't put up a fight the last two games, but we still lost. I guess it's a good thing, but until we start getting some wins, Hell, I'm not going to feel any better."

Can you take any positives out of this?

"We played harder. But we lost. I guess that's a positive. We didn't give up. We fought the whole game, but we've got eight losses to get positives from."

Late in the game, what was the discussion about not putting Mason on the line?

"Don't foul him. Simple."

Where there other players that you were trying to foul or force to shoot the basketball?

"Obviously, we didn't want to foul Mason. We wanted to foul the other players."

What do you have to do to turn the close games into wins?

"I have no idea. I don't know. Whatever it is, we've got to do it."

What was Matt's message in practice this week prior to the game?

"Play hard, put up a fight, and focus on winning. We talked about giving a great effort. I think we need to focus on the game more, instead of just being satisfied with giving a great effort. That was the biggest thing – competing.

Can you take any moral victories from this?

"Nah. Nope. No moral victories."

Do you feel the season slipping away?

"No, the season is not slipping away. Absolutely not."

What frustrates you the most about this team?

"Losing. Can you all ask me some real questions please? I'm serious. This is ridiculous. What frustrates me about this team is we're losing. We're 5-8. That's what frustrates me about this team. It's that simple, and I think you all know that. I'm sorry, but – for real."

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