You made at least three big tips on the free-throw line for the team. What are your thoughts on making those plays and the difference they make in a tight ball game like this.
"The coaches always teach us to be active on the free-throw line and try to get your inside hand up and tip the ball out. It's something that they teach to the bigger guys, Kris and Stick, but luckily it paid off for me today and made a difference in the game, obviously."
It looked like you were having fun out there today and it hasn't looked that way the last few games. I know you've had some things going on, personally, off the court. Is that the case?
"It's been tough. I've been dealing with a lot of stuff off the floor that's bigger than the game of basketball. I think the guys have really been there for me. It was good to go out there and try to forget about that, for once. I think this will help me to regain confidence and just go out there and play and have fun for the time that I'm out there."
What did it mean to you and the team to have former players travel to come back and be here in person to offer their support?
"It felt great. It felt great. We get the letters and stuff like that, but for those guys to be here to tell us that they believe in us and to keep our heads up [shows] how much loyalty and family there is as a part of Carolina Basketball and makes everything worthwhile to go out there and play."
Does it give some meaning to the term "Carolina Family"?
"It's loyalty. You can't depend on the media to be loyal. You can't depend on some of your fans to be loyal, but, as long as everybody who has put that Carolina uniform on is loyal to you, that's all that matters. Those people that care about you who know what you've gone through—for those guys to be here today really meant a lot."
How have you kept your sanity through this season?
"It's been hard. It's been hard. Like I say, you guys just don't know. It's been a hard season as a team, but, for me personally, it's been rough. Being the leader, I've had to try to put some of that stuff aside, but good things will happen in the end.
"We have a great group of guys, and we continue to work hard. Our season is not over. We can still make some things happen if we can get some momentum going into the tournament, and that's what we are trying to do."
From the time you got here, you told us how much it meant when you put on that jersey. I know this place means a lot to you, so there has to have been a lot of pain to go through this type of ordeal.
"Absolutely! Absolutely. There definitely has been a lot of pain, but I can't say I would trade it. As rough as this season has been, we've had some good times. The freshmen-- This is probably the closest team I've been on. Teams in the past that I've been on would have probably caved in and said, 'Forget it!' and given up, but these guys come to work hard every day to get better. Anything can happen."
Did you approach this game any differently? You had an awesome game. Why is that?
"I think I just took advantage of my opportunities today. That's what I try to do every game. Today, I was just more successful at doing so. I just had chances to hit shots?
Why do think you were getting some of those open shots?
"It's hard to say. One time, we broke down on a play and the ball came loose. I just caught it and shot it. It wasn't really a play. It was just being aware of situations where my guy was a little bit off me and where I could come to the ball and get a shot. I was looking for those."
What did it mean to you to have the former players travel to be here in person to offer support?
"That meant a lot to have the former players show us support and to show that they still have a passion for our program. That meant a whole lot to us. We tried to have that, at least partially, to be a motivation for us that there are so many people that still care about our program."
Where do you go from here?
"From here, we definitely have to build on it. We're facing some good teams the rest of the way, so we have to build on it and get better. That's always our motivation—getting better—and I this point, we want to be playing our best basketball, as we enter the ACC Tournament."
It looked like you and Kris had a good inside-outside game going.
"Kris is definitely a threat on that block, so we understand that we have to get him the ball as much as possible, especially when his guy is on his back. He's very good at kicking it out if anyone collapses on him. Most teams do collapse on him, so we just have the attitude and mentality on the perimeter to knock down the shots when he's able to kick it out."
You looked like you were in a good rhythm out there today offensively, almost as if you knew the shot was going in beforehand?
"I've been practicing and working on my shot. When you get a good feel, a good catch, a good look, you can almost tell it's going in. A lot of great shooters feel that—not that I'm a great shooter—but I'm getting there. The rhythm felt good, and I knew it was going in because I got a good look."
How much different do you feel when you are the court now, opposed to the first few games?
"More comfortable. I've been through this before. I've got a lot of games under my belt. I'm more comfortable out there now."
Would you say it's a huge difference or a small difference?
"It's definitely a huge difference. It's just experience—to experience things like tough atmospheres and things like that—and that's a big difference fight now."
What did it mean to you to have the former players be here in person to say that they support you?
"That was great. I could just see it in those guys' eyes—just the pride. Those guys talked to us and told us that they weren't down that we've been losing. They just told us to keep our heads up and they are behind us 100%. That made us feel good, and we went out there to fight and give it our all and have some pride."
Al Wood had 39 points in the Final Four in 1981 to defeat Ralph Sampson and the Virginia Cavaliers, among other big performances. Does it that mean anything that he was held in high regard here at Carolina?
"He came at us spiritually. He gave us a quote and the quote really just meant for us to spread our wings. It's like when an eagle goes into a storm. The baby eagle is put out there by his mother to fly. He doesn't turn around because the storm is coming. He spreads his wings and goes straight into the heart of the storm. That's what we are trying to do, right now."