UNC-Illinois: Locker Room Report

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – North Carolina is no longer unbeaten after falling hard to Illinois, 92-65, before a sellout crowd of 16,500 at Assembly Hall on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Here is what some of UNC's players had to say after their first loss in six games.

Note that due to Illinois' rules of not allowing media into the locker rooms, only three players were available for a press conference.

Sean May

On trying to defend Illinois' inside game

I think Cook and (Nick) Smith work real well together. Smith at 7-foot-2 sees over me at 6-foot-9, and I was trying to put pressure on him but they did a good job of just looking hi-low and finding each other. And they worked real well together and we just struggled tonight.

On facing Kentucky being a good thing after such a loss

Any game we play we want to get better no matter who we play. It's great we have a team like Kentucky coming up so we can challenge ourselves and get better.

On what they take away from losing like this

We just get better and learn from it. It's a tough loss and we are all disappointed in the way we played as a team and we just have to learn from it and get back (to winning) on Saturday.

On getting the ball more in the second half

Coach called a lot of plays for me and they fouled me, and Ray got in there and got some 2-on-1 situations. I think we are always looking to get the ball inside to go up or kick it out.

Jawad Williams

On Illinois' hi-low offense

It was tough. We weren't sure how to guard it (hi-low). Should we front the post or play behind? They did a good job with it and were the best team tonight.

On facing Brian Cook

He's one of the most skilled players I've faced so far. I think his coach did a good job putting him in a system where could get the ball in the hi-low.

Raymond Felton

On what they take away from losing like this

This is just another learning experience for us. We just gotta come out next practice and try to work hard and get ready for the next game. We have to put this game behind us.

On playing in such a hostile environment

It was a different feeling. But we did like coach said, we came out and played hard at first but then made some stupid mistakes, shot bad shots, and they got the momentum.

On what UI did defensively to force Felton into a poor game

They helped out great when I tried to drive. They were giving no passing lanes. Overall they played great defensively. They are a great team and I wish them the best, and all we have to do is come out and work hard and learn from this game.

Senior writer Andrew Jones is in his seventh year with Inside Carolina. He hosts a late afternoon radio show on ESPN Radio, WMFD AM630 in Wilmington and can be reached via e-mail at: AndrewJones@AM630.net.

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