UNC-Iona: Matt Doherty Press Conference

NEW YORK – North Carolina basketball coach Matt Doherty was emotional and unhappy after his team fell to Iona, 65-56, in the first round of the 50th Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

He was emotional over the news of freshman center Sean May breaking a bone in his left foot, and unhappy over the way his team, which was also missing Jawad Williams and Melvin Scott, played.

Here is what Doherty had to say after UNC's third loss in 10 games.

Opening remarks

Just a congratulations to Jeff (Ruland) and Iona. I thought they played very hard. They were real active. And their kids fought. I respect Jeff a lot and the job he's done.

Tough game. Tough, tough game. Nothing went right for us. And, the key now is to learn from it and bounce back. We play in 24 hours. And if we don't shake this loss off, learn from it and get our minds right and come out here (New York) 0-2. And that's the biggest challenge facing us right now.

On the toll the season takes on such a young team

There's no asterisk next to this game. We had no excuses. We didn't perform well. And as a result they did, and we lost.

On May's health

Sean's status, and I have to talk to our trainer, but I think it's inevitable that he broke his fifth metatarsal. He's had a stress reaction, and it's one of those situations where we put him in a boot for six or seven weeks and there's a 60 percent chance he gets better. Or, you play on it and hopefully he gets better and the chances are he will break it. You hope it's a clean break and six to eight weeks he's 100 percent. As crazy as it sounds, there's a better chance of him recovering if he broke it then if you put him in a boot. In a weird way, I told him, it's a good thing because we know what we're dealing with now. There was no way for that kid to play basketball where every time he stepped on the floor you didn't know whether it would snap or not. And, it finally happened. So now we know what we're dealing with and in six to eight weeks hopefully he comes back and helps us toward the end of February.

On the timeline of when May got hurt

It's been bothering him. He was in some pain, tried to play through it, and it popped on him.

On if his emotion is for May, the loss, or both

For Sean. I got a lump in my throat when I was talking about Sean because I feel bad. That is no way to play basketball that every time you step on the floor in the back of your mind you're wondering ‘ism my foot going to break or not." That's no way to play basketball. I'm relived and I hope he's relived that we know now what we're dealing with. And we are 90-95 percent sure that he's going to heal 100%, and now we can go on.

On if there was no point on resting him over the last month

If we put him in a cast for seven weeks and then take him out of the cast there was a 60 percent % chance he's better. And then you tack on lack of conditioning and all that, and there's a chance he goes back to where he was when he put the cast on. So, you play with it and hope it gets better. If he breaks it we're dealing with six to eight weeks and there's a 90-95 & chance it will heal 100 %.

On Damion Grant's health

His knees have been flared up. After the Vermont game his knees flared up and he hasn't been practicing well and his conditioning has been poor, and we just didn't think he was ready to play.

On the lineups on the floor in the second half under the circumstances

We had different lineups, but hey. Jeff dealt with playing without (Greg) Jenkins. So you gotta deal with it.

On not playing well

We can't have 23 turnovers and shoot 32 percent from the field and expect to beat Iona. We rebounded the ball well, but besides that we weren't very sharp. When you're wearing a North Carolina jersey, and you're a ranked team you're gonna take everybody's best shot.

On where to go from here inside

We just have to make adjustments. Byron (Sanders) has been practicing well. Damion when he is healthy ahs been playing fairly well. And hopefully between the two of them they will give us some good minutes. Maybe at times we will go small and have Jawad (Williams) and David Noel at the four and five spots. We will have to experiment with those things and everyone will just have to step up.

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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