UNC-Iona: Jeff Ruland Press Conference

NEW YORK – Iona basketball coach Jeff Ruland was very happy over his team's 65-56 victory over nationally ranked North Carolina in the first round of the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

Here is some of what Ruland had to say about his team's fifth win in eight games.

Opening remarks

I thought we'd have to play a perfect game to beat them. Obviously, the injury (to Sean May) hurt them, but we made mistakes too. Both of us were throwing it around the gym. But, I'm proud of our guys because we stayed with it. This is a storied program we beat. Other than the nights my three daughters were born, this is the biggest night of my life. That's what makes life special. I don't like to live in the past, but when I played here (at Iona) we beat Louisville and Kansas because eight guys from Long Island believed in themselves. I expected a lot from these guys. Obviously, this is the closest to every coaches dream and hopefully this will get us over the hump.

On his team's shaky start

Being down 15-6 is not what you hope for, but I kep telling the guys to believe and they did. They hung in there and played great defense. I'm proud of them.

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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