UNC-SJU: Matt Doherty

NEW YORK -- North Carolina basketball coach Matt Doherty was encouraged by his team's effort and the outcome of Saturday's 63-59 victory over St. John's in the consolation game of the 50th Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.

Here is some of what Doherty had to say after his team's eighth win in 11 games.

Opening remarks:

We're very fortunate to come out of here with a win against St. John's at Madison Square Garden. I thought our kids showed a lot of courage and poise to gut out a tough win. In spite of injury, Jackie Manuel's ankle was very good. Raymond (Felton) wasn't feeling very well. Jawad (Williams) is back off of a virus yesterday and without Sean (May). I was real proud of my team. We've had some big wins this year; Kansas in this building, Stanford in this building (at) Florida State. This is as big a win for us because the circumstances were very unique. I'm real proud of my guys."

On the importance of Jackie Manuel's second-half sequence that resulted in a steal, two offensive rebounds and an assist leading to a Felton 3-pointer:

He's an energy guy. He's a high-energy guy. And, he's a great offensive rebounder and a great defender, and I thought those offensive rebounds were key and that shot by Raymond was a big, big shot for us. We needed to make some baskets. We couldn't just watch the clock tick away and hold on to a lead. We had to score.

On Jawad Williams' play:

I thought Jawad made a big basket (late three to put UNC up 56-51). I think Jawad has really matured into a great leader for us. You look at dead ball situations when he's telling guys tog et their hands up on the foul lane or communicating. He's getting on his teammates and encouraging his teammates, and that leadership is very important. I think we saw a different team today because of Jawad's presence on the floor.

On playing a day after a tough loss:

We had this experience last year. We lost to College of Charleston (first round of Tournament of Champions in Charlotte) and had to play St. Joseph's the next day. I told the team that the team that puts the disappointment of the night before behind them the quickest has a better chance of winning. I thought we did that. Now, we woke up, had an 8:30 a.m. meeting and I wanted to show them some film. At first I wasn't going to show them film, but they needed to see how poorly we played yesterday. Lack of effort. Lack of taking care of the ball. Poor shot selection. Poor defense. They needed to see that. We talked about it. I said on the bus, ‘get your minds right, get focused on St. John's and bring some great energy.'

On winning a grinder against a team known for winning such games:

If you could draw it up, this is the way you'd draw it up. I think our guys gutted it out. We haven't worked on press offense. We haven't worked on a lot of things, foul trouble. I was proud of the guys keeping their poise in a tough environment. A lot of things went against us out there today. I think our guys gutted it out.

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