UNC-Davidson: Doherty Press Conference

CHAPEL HILL - North Carolina head coach Matt Doherty addressed the media after UNC's 79-64 win over Davidson Wednesday night.

Nice to be home, nice to win. Real impressed with the crowd tonight – 18,555 – weekday, non-league game, I was real impressed. I appreciate the fans and all their support. I'm real proud of our team today. After a very difficult loss at Miami, to bounce back with the energy we did. I think you guys realize how good Davidson is now after beating us last year and what they did in the NCAA Tournament. And this year, what they did at Duke, Arizona, Florida State, Charlotte – they played tough against some very tough opponents – this was a very tough game and I was real proud of what we accomplished tonight.

On taking a school record 35 three-point shots tonight –

I felt that they were going to pack it in, zone or man, and that we were going to need to make shots. I felt the shots we took were good shots. We shot 37 percent from the three-point line, which isn't bad as a team. I thought we were going to need to take and make shots tonight. And that was going to be one of the deciding factors besides our defense. I thought that our defense was exceptional to hold them to 33 percent from the three, make them turn the ball over 18 times. I was real proud of our defense – Anderer only had 9 points – I thought we did a really good job defensively from top to bottom. And I thought we did a good job getting fouled and knocking down foul shots.

Yeah, we took a lot of threes, but they were good shots and I felt like we had to take open threes and knock them down, so I told them to keep shooting. In fact, I got upset at Jawad in the first half in front of their bench he turned down a three. Jawad's a good shooter and they're going to start going down for him soon.

Why the lineup change, replacing McCants with Johnson?

I've got one of the most talented players I've ever coached in Rashad McCants. I said that in preseason practice. I feel like he's one of the most gifted kids that I've ever had the pleasure of coaching. I just wanted to light a fire. Will's been playing real hard in practice and I just think that starting is a reward for effort. You reward guys for talent but you also reward guys for effort. I wanted to light a little fire and I thought Rashad responded really well – he handled it very maturely and when he came in I thought he gave us a real lift.

It was just a little change, shake the tree a little bit and he handled it well. I thought yesterday in practice we talked about it, he handled it well, we talked about it Monday, he handled it well. I thought he came out really focused today and when his number was called he did a good job. I don't think that's anything new – coaches do that all the time. I thought it was an appropriate time to reward Will for his great effort and to try to motivate Rashad.

On Byron Sanders' play -

I thought Byron's defense in the post was exceptional. Byron's a physical kid, he's very conscientious defensively and I thought he did a very good job - late in the game they went inside and I didn't think [Davidson's center] had easy baskets. They realized we weren't doubling down and that we were going to let him do his thing and not give up threes - and I thought Byron did an exceptional job with his post defense. And offensively, he's starting to get a bit more confident.

How important was it to respond to Saturday night?

Huge. Very disappointing to lose that game, but as I said before the season (I don't know if I said it publicly), but when you have a young talented team you're going to have high highs and low lows. High highs – Kansas, Stanford. Low lows – Miami was certainly one of those games. It was a great opportunity to learn, though, and I thought we did a really good job tonight playing with the lead. While we didn't handle it well against Miami, I thought we did a good job playing with the lead tonight. Early in the game they jumped out to a lead and I thought our guys didn't flinch and responded really well in the first half.

On Melvin Scott's increased minutes and increased contribution -

I thought we really needed Melvin's shooting. Melvin is such a good threat for us offensively, while also being a really good defender, that especially when Davidson started out in that zone, I felt that Melvin's ability to shoot the basketball was going to be very important for us.

On facing his old coach and mentor Bob McKillop -

During the game, I'm not thinking Coach McKillop is down there, I'm thinking about my players and how we're trying to beat a good team. Before and after games, it's hard – I probably don't like facing him more than he doesn't like facing us because he beat us last year. They're a good team. It's a tough game because they are so good – it's a game that scared the mess out of me. Before a game, after a game, yeah, you don't want to face someone like that. It's a little different because Carolina hasn't played Davidson in a long time, so we're doing it because of the relationship and he is appreciative of that. It's great to see some old faces … it blows my mind to see Matt McKillop on that floor. When I left I think he was five, and to see him out there and see him on tape – this strong kid who is a heck of a player (reminds me of his dad when he was playing) is really neat to see – to see him grow up. It makes me feel old.

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