How much did the streak matter in terms of the game's intensity?
We didn't really think of that at all. We knew we needed to get out and play hard. It's a credit to the older teams, but we had to win that game for us. Me personally, I didn't think about it at all. I just wanted to get a victory.
What was it like knowing you were going to have to bang against those big guys?
I was just going to have to use my quickness to the best of my ability. That's the only thing I can do. They're physical bangers, so I just have to use my strengths to my advantage.
It seems like you were really aggressive on offense tonight.
They're bigger guys, but you know, that's what I intend to do. If I have a bigger guy on me, I take him on the perimeter and try to beat him off the dribble. And a smaller guy, I post him up. Again, I try to use my strengths.
What goes through your mind when Rashad takes big shots with the game on the line?
Rashad's a scorer. He's going to have those nights. He played great tonight. I mean, I think he showed his leadership tonight. He took those big shots, and some people wouldn't have the guts to take those shots. Hats off to him for being a freshman and taking those shots.
Can you talk about the crowd tonight?
Oh man, the crowd was really behind us. That gave us that extra boost we needed.
How did it feel to be a critical part of this game tonight?
It felt great. It was good to know that I was able to go out there and actually have an impact. But you know, if it takes me sitting on the bench and not playing, then you know, that's what I'll do. But if I can just go out there and get rebounds and block shots, that's what I'll do.
Did you leave everything you had out there tonight?
Well, if I hadn't twisted my ankle out there, I would have played a lot more. You know, I really wasn't all that tired.
Were you feeling your knees at all during the stretch in the second half when Carolina came back?
No. [Smiling] I wasn't feeling my knees the whole game. You know, when you're caught up in the whole emotion of the game, you don't really feel that stuff.
Can you explain the intensity of the team late?
Yeah. You know, we weren't going to lose that game. All the long, we knew we weren't going to lose that game. Whatever it took to win, we were going to win. So we just went out there and played hard. I think we left it all on the court.
What was it like to play against players like Chris Hobbs and Ray Henderson?
[Laughing] It was tough, you know. They're good players. Hey, it was tough. They're stronger. Those guys are physical, and you have to be quick. They're slower, so you have to use your quickness to your advantage.
Is this the kind of contribution you'll be able to offer as your knees feel better?
If that's what Coach wants, you know, that's what I'll do. That's what I'll give him.
It seems like you really took the wraps off your emotions, especially in the first half. Were you looking to bring a different kind of spark?
Definitely. I was trying to be more open and just be myself. I've been holding back a lot, and I wanted to release my emotion.
How come you've been holding back?
I don't know. I didn't feel like it was appropriate to show my emotion because I feel like my emotion is kind of different from everybody else's as far as, you know, dunking and screaming, just showing a lot of rage and emotion on the court.
[Another reporter] Sort of like Coach Doherty?
Sort of like Coach.
[Another reporter] Do you feel like you have to be, from an emotional standpoint, an extension of Coach Doherty on the court?
Yeah, definitely. You know, I came to this school because he's the coach and he's out there playing with you. And when you're on the court, you have to bring that fire he does, or there's not going to be any fire out there at all.
How did it feel to give the "X" again?
It's just a reaction for me. I felt that we were dominating the game at that point, and it was just a reaction.
Do you feel like the team responded to your emotion?
Definitely. I feel that they responded to my emotion the whole game. That's why we came out with a win.
How was the crowd tonight?
The crowd was awesome. I can't explain how important the crowd is to Carolina basketball. They pump us up, they get us fired up. We hope to continue bringing good crowds to Carolina.
Does this win give you confidence going into UConn?
You know, it gives us a little bit of confidence going into UConn. But we don't want to be overconfident. They're a very good team. We just want to keep our composure.
Were you feeling queasy before the game?
No. I felt a little queasy during the game, but after that I was fine.
On thoughts when Carolina went down by six in the second half:
I just looked at Coach Doherty and said, "Don't worry about it. We're going to be okay. Just calm down." And I just told my teammates, "Calm down, we're going to be alright." We just had to play hard, get ourselves together, take control of the ball, and just play hard. I wasn't worried.
Did the people from South Carolina in the stands tonight have anything to do with your fast start?
No, I mean, I'm just trying to come out and play hard every game. It wasn't some thing where we were playing Clemson in South Carolina or something like that. I was just trying to come out and play hard.
Do you think Clemson felt more pressure down the stretch than you did?
Maybe so. Our fans were behind them and everything was loud. Maybe they were a little erratic. But I felt comfortable. I was okay.
Was there something that made a difference on the defensive end on the second half?
We were just basically trying to pressure the ball and keep our man in front of us, and help down in the post a little bit.
Did you see a difference in Rashad tonight?
Rashad played the same way he plays every night. He played with great intensity, great energy. I mean, that's just the kind of player he is.
How did it feel to get the threes dropping?
It felt good. It felt just like any other day. I mean, it feels just as good as me getting an assist. I'd rather get an assist than have me get a good shot. A great pass to one of my teammates is better than a great jump shot.
Can you talk about the crowd?
The crowd is wonderful. I mean, I love the crowd. I love our fans. They give us much love. We were in the game and they kept supporting us, telling us we played a great game. The fans are lovely here.