|Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers. To listen, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.|
"We got it close and we really never got out of it. We had three opportunities that we could have tied it when it was a three-point game. I think Larry (Drew) missed a three, someone turned it over on a break, and Marcus (Ginyard) missed a three on three different opportunities. If we could get it tied or within one, and they scored on the other end, it would still be a one-possession game. As a coach, that is what you are hoping for.
"As a coach, you have to congratulate them (Kentucky). Neither team is a really experienced team. Patrick Patterson and a couple of their other guys have played, and for us, Deon (Thompson) and Marcus (Ginyard) have played. We looked like a really inexperienced team in the first half and we reacted like an inexperienced team. But, that is an excuse, and there is no reason for that. We have had 30 practices and eight games.
"We made a few shots in the first two or three minutes, and all of the sudden, we didn't do a very good job of getting spread out and picked up. They ran us out of the gym. I don't know if I've ever coached a team where at half time they had 12 fast break points and we had zero. That was a big emphasis for us. We had to try to make sure we tried to sprint back to push it and get some fast break baskets ourselves. But, we didn't do that.
"John (Wall) dominated the first half and it helped us with him getting hurt in the second half. In the second half, they showed some of their inexperience. I thought if we could get it over the hump with one possession, that we had a chance. I told my team at halftime that I thought we'd be there at the end of the game, and I really did believe that. We didn't shoot it really well, we didn't make free throws, we didn't get to the free throw line very often, we gave them too many opportunities on the fast break, they took away part of our game and we didn't do a very good job of running the ball ourselves.
"It was a competitive game. The last 10 minutes of the game, I don't know if it was the prettiest game anyone has ever looked at, but it may be the way our team is going to be for a while."
On John Wall:
"I thought he dominated the game. We talked about slowing him down and getting some help from our point guard, and I feel like we didn't do a very good job of that. There have been a lot of things made about our recruitment of John, but I think John Wall is a fantastic player. I didn't know one thing in the world about him, I saw him in a tournament in Philadelphia and I said, `Who the heck is that guy?' I've always thought he was fantastic. But, we didn't do a very good job of getting our point guards some help. He really attacks you as a 6-foot-4 guy with long arms and quickness."
On moving forward from today's game:
"We needed to pick up a win on our way to play Texas . We didn't; so now we have to bounce back. We have to learn from this and decide what we need to improve. We need to get ready for Texas and go in ready to play."
On if they could have won the game if it had been extended five more minutes:
"I definitely think so. The momentum was beginning to swing our way towards the end of the game. We needed to continue to fight. Coach Williams is not used to teams that don't fight back to win. We had a chance to win."
What led to the second-half rally?
"We just stopped hanging our heads and we started to believe that we had a chance. We started playing our style of basketball and it was tough for them to handle, at times. We didn't continue to play that way consistently enough in the second half to give us a chance to pull the lead back away from them. But we still fought back to have a shot at it at the end of the game."
On coming back in the second half:
"Coach can't play for us. He can draw up the best plays in the world but it's up to us to execute and do it the way we say we're going to do it. We're North Carolina and we can talk all we want about what we're going to do but when we're out there on the court we have to take care of business. A combination of a lot of things helped us come back, we had a new found sense of urgency, our fight factor. John (Wall) being out of the game slowed them a lot and we took advantage of that."
On the loss:
"Being a point guard I feel like I really let us down. I didn't attack enough on offense, I had too many straight drives. I let them drive straight to the basket too many times on defense. We we're up 9-2 and they made a couple baskets and they made guys freeze up or something, I don't really know what it was, we just have to keep our composure. That's something coach talked to us about before the game and talked to us about having poise. When were out there, there are 24,000 fans cheering against us and we have to keep our confidence level up."
On UNC's late run:
"I don't know, you know what, you guys are going to say that I am crazy but I am happy how this played out. We had to play without John (Wall) against a good team and we had to just figure it out. When another team makes a run at us, let's see what we do. You have to understand how to play to finish it off. When you let the other team come at you then the 50-50 balls become very important. There was a couple down the stretch that we didn't get and that could have cost us the game.
"We are going to look at the tape and show them and ask, `Why didn't you get that ball? Why didn't you get this ball? Do you understand that this is the game winner?' Still, we gave up some threes. When they are having to do that we didn't do as good a job as we needed to. I will tell you that I am proud of our guys. John (Wall) turned it over and did some crazy stuff, but that is what a freshman does. We called a play and he drove in and ran a guy over. `What are you doing?' `I don't know.' `I know you don't know, but we are trying to win this game. What are you doing?'
"I thought that Eric (Bledsoe) struggled. But let me tell you what is great about Eric. I walk down the bench and he says, `Coach, put me in.' I look at him and go, `For who?' He says, `Darnell.' I said, `Go ahead.' He went back in and basically won the game making the free throws down the stretch. It doesn't matter how you play, I am trying to teach the whole team that. Right now it is hard, because you have guys who are so into how they play that they cannot get by it and change. That is OK, we are learning. What Eric did is a lesson for all of them.
"It doesn't matter if you turn it over and play awful, at the end of the day, you win. So make plays down the stretch and we after we win we will talk about it. It is a whole lot better to talk after a win instead of when everyone is sulking."
On if Kentucky is back now that they have beaten a top-10 team:
"No, we are not back. We are not very good. You guys had to have watched that. We had 21 turnovers. There were times late in the game where you had to say, `Why did he do that?' Because that is exactly what I was saying, guys. We walked out of three timeouts and guys were asking what we were running. We did that three different times. All that stuff, to be more focused in timeouts and do it in practice and understand that this is about our team not you.
"We have all those things to cure. We held a good shooting team to 38-percent and holding people around 36-percent is where we need to be. There were times were we looked really good defensively. There were times we looked really, really good defensively. For us to be this young and not be very good or know what we are doing, we have guys that are trying to have a will to win.
"Our execution stinks. I told them that if we get better at executing and taking care of the ball, I like our will to win. We have a will to win and that they will make something happen."
On getting an IV put in:
"No, my mom was not back there. They just had trouble finding a vein, and they got the IV put in so I could get back out on the court."
On if the cramps made him lose some of his explosiveness:
"No, I got it back after I took the IV. It got me going again, and I tried to make some more plays."
On the first-half run:
"It was a big run. They had a great team, and they made plays on defense, but we just kept making open shots. We made a lot of big plays, and were able to make a big run like that."
On beating North Carolina:
"It was good, it was really good to beat a top team like North Carolina. They have a great team and a great coach, so it was a good game."