UNC-NCSU: Locker Room Report

CHAPEL HILL, NC--UNC Tar Heel basketball players Jawad Williams, Rashad McCants, Jackie Manuel, and David Noel talked about their heart-breaking 75-67 loss to the NC State Wolfpack.

Jawad Williams

Did you realize that NC State wasn't missing any free throws?

I didn't realize that. Regardless of the free throw situation, we were still in the game. If we'd hit them early and at the end, we'd have won.

It looked like you guys focused your defense on Julius Hodge for much of the game. Were you surprised that Scooter Sherrill made so many big shots?

No. I figured Julius would find the open man, if he had that opportunity. He was open, so he had to hit his shots.

It looked like the officials were letting both teams play physically. Was that the case?

It was physical for the most part. You neve know what you are going to get from the refs. It was physical and we fought tough.

Do you think that's a good thing, or should they have called it tighter?

It's a good thing. We can adapt to any situation. We can't rely on the refs to help us or hurt us. We just have to go out and play.

Coach Doherty talks about investing emotionally. After the Maryland game, to come back and invest emotionally and wear your hear on your sleeve, does that make a loss tougher?

Yes it does. It makes it a lot tougher losing a close game you feel like you should have won. All you can do is get better the next day.

It hurts. We just have to learn from it. We should have won this game. If we had hit our free throws, we'd have won. But we didn't, so we might as well move on.

Anything positive you can take from this game?


Rashad McCants

In overtime, that 3-pointer on the left, do you feel like you got a good look at that one?

I did, but I was cold and I kind of rushed it. I thought I was going to hit it, but when I shot it, I knew it was off because I hadn't shot in a while, so-- I always think, if I miss my first shot, I know I'm hitting my second and I did.

When you score first in overtime, are you feeling pretty good at that point?

Oh yeah. I just fetl like, when I scored that basket, overtime was pretty much mine, but the ball didn't bounce our way. In that two- or three-minute span I didn't get many shots and it happens.

Was that by design?

That's just the flow of the offense.

What can you guys, as a team, do in regards to free throws? Does it take more practice, or is it about concentrating during games?

It's making free throws when you are tired. Making free throws, period. I know that I'm going to be in the gym even later than usual, shooting free throws.

You guys are up six points, with under five minutes to go, the crowd was going crazy, other than free throws, how did it slip away?

That's about it. Julius Hodge hit a big shot. It was big for them. It seems like players make big shots on us, often, but it's just something you have to live with.

The UNC-Duke rivalry gets a lot of publicity, but does the fact that a lot of players on these two teams are from the state of North Carolina give this rivalry a special flavor?

I don't really like to talk about rivalries. It's just one team playing against another to me. Just because the are down the road doesn't mean we are going to play harder or do something different for that team. It's nothing special.

But what about the fact that the schools are so close that you can see them when you go to Raleigh or when they come to Chapel Hill--and the fans are intermingled in schools, workplaces, etc?

We don't see them around here, and they don't see us. It's as simple as that.

You didn't get as many shots in the second half. Do you have to find a way to get off more shots?

What I started doing is going to the offensive boards, trying to get my shots. You just have to get it other ways--rebounding, playing defense, things like that.

Any positives you can take from this game?

Effort. We played hard.

Jackie Manuel

Can you talk about you match-up with Julius--what does he do well?

He drives the ball well, so I just had to stay in front of him and contain him.

After the Maryland game, does losing a close game like this make it tougher?

Every game you lose is tough. It hurts.

Is there anything you can take from this game?

You just have to move on. Can't do anything about it, so you just have to get ready for Georgia Tech.

Players talk about putting games behind them and moving on to the next game. Is it easy to put this one behind you?

It's not easy, but we have to. We can't keep dwelliing on it.

The last three games are against teams who defeated you the first time around. Do you think about that?

I'm not even thinking about the first time. That's over and done. We have to get ready for Georgia Tech.

I saw in the Daily Tar Heel That Coach Doherty submitted a Letter to the Editor taking issue with a cartoon they ran about you. What did you think about that?

I thought it was a nice letter. I appreciated it.

Did you think the cartoon was unfair?

Yeah, I didn't know why they did it.

David Noel

How do you look back on regulation, up six with about 2:30 left?

In this game anything can happen. Two and a half minutes is a lifetime. We could have guarded them better. They ran some plays for Powell. He got some 3-point plays. They capitalized.

How delicate is the team mentally shooting free throws? Does it take more repetitions in practice, or is is just concentrating more in games?

You have to focus better next time in a game. You can practice, practice, practice free throws all you want in a rhythm, but once you get in a game, it's a totally different feeling, with the crowd and everybody standing on the blocks and things like that. You can shoot a 100 free throws, a thousand free throws a game, but once you get in a game, it's a different feeling.

Do you feel like the effort was there, tonight?

Of course. Everybody went out and gave a great effort. We just fell a little short.

The UNC-Duke rivalry gets a lot of publicity, but does the fact that a lot of the players on both teams are from the state of North Carolina add a special flavor to this rivalry?

Yeah, it does. A lot of guys on these two teams being from North Carolina makes it much more special because you are playing against guys you grew up with playing AAU ball and things like that. It's almost like, 'We're going to beat ya'll' and things like that. It's great though.

What is it like to follow up the Maryland game with a game like this where you give good effort and emotionally invest and come up just short?

It' hurts. It hurts a whole lot, knowing how much this game meant to us. Plus in our standings in the NCAA and the ACC. It hurts a lot, but we have to put it behind us and make a run so we can make the NCAA's.

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