Notes and Quotes - North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, NC - Lorenzo Romar, Roy Williams, Isaiah Thomas, Terrence Ross, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Holiday, Venoy Overton, Kendall Marshall, and Dexter Strickland all spoke to the media after the No. 2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels pulled out a difficult 86-83 win over the No. 7 Washington Huskies at the Time Warner Cable Arena Sunday afternoon.

Washington Notes:
- The Huskies are 18-17 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
- Washington is 8-6 in the NCAA Tournament under Lorenzo Romar.
- Washington is now 0-2 all-time in its all-time series with the Tar Heels.
- Matthew Bryan-Amaning tied Quincy Poindexter for most games played during a University of Washington career (136).
- Isaiah Thomas 1,721 points, which currently puts him in fourth place in the all-time scoring at in University of Washington history.
- The Huskies are 20-4 when leading at the half.
- The Huskies have won three of their last four games decided by three points or less.
- The University of Washington is 2-2 all-time against No. 2 seeds in program history.
- Isaiah Thomas is now tied with Will Conroy for most single-season assists in Huskies history with 217.
- The Huskies are 1-10 all-time in the state of North Carolina.
- The 86-83 margin ties for the second closest NCAA game under Romar, tying in 2006 win vs. Illinois (67-64) and last Friday's win vs. Georgia (68-65).


Washington Quotes:

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement:
"Very hard-fought game. Carolina is a very good basketball team. I was proud of our guys. I hate to see our seniors end it this way. I thought our guys fought, did so many things right, that could have enabled us to win the ballgame but we didn't get it done. Give a lot of credit to the Tar Heels."

Lorenzo, when you guys had an inbound with five seconds left and Venoy tried to take it away, what was supposed to happen on that play? It looked like he took the shot too early. Tell us what was supposed to happen and what did happen.:
"Well, bring the ball up the floor and try to put our guys in position to get a 3. I think what Venoy (Overton) did, he kind of prematurely anticipated them fouling him, and I think that's what he did and he tried to get three shots if they were going to foul him early. I think that's what happened. But they didn't foul him."

Lorenzo, there appeared to be a more time at the end on replays. Did you ask for a replay?:
"Yes, I did. I was told that they had already checked."

Henson had a couple of big plays blocking that inbound pass and a couple of blocks. Can you talk about the difficulty he poses for opponents?:
"You can see why he's the Player of the Year defensively. He has so much length. He anticipates extremely well. Rarely does he leave his feet until the ball leaves the offensive player's hands. They put him on the baseline to defend inbound plays and makes it difficult to throw over the top, and he -- it was very effective at the end when we tried to throw inbounds and he got his hand on the basketball.

"He certainly is a presence, and I think early on especially, we missed some close shots maybe thinking a little too much about where he was."

Lorenzo, I know you always kind of look at your teams not by where they end up but how close they come to their potential. How do you think this team did in that regard?:
"Well, we told our guys at the end that this was very unfortunate. Whenever you don't win the last game, it's very, very disappointing. But our guys rallied up and this is what we told them, we rallied up. By the end of the year I thought we had become a really good basketball team.

"And even in this game today, I think we did a lot of things right that could lead you to a victory just down the stretch. We didn't make the plays that were necessary to allow us to be in the victory circle.

Apologize if you went over this before, but on the final inbounds play when you had .5 I guess or whatever, what was -- what were the options there and did you think Henson goal-tended that final shot?:
"I think the explanation was that it was a two. So I wouldn't have mattered if he goal tended or not. Still we wouldn't have been able to win. I think that was the explanation. We're trying to get the ball, trying to get a clean look. You know, I'd like to see the film and see that play again to see if, in fact, we have someone open that he was trying to hit. We just wanted to get the ball because -- get the ball inbound and get a shot because of the way they were defending, we felt we could catch and shoot right away and get a good look."

Lorenzo, kind of the question I had asked Isaiah, do you think this season ended today for anything necessarily that y'all did today, or did y'all just get yourselves into trouble with that three-game losing streak in the PAC-10 Tournament?:
"You know, when we sat there Selection Sunday and saw the bracket, we would be fooling ourselves if we would not have admitted that it was a tough, tough road to come this far, 2800 miles away and play who we had to play. We understood that.

"But I think immediately our guys embraced this opportunity as something that could be really special and we came into this game expecting to win the game. We knew the road that we're going to have ahead of us, and I think we hit it helped on. I don't think we backed away from it at all. We went right after it. And, sure, we were inconsistent during the year. We didn't get as high a seed as probably would have liked. Once we realized that was the case, we didn't feel sorry for ourselves, we didn't look back. We said this is how it is, well, let's go.

"And I thought our guys did a good job of attacking it that way. We just came up short."


Washington Players:

Isaiah Thomas:
Isaiah, can you kind of encapsulate your game, whether or not you were tired at the end of the game and what you saw on the final shot?:
"You just got to give it up to North Carolina. They're a great team offensively and defensively. I wasn't tired. I mean, I only played 33 minutes. Coach sat me out for four to five minutes in the second half and I got my legs back. And last shot, fading away it was a difficult shot especially with .5 seconds left. I try to do what I could to get it to the rim and it just fell short."

Question for Isaiah. Pretty much from this title last year when you guys lost the Sweet 16, there was a lot of talk about making it to the Elite 8. Is that something that you guys think about right now, or you guys kind of still thinking about the fact that you came to Carolina and competed with the Tar Heels here?:
"We lost, so there's no Elite 8. I mean, we fought hard, we had chances to win, and, I mean, it's on us."

Isaiah, kind of picking up on that, do you think it's on y'all for anything that y'all did tonight, or is it kind of on y'all maybe for that slump in the second half of the PAC-10 season that maybe ended up giving you this difficult a seed this early?:
"We wasn't -- I mean, our goal was to get to the NCAA Tournament no matter what seed we were. We knew we can compete with any team in the country. We did an okay job in some areas, but in other areas in this game we didn't do well, and they capitalized on it and they got the win."


Terrence Ross:
This question is for Terrence. First of all, I guess, offensively what was really working for you tonight, and then more specifically, with about two minutes left when Harrison stripped you at middle court, how did you kind of see that play?:
"I wasn't really paying attention to him at the time. I was looking, you know, to see the play develop and I wasn't strong with the ball and he got it."


Matthew Bryan-Amaning:
Matthew, we've kind of asked a lot during the season, but first off, could you sort of talk about what it was like going up against their bigs and also maybe whatever difference Aziz's presence made today that, you know, you didn't enjoy a season ago?:
"Their bigs was great, a lot of length and a lot of talent. Obviously Zeller doing his work on the inside finishing with 23 tonight and John Henson with his length and shot-blocking ability, which made it tough. Aziz just brings a different presence that we haven't had in the past. He was able to go out there and grab 11 rebounds, which I think was a game high, something that 7-footer that we haven't had that, athletic 7-footer that likes to run that we haven't had in the past, and he just gives us a different look. So when we're playing teams like North Carolina obviously, that we can match up better against them."


Justin Holiday:
On Coach Romar's message after the game "Coach Romar told us that we had a great year and that he had four great years with the seniors. It was a tough way to end it but I will always have fond memories of my time at Washington."

On the final minutes of the game:
"This was a fun game to be a part of. We battled North Carolina but we did not play smart at some points. I made some errors there at the end that cannot be made by a senior. You have to rely on your seniors but my teammates stayed behind me and I love them for that."


Venoy Overton:
On coach Romar:
"He is different than a lot of coaches. Some coaches just care about the program and basketball, he is really a teacher. He really teaches you about life and he is a family man. And that's why you see not too many players that just go one and done at this program. A lot of players go four years and that's the thing about him. He builds relationships and is a good guy."

Last play and trying to get a foul:
"Oh yeah, I have always thought about that, trying to get a shot up right when you see them reach. Right when I looked, I was going to go all the way and I just looked over and seen coach Romar saying ‘they're going to foul you.' Let me try to get the foul, plus get a shot up and go shoot three shots."

Knowing they didn't get the chance to showcase 3-point shooters in the end:
"I'm very disappointed. As a guard, I know if they're going to foul you, you just let them foul you and hopefully something else happens. I'm disappointed. We shot the ball really well and it would have been better if I just had been still on the bench, where I was most of the game, and let somebody else made that decision. But it was the decision that happened, and the team is going to move on and going to be great next year. That's what it is."

Not going to be on the court with them anymore:
"Definitely, it's really tough. There is a lot of young talent. Keep talking to them, be close to them guys and make sure they stick in their head. Telling Terrence to get down inside and he is going to be a great player. This was just a lot of experience for these young guys. I think they're going to be good."

Good memories:
"I enjoyed every year I was here and I wouldn't change nothing."

What happens tomorrow with basketball and the team gone:
"I'm going to be fine. I still can go home and play basketball. I talked to a few people about trying to go somewhere and get a workout. There is always overseas or something. The people that know me know if I go somewhere else, I'm not going to be this kind of player. My game is very different than how I really play. So, once that's over, I'm going to really show what I can do."


North Carolina Quotes:


North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams:
Opening Statement:
"It's a wonderful win for us, and in coaching you got some guys that you really, really like, some guys that you don't. Most of the guys that you respect a great deal and don't worry about whether you like them or not. But Lorenzo Romar is a guy that I really, really like and really, really respect a great deal, too, and when the last shot was missed and he jumped up and feel that elation, you look down own the other bench and see a guy that you really like, for a second there it's not good. And I think Lorenzo would understand this as much as I like him, I like my team even better. But it was a great basketball game. If you are a basketball guy, you had to enjoy that basketball game.

"Lorenzo had his team really ready to play. They made shots. They were so much more aggressive than we were in the first half. They got the offensive rebounds, they did so many good things and we're down 11, and I was just so proud of my team the way we just kept playing. I told them at halftime I was very lucky, felt very luck we because I didn't think we played as able as we needed to and still only down one. Then they come out and score the first four points of the second half, but my team just kept making plays.

"In the locker room, I told John I wish he would have caught the ball that was shot from the 10-second line with five seconds -- after they had it out of bounds with five seconds. It would have made it not quite as exciting.

"A great win for us over a big-time basketball team that had a big-time year and over a big-time coach, coaching staff, and one of the great guys in college basketball."

Coach, I know that you said last week you only had two players who had played in the tournament before. Even though you had this inexperience, it seems like all year your team has had such mental toughness. I wonder how big a factor that was down the stretch today?:
"I thought it was huge. I congratulated them in the locker room, because even some of the games that we've won, we've had instances where a guy would try to do it on his own, and I never felt that way today. I thought that everybody was working together, everybody was trying to carry out their assignment.

"Dumb old coach, I called three set plays against their zone, and all three of them worked. We got it done. Two layups. It's because the kids executed what we asked them to do. We tried to get them to build a wall and try to keep Isaiah in front us and not let him get all the way to the basket. Everybody got involved in that. So it was -- they're young, again, two freshmen, two sophomores, and a junior who has never played a full year in our starting lineup, but we don't -- we only played eight guys. The kids have really done some nice things, and with each and every week during the course of the season I think we've gotten better. And this was -- these two games here were much better than what we played last week, to say the least."

Coach, you didn't look quite like yourself on the sidelines. Are you feeling okay today, are you ill?:
"Today was a tough day. I didn't feel very good. Told the kids to take care of their old man, and they did a nice job of that. So I feel a heck of a lot better now. It's been pretty, you know, pleasant since about 4:30 this morning."

Can you talk about Henson's play today? There was a couple of plays where his arms looks like they reached to the ceiling. Looked like you had a funny story for us about him that you told Kendall:
"I think the question over here was about John hitting Kendall sometimes. John hits him sometimes intentionally and tries to act like it's an accident. And Kendall turns away and John winks at everybody else. But he's a tremendous shot blocker. I was disappointed with him the last play because it looked like I thought the shot was not going to have a chance to go in. And I said, "What were you thinking?" Because he got up and tried to block it.

"He said, "Well, it was just for two I saw it." So even if they called it goal tending, it was going to be a win. John is a quick thinker. He has long arms and quick thinking. It will be interesting for me to see it on the tape, but my video guy said it was a two-point shot there at the end. I told him in grade school, you know, they tell you to look the ball into your hands. And on that shot attempt of theirs from about the center line -- that was a good play by Lorenzo because we were going to foul. We were up three, and I think he instructed his guys if it looked like it was going to be a foul to go ahead and shoot the ball.

"What we had done is we see said we were going to foul therm and get close enough to foul them in the backcourt. Not wait until they got across the 10-second line. If the guy anticipates a foul, he can shoot it quickly and sometimes the referee buys into it.

Coach, same question I asked your players. Talk a little about the challenges you're going to have and what could be a very loaded region in the East:
"You love the challenge because that means you're still playing, and that's the first reaction that I have. I think that our guys, you know, both these guys up here had never participated in an NCAA Tournament game. So they're ecstatic with what they've down so far. We're going to enjoy it a little bit and start focusing on the other guys.

"I think almost every team in our bracket that should have won according to their seed did win except for one, I think, and so it is a loaded bracket with the best teams performing so far but, every step you take in NCAA Tournament play, that other team gets a lot better each and every step. You've got to do that every step you take as well."

Roy, given much of the stuff that's happened this season, what does it mean to you now to sit up there and know you're taking a team to the Regional Semifinals?:
"Well, you know, last year was very difficult, the most difficult professional year of my career, and then the off-season was just about as bad. Except for January 1st, 2010 when our grandson was born, it wasn't a very good year. Little boy was there today and I got to wave at him before practice and before the game. But this team has handled a lot of adversity. It feels fantastic, but I'm old fashioned. I'm corny. It's the greatest part of today's game was those kids waiting for me in the locker room and the looks on their faces. That's what we all coach for."

Coach, can you talk also about how Dexter played today. You got some really good defense in, 13 points out of Dexter:
"You know, I talked this week for the first time about Dexter's injury and trying to play with it. He's been a tough little nut, and today he had some drives to the basket, one great pass where he drives to the basket and bounces off to Z (Zeller) for a layup, made two free throws down the stretch.

"I think Dexter has taken a lot of criticism because all the other four guys are getting so much attention. Everybody is saying Dexter is the weak link. I'm so proud of him for playing with the knee the way it is, knowing he's going to have the surgery at the end of the season. But I love the fact that he was successful today. And to be honest with you, when he went to the free throw line, I said, "This youngster is going the make this." I couldn't be happier with anybody else on our team stepping up there. I just love that situation for him."

Coach, how much did you guys have to adapt to them, because they are different and unique than any of the teams that you face this year?:
"Well, they're not really that different from the way we practice every day. We try to push, try to get both teams to push against each other, and all our scrimmage situations. They're unique in that we can't simulate in practice their speed, their shooting ability.

"First half they made six 3s, but five of them wide open. I asked the guys in the locker room at halftime, "How many of you did a nice job of guarding the guy when he made a 3?" There was only one. They've got a good plan. Isaiah penetrates, the big guys are tough, the shooters are tough.

"I was scared -- I was scared to death.

"I watched their finals, PAC-10 Tournament Arizona and Arizona 7--point lead, and all of a sudden, Lorenzo got them over there and they turned up the heat a little bit. My gosh, they were really good after that. It reminded me of what Duke did to us not too long ago."

Coach in the last few minutes, you guys really tightened up on defense. Can you talk about that?:
"All year long we practice on having to stop on one possession. We call it "must stop." We must stop them right now. If we stop them right now, we have a greater chance to win the game. And sometimes I even say, "We stop them right now, we win the game." And with four minutes left, that's what we started talking about. We need to stop right now.

"They helped us because other than I think Ross making a 3-pointer right in front of their bench you know, we got some stops. A big play of the game was John Henson when the ball is out of bounds and he tips it and we come up with the ball. We changed and started using that defense this year. He's been great for us. He's quite an obstacle in front of that ball trying to get it over them, but it was very gratifying, satisfying."


North Carolina Players:

Kendall Marshall:
To both Dexter and Kendall, it seemed like you guys had to go through several phases adapting to the way they were playing, because there's nobody in the ACC that is quite like them, but it that you had fully come around about the last 12 minutes of the became because were you got getting some driving lanes to the basket, some half court lanes there. Is that the way you saw it when you guys were able to get to the rim, that you were starting to take control of the game?:
"Well, second half they played a lot more man-to-man and made driving angles a lot easier. The bigs when they came in set screens, they were coming out hard. Really we just wanted to keep attacking the basket. We were having success doing that, and once we settled down, we only had nine turnovers for the game. That's a credit to us, just being patient, and then we were able to make things happen."

For both players, you both had free throws down the stretch. Can you tell me what was going on in your mind at the end of the game. Kendall, what did you think when the ball -- when you missed the front end? And Dexter, what was going on with you when you made both?:
"I stepped to the line. I knew they were big free throws. And, of course, I want to knock down both. That's the way basketball goes sometimes. I doesn't always go your way. Right when I saw the miss, I was focusing on finding my man and getting a defensive stop."

Kendall, John said he sometimes doesn't realize how long his arms are, and I think he mentioned hitting you in the face a couple times with an elbow. What's it like playing against him, and has he hit you a couple times where you didn't really expect his arms to be that long?:
"First of all, I'm happy he's on my team and I don't have to play against him. It definitely makes my job easier with passing angles to him. If he's not challenging my shots, I'm a lot more confident. It would just be everyday things. He'll go to exaggerate something and hit me in the face. I feel like I'm far away, but John, he's got a different body, I guess you could say. It's not the average human being, and it definitely takes time for other teams to adjust to that on the court."

To both players, could you just talk a little bit about the challenges you face in the East Regional ahead and the success you've been able to have in the State in the NCAA Tournament?:
"We're going to enjoy this win until midnight. I think it's something to be proud of, making the Sweet 16. We don't want to look too far ahead. I think the game is at 7:45 tonight. Marquette, Syracuse, two great teams. We're be looking forward to it, seeing who's the winner and just preparing."


Dexter Strickland:
To both Dexter and Kendall, it seemed like you guys had to go through several phases adapting to the way they were playing, because there's nobody in the ACC that is quite like them, but it that you had fully come around about the last 12 minutes of the became because were you got getting some driving lanes to the basket, some half court lanes there. Is that the way you saw it when you guys were able to get to the rim, that you were starting to take control of the game?:
"Coach wrote on the board before the game "Attack, attack, attack, under control" and I think that's what we did and we did it pretty well."

For both players, you both had free throws down the stretch. Can you tell me what was going on in your mind at the end of the game. Kendall, what did you think when the ball -- when you missed the front end? And Dexter, what was going on with you when you made both?:
"Down the stretch you have to have confidence and believe in yourself and be and be ready to take those big shots. You work on them all the time in practice. Practice. You got to be ready. Pretty confident in making those shots."

Dexter, talk about playing defense on Isaiah Thomas, what were you trying to do and how effective it was:
"He's a great player. You know, I think the key to stopping him was limiting his touches to the ball, and I think not just myself but my teammates, they did a great job of being there and, you know, being supportive, playing defense the Carolina way. You know, like I said, we limited his touches and forced other players to step up, hit big shots. But I think we did an all right job on him."

To both players, could you just talk a little bit about the challenges you face in the East Regional ahead and the success you've been able to have in the State in the NCAA Tournament?:
"We got to keep the same mental focus, just go out there and just try win and contribute, whatever you have to do to help this team win, you got to do it well."

Dexter, can you talk about going home for the Sweet 16?:
"It's a good feeling. You know, I haven't seen my family in awhile. I know I'm going to probably have my own section with my family there, but it's a good feeling to go home and play in front of a crowd like that. You know, I'm anxious and can't wait for it. Hopefully it doesn't snow."


(Chris Wells contributed to this story)


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