ROY WILLIAMS & TYLER ZELLER
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Listen to Audio (9:29)
“Well, I thought we played well. I thought we played well in the first half and then the first seven or eight minutes of the second half I thought we were awful. But it’s strange because I think they’re a really good shooting team and they missed shots. It wasn’t always our defense. Defensively, we were good at times and our size bothered them. We blocked nine shots, so I think that bothered some of their shots, but also, it’s just that they’re a good shooting team and usually you don’t have a team that misses as many shots as they did.
“And I’m not trying to do anything other than just saying that I thought that was a key factor in the game. We had some good ones that I was really upset that we missed as well. But I told Marty [Simmons] that I’ve never seen a team that shoots that well have as poor of a shooting night on their home floor. Again, I hope that our defense had something to do with it.
“We thought our size would be a factor, and with ‘Z’ and John [Henson] and Justin Knox inside defensively, it was important, and also with ‘Z’ and Justin Knox doing some scoring inside for us, I thought that was good. Take away the first eight or nine minutes of the second half and I thought we played pretty well. But it was a hard game after such an emotional game on Saturday and in getting ready for exams. I mean, we go back and we’re in exams on Friday… We’re very happy.”
On Zeller’s progression:
“He’s been a sensational young man that is far, far more important than his ability as a basketball player. But at the same time, they pay me a ridiculous amount of money for him to look good and he’s making me look pretty doggone good sometimes. Notice I said sometimes, but Saturday was one of the better performances I’ve ever had a big guy have, especially down the stretch when the pressure is on.”
On the importance of this homecoming game:
“It means a lot, just being able to come home. All of my family and friends get to see me live, where as most of the time they just have to watch me on TV.”
Are you where you want to be as a player?
“No, I definitely can improve more. I’m getting closer and closer, but at the same time, I feel like I have a long ways to go and there’s a lot of season left, so hopefully I can continue to improve and get to where I think I can be.”
Did you feel like you were pressing the first couple of minutes?
“A couple of times… I actually lost a contact in the first minute, so that was interesting trying to play with one eye for about 45 seconds… But after that I was able to calm down a lot.”
Listen to Audio (2:46)
On Zeller's nerves early in the game:
“It was a big game for Tyler. A lot of people came here to see him play, a lot of his friends and family members, people that have been following him since high school. I think it was just a lot of emotion and coming into the game from that aspect. They did a good job doubling down on him early on, but guys were knocking down shots. It didn’t seem like we missed at all in the first.”
On the offense’s progress:
“I feel pretty comfortable out there. I think guys are starting to get more comfortable. I think we’re spacing the floor a little bit more than we have been, and that’s particularly beneficial to the guards… and that also creates more space for Tyler and Justin Knox and the bigs to do what they do.”
Listen to Audio (2:51)
On his ability to complement Zeller in the post:
“It just basically has to do with the flow of the game. We both understand where we’re going to be at certain times, when he’s getting doubled or when I’m getting doubled, so we have a good feel for each other’s game and where we’re going to be on the court.”
On the biggest difference in his move from Alabama to UNC:
“Just the fact that it’s a bigger fan base and the fact that it’s bigger nationally in basketball where as Alabama is bigger for football, so more people know you and more people are there for you and appreciate you. That’s something that’s been pretty different for me.”