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Happy holidays to everybody. I told the kids to enjoy about three or four days with their families right now. It was an unusual start to the game. I didn't think we had the enthusiasm I thought we would have and we made the substitutions. Kendall (Marshall), Reggie (Bullock), Leslie (McDonald), [Justin] Watts, and [Justin] Knox -- those five guys had better movement of the ball on the offensive end and a little more intensity on the defensive end, and I thought that was big for us, our ball movement, instead of standing and dribbling in the same spot. In the second half they didn't do nearly as well. I think that stretch there in the first half Leslie made a couple of threes, or at least one three and one right inside the line. J-Watts made the three from the corner -- I thought that was big for us.
I thought we were doing a much better job on the backboards than it looks like we did. Points off of offensive rebounds was 21-4. I think that, and we did get some turnovers in the second half, but we didn't really take advantage of those. But let's be honest about it too, William and Mary [has] much better shooters than that. It's just tonight they didn't make any of them in the first half, and in the second half I thought they were making a bunch of them. That second bunch that came in were big for us. You look at Kendall and he missed some wide open layups, missed two open threes, but he also had eight assists, zero turnovers and you like that. Larry (Drew) had six (assists) and three (turnovers). We've been doing a better job with our turnovers recently, and I think that was important for us tonight too.
But neither team shot it very well -- they were 6-for-26 from three and we were 7-for-23. We did make some of them. I'm happy to let everybody go home for a few days, see their families, and hopefully it will be a time that will really help John (Henson). I really have no idea right now what's going to happen with him. It was swollen and really painful so we decided not to play him. He'll be getting some examination by the doctors tonight.
How do you think this team improved in this game?
I think that's what really helped us out -- the last couple of practices really playing the Carolina way, and that's defense first, so going out there and being able to get the steals and put defensive pressure, I think that really helped us out with our offensive game.
When a game gets off to such a slow start like that, what are your thoughts as you come off the bench trying to get things jump-started?
As for me and my fellow teammates coming off the bench, we just feel like we need to bring more pressure and more enthusiasm. We feel like we need to get the first team in gear and really put a lot of pressure and bring a little life to the team.
It seemed like shots weren't going to fall and both teams struggled for such a long time to get something to go in the basket.
You know, sometimes there are games like that, and my key is to keep attacking and keep playing defense, just that it will fall.
I've just been putting in the work, and I know the hard work will pay off. I'm just trying to get better and trying to help my team.
Coach says that you all have had some conversations about you being more aggressive at the offensive end of the floor.
Oh, absolutely. It's not just me, (but) everybody else. What I tried to do tonight is just get to the rim, try to get my teammates involved, try to get myself involved, just go with the flow. So far, it has been good, so I just try to keep doing that and try to win games.
You are getting a lot of attention for the offensive end of the floor. What about on defense?
We've got to get better, not just me, everybody else. With me, help support on the guards -- and they got us a lot on the backdoor cuts tonight -- and just me being aware of what's going on off the ball is very important. We just have to do a better job, watch film and get better.
Did it seem like for both teams that the offense was out of sync tonight? Until Leslie hit those two threes, nobody could hit a shot.
It was tough in the beginning of the game. I just think that we could have played better defense like you said. But luckily everybody got into the flow of the game. I hit a couple shots, Leslie hit big shots. We played better defense the second half. The second five that went in really moved the ball on offense. They got great shots. Reggie hit threes and stuff like that. He did a great job.
They hit a lot of backdoor shots. How do you fix that going forward?
Our pressure forces them backdoor. Otherwise you aren't going to get anything. Sometimes you get beat by too much and other times we do a good job of it, but we have got to be able to guard them better and not let them get as many layups.
You have got to enjoy seeing your guards make some shots.
Yeah, I'm loving it right now. It takes away from maybe the shots I would get and stuff like that, but that's not my biggest worry. Now when I get the ball they can't double team me. It creates a lot of problems. If they do double-team me, I can kick it out and be very confident they are going to knock down shots.
Talk about what your point guards are doing out there.
Our point guards have done a fantastic job this year, especially after last year and all the expectations they have had this year. I think they have done a fantastic job of playing within themselves and creating stuff for people but not forcing things.