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Listen to Audio (9:07)
Needless to say, it was a very, very good outing for us. I think our guys were mostly mentally and physically ready to really play and really play well. We had to against what I think is a really, really good Florida State team. First half we got some things going for us, made a couple shots. Defensively, we gave them three layups. Other than that, we did a pretty nice job of guarding them in the first half as well.
When you look at it, just the ability to put the ball in the basket in the second half, balanced scoring, having two guys in double figures, and then I just thought Kendall was sensational -- 16 assists, three turnovers. I think he stepped up, and we needed him to.
It's a little bit of a difficult time that we've gone through the last 48 hours. Usually when that happens, you'd love to play a game so that you can put all that stuff behind you. We talked a great deal about what had happened, that it was over with, that it was behind us, we had to go forward, and I think we did that today.
It was a good outing for us, to say the least. I thought early we were more or less settling for too many outside shots instead of getting the basketball inside, but the second half I couldn't fault too much with what we did offensively at all.
They were able to get the ball at a tempo they wanted, and it looked like you guys played it about as comfortably as you could.
I've said for a hundred years that we like to score in the 90s, but we also realize that you have to be able to win games in the 50s and 60s. It's the way we practice every day. We try to work on situations, we try to work on half-court offense, but yes. We got out and ran several times in the first half. I think we had eight points on the break to their two. And we screwed up a couple of other situations. We still want to try to run the break, but down at the end of the game you have two opponents -- the other team and the clock as well.
You mentioned talking it out with your team about this situation. When was the last time you said something about it, and could you have expected them to respond this way?
I did expect them to respond this way. We had two great days of practice. We were very enthusiastic, everybody was into it mentally. I said we had a little bit of a quick meeting yesterday morning, and I mean quick -- five minutes to see if anybody had thought of something in their mind I wish I had said. We had a meeting on Friday, a private meeting with our team. I told them to think about it overnight and Saturday morning I'd give them an opportunity to say anything else they wanted to. All of us, especially me, think 'I wish I'd said that.' Nobody had anything to say, so I said, 'All right, let's get out of here.' Then we got ready and had a good practice yesterday.
I don't think I mentioned anything about it whatsoever in the pregame, so the last time we talked about it at all was yesterday.
Listen to Audio (3:25)
Do you think the events of the last 48 hours brought this team together for a good performance today?
Absolutely. It drew everybody together and made everybody play even better. We had a team meeting and how it was unfortunate that he had to leave, but it should motivate us to play even better, and that's what it did tonight. Everybody played to their potential, and we got a big win so...
Did you see this coming out of Kendall though, 16 assists?
I mean, he's a great player. He knows where everybody is supposed to be. Sixteen assists, I think they said it was the first time in an ACC game, so it's a big game for him. If he keeps this up, there is no telling where we can go.
Did you see anything different out of him? Does it seem like he embraced this as his team now?
A little bit. The leadership, especially with our loss, he has to step it up -- it's mandatory for him. And for me also, because I'm going to play the one also. Him having a big game is very important because it builds his confidence. It enables him to play even better.
What were the last couple days like for you, having to go back and play a lot more in practice at the one?
It wasn't that bad because I played the one when I first came here. Just to go back and re-do what I did last year wasn't that bad. I'm just trying to go out there and do whatever I can to help my team. If it's playing the one, the two, the three, it doesn't matter.
Listen to Audio (3:31)
You have an important road ACC game on Wednesday. How can you take experiences from Miami, Virginia into that game?
I think just focusing, focusing on the team, focusing on the bench is one thing we need to do. You never can prepare for how a gym is going to be. We just have to be mentally tough enough to get through it.
How have you become such a great rebounder. Obviously, you have the length but there is more to it than that. You are doing something more. What is it?
I would say rebounding is a mentality. You have to go after it. My teammates laugh at me and get a little upset because they do the work and box out, and I just go and get it. I stole a couple from J-Knox today, and he laughed about it. I think it’s a mentality of that's your ball and you have to go get it. When you see it you have to grab it, especially with Florida State with their length. I might have had to grab it a little quicker than with other teams.
Can you describe the tone of Friday's meeting as you try to digest it all?
It was tough. You always want to say good-bye to someone you've known for two years. Coach told us we have to push through, and we have to be all-in as a team. We have nine guys that want to be here, so we just have to push and that's what we did.
Second straight double-double.
I think we played well tonight, me too. I got a couple open shots that my teammates set up, and I knocked them down.
Listen to Audio (4:24)
What was the secret of the offense doing so well against this Florida State defense?
I think it was just how we got out to a good start. I started noticing that I could get into the seams a little bit. My teammates were doing a great job of finishing, knocking down shots. I just wanted to take advantage of it.
It looked like everyone was comfortable with you at the point. Talk about what you bring to this team.
I'm just out there trying to get our team shots. We don't want any empty possessions. Take care of the ball. When we get out to a good lead like that, everybody is going to play more comfortably.
How about your shooting -- a little underrated?
I'd say the second one at the end of the shot clock, maybe a little bit lucky, but sure, I'll say it's underrated.
What was the best piece of advice you got before this game, and who did it come from?
Best piece of advice had to come from Coach when he told me that tough times don't last, but tough players do.
How many times have you gotten sick at halftime?
I don't know. That's just something that maybe in half my games in high school I would always throw up either before or at halftime. I just happened to throw up at halftime today. I guess it just gave me an extra boost.
Was that a first this year?
Yes, but I threw up in practice like two days ago.