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Listen to Audio (7:37)
Not a lot to say—we won. That's the bottom line. I was really impressed defensively with some of the things we did. I had a lot of confidence at the last—they decided to switch everything. I felt like a big guy would come out and screen for Reggie (Jackson), and he did. I took (Tyler) Z(eller) out and put John in 'cause John's really so long he can bother some outside shots and he can still give you some space so it's harder to try to drive him. I thought they would go to Reggie—and I don't think there's anything wrong with that because he had just made a big-time three when it was a five-point game…
Five straight possessions we had turnovers, and you just can't do those kinds of things. Z two turnovers just throwing the ball, throwing it to me. Hell, I can shoot, but I'd rather somebody on the court shoot when it counts. He had two turnovers, Kendall (Marshall) had two turnovers, Harrison (Barnes) had a turnover, and you can't play that way. Yet, you have to give Boston College credit. We were great up there; we made every shot we looked at and beat them badly, and they came in here very focused that we weren't going to do that.
We did a good job rebounding the basketball—the rebound numbers look pretty good. But I think defensively, for them to shoot 26 percent—they had some open shots but so did we and sometimes you miss shots. We feel very lucky to get out (with a win), but I've been on that other side sometimes too.
We've discussed toughness this year. There's no way you win that game without toughness today, is [there]? Don't your kids have to show a lot?
Well, they do but I disagree with you a little bit. I don't think we showed it very much today. I mean you're not going to be tough if you turn the ball over five straight possessions and take a bad shot and one of those other things. Toughness is doing the right thing. Toughness is a mental part. It's not just fighting. It's not just diving on the floor. Toughness to me is more of a mental state.
I think that I would agree with you for what we have shown a lot this year, but I wouldn't say that that's what it was today. Sometimes it's the old saying, 'You'd rather be lucky than good.' I like to be lucky and good both. And at times I think this team is really good. About five or six possessions in a row in the second half we were really good. We were executing well, we got it to 'Z' inside, he scored. We set a down screen, Harrison makes the basket at the top of the key off set plays. But then we just went wacko for a few minutes.
Listen to Audio (3:55)
Did you ever think that 48 points would be enough to win a game in the ACC?
Yes. Defensively, I think we've been doing a great job. You know, we held them to 20 points in the first half, 20-some odd points. (Corey) Raji started getting hot from the three late in the game. They went on a big run, but our defense was able to withstand it.
What happened those last 10 minutes? It looked like you guys were really rolling the first 10 minutes of the second half. The last 10 minutes things kind of fell apart. What happened?
I think one of the hardest things to do in basketball is to play with a lead. You know, I think we got it up to 15 points, and at that time it's hard to judge what's a good shot, what's a bad shot, working the clock, things like that. Our time management wasn't that great, and also, like I said, Raji started to get hot. He hit a couple shots and we had some defensive lapses.
There were a couple of times it looked like you were ready to pull the trigger on a three and kind of hesitated. Are you guys thinking about that now? Has it gotten to the point where the perimeter shooting is something that is in your head?
No, I wouldn't say that. I remember that play you are talking about in the second half. I was hesitant because I [saw] John on the block with a 6-5 player guarding him, and I think a better shot for our team is him doing that left-handed jump hook than me shooting a three.
Listen to Audio (3:48)
You had a pretty good double-digit lead until towards the end when you had those five (straight) turnovers. What happened in that stretch? It seemed like you guys just had a brain fart there.
Yeah, I thinks that's one thing we struggle with sometimes is having little stretches where we let teams back in and I always think to myself the day we become a great team is when things like that don't happen and we just push that 15-point lead to 20 or keep it steady to 15 and win the game. It's something we have to work on. I think we got a little over-zealous with a couple of things, but I think we'll be fine.
What did Roy tell you at halftime? I haven't seen it this year where you guys came out with like a minute left. It seemed like there was a bit of an extra speech there.
Just that we have to play North Carolina basketball. We can't play like they play. We need to protect the home court. Don't let them come in here and beat us. I think that kind of hit home a little bit and we started playing a little harder, especially 'Z' coming in and giving us a push—that was big.
You had a "Zeller Tribute Day" on your Twitter feed one day. What was that about?
Ah, you know. Zeller, he—I always make fun of him or joke with him because we've been practicing for almost three, four months and he still feels the need to text me practice times, so I was like, you know what? I'm glad you're here, I'm glad for you telling me. It's Zeller Day, and I'm going to dedicate everything I tweet to Zeller. You know, it was kind of funny and that's what I did.
Listen to Audio (3:31)
Coming down the stretch, how big are these home court advantages, and what makes this one of the toughest places maybe to play in the country?
The fans. The fans, and how we play. I think the way we play is a little exciting—we get up and down the floor, run. I think the crowd feeds off that; we feed off them so it makes it a great environment.
What happened that you let them back in (the game after stretching the lead to 15)?
We stopped executing. We kind of lost that edge. We didn't come out with real authority today and we definitely have to go back in the tape room and look at that.
It seems like even if throughout the game you aren't shooting a great percentage, when it comes to crunch time you aren't running away from the ball, you're not afraid. Where does that come from, where do you get that confidence, and how do feel your teammates feel about you taking the shot?
My two favorite players are Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, and they were always known for taking big shots. So in order to be a great player you want to be in those moments where you take a big shot. So I feel very comfortable doing that, and I think my teammates feel comfortable letting me take the shot.