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"Well, we're very fortunate to say the least, and feel really good about that. It was a game of runs. They started out, and almost made us feel that they were going to run us out. And Dexter came up, and he had two big layups on the break. Leslie went in for Kendall at that point, and made a couple of shots, and got us back into it. Then both teams sort of meandered around, and to go in up two at half I felt pretty doggone good about it since we had shot 36 percent.
"But starting the second half we did some really good things. We'd get up seven, or eight, or nine or something like that, and then they tie it 50. They made their run, and had Reggie at that point, and he hadn't made a jump shot in about a month, and made the jump shot from right outside the foul line, and got fouled and made the free throw. And then they go back down and score, and then we scored three out of our next four possessions I think. And they didn't score. They missed, I think they missed both shots with a two-shot foul there, and they also missed a one-and-one, and so that helped us to say the least. Dexter makes a pull-up jumper on the break on a good pass from Kendall, and then Z makes an offensive rebound and scores, and then Harrison has two follow dunks.
"And then all of a sudden it's a ten or twelve-point game, and then we did a nice job going to the free throw line, and making the free throws. J Knox missed a first of a one-and-one, and Reggie missed the first shot of a two-shot foul, and I think that was all we missed down the stretch anyway, so it was good for us. Feel very fortunate, like John's 15 rebounds and six blocks, I don't like Kendall's five assists and five turnovers. I didn't like Harrison's 0-6 in the first half, but he was 6-11 in the second half. He's got a tremendous amount of confidence."
Could you talk about the emotion that Harrison played with in the second half, because a lot of times you know he's a smooth player, but we don't see that kind of emotion we saw out of him at times tonight:
"Well he watches his emotion - you're talking about those two dunks, and you know you growl, and yell and all that kind of stuff. Which is fine, but you need to get your rear end back on defense, and that is what I was yelling at him for, and his teammates said they'd take care of it. I don't mind you celebrating, but you got to play defense too.
"But I thought he was very assertive in the second half. It was something he had one other shot that went all the way in, and came back out. And one time he got an offensive rebound late, and should not have shot it, but he was out on the right baseline and shot it from about six feet, but Z got the offensive rebound and put it back in. So it worked out alright."
Did you draw up a play for Barnes to shoot on the first possession in the second half?
"It was one of the two options. The first option was to throw it to Z inside, and then Harrison was the second option. A little bit later I think we did go straight to Z, and Z made the jump hook on the baseline side. I think those were two of the first four or five possessions of the second half. I was confident he was going to make them. I just hoped it was tonight. I knew he was going to start making them at some point."
On Strickland's shooting against N.C. State after struggling the last three games:
"Well he attacked the basket, and we were able to go up and down in a full-court game. Recently we've been playing too much half court, and doesn't give him as many openings as he had. And then he made a three in the first half, and then the pull-up jumper on the break is a shot I've been trying to get him to shoot all year long. So the best thing is he took really good shots."
What were they doing to make things so difficult for you guys inside tonight?
"We weren't as patient as we needed to be, especially in the first half. Kendall had the most shot attempts of our whole team in the first half, and that usually means it's a late clock. We weren't doing a good job of moving, and then all of a sudden we moved, and one guy would have to try to go one-on-one. I thought it was a little bit of a contrast that we were so [impatient]. One guy was trying to go, or we were very tentative, and then Kendall ends up shooting the basketball. I think at half Kendall had seven shots, and Harrison had six, and we'd like our post players to get some shots too."
Could you talk about the effect that your inside size has been having on defense for you pretty consistently now?
"I think seven block shots for us is about what we're averaging, but it's hard around that basket with John and I thought Z had two, but the stat sheet got him for one, which is fine. But we can make it difficult for you around the basket, and one time we needed it - Dexter and Kendall are jogging back, and let their guy just go right by them, they're trying to decide who they're guarding or where they're going for dinner tomorrow night or something, and Harrow drives in there, but John blocked the shot. It's always good to have somebody that can erase some mistakes."
What is it about the last few minutes? You just seem to find your shot:
"If I knew I'd definitely make that into a consistent game. But I don't know, just peace of mind. On a last second shot you just make or miss, and that decides the game, so you just have to shoot it."
How physical and rough did that game get at times?
"I mean it was very physical. They wanted to compete, and they wanted to try and let us know that, so we were right there with them."
Do you feel pressure to score more than you have been?
"I wouldn't say pressure. I'm going to do whatever I got to do to help my team win. If I get one point and four steals that's fine with me. I'm just trying to go out there and contribute. I've really got to focus on defense, because throughout the teams, most of the teams the one, two or three that's their best player, so I got to come to play every single night. And that's what we did tonight. And that's not just me it's my teammates supporting defense, and stuff like. We all played together."
How much of a relief for you was it to make some shots?
"It was a relief. I knew it was eventually going to pay off, because I put the time in. Last couple of games I haven't been shooting as much, but tonight I looked for my shot, and got to the rack early, and it worked out pretty good."
On the game's physicality:
"The refs were letting us play, so I think it's physical both ways, so we just had to do whatever the refs let us do."
On trash talk during the game:
"I didn't really get involved. It was one of those things I just saw it going on, and I was just trying to keep everybody from any technicals or anything that would hurt us in the end."
"It was obviously a tough loss for us. I thought our kids gave a great effort, certainly played hard enough, made some bad decisions the last six minutes of the ball game. Something we've talked about before the last game - key turnovers, missed some tough shots. We have to get somewhere where we can play smart basketball, but I was very pleased, very pleased with our effort. We really fought. We battled. Some tough things went on out there."
On losing control of the game:
"They just made a couple of plays. They made some plays there. They made a couple of shots. I certainly don't want to take anything away from them, but we certainly made some poor decisions too. You can't take quick bad shots against a team like that. You know I've said that before. They'll make you pay. But they made some shots. They executed, and got a couple of offensive rebounds, and that really hurt us tonight. They're a team of guys that understand what it's all about, and they know they had to get a run. They had to make a run, and so they went a little harder. They came back."