I was just looking down (at the box score), and I’m really proud of a guy that would probably surprise you—I’m really proud of Reggie (Bullock). The last two days we’ve tried to cut his practice back. He got a little flu bug virus—whatever—felt terrible for the last two days. This morning when coaches were in pre-game meal. We were there before the players, van gets there and I said the most important look today is going to be the look that I have when I see Reggie walking in. He walked in and gave me a smile, but it was a forced smile. He hadn’t been feeling very well and his back tightened up too. But I love the way he competed and guarding Joe Harris is not easy. He can really play and can really shoot the ball.
I went wacko at one timeout and got very dizzy, almost passed out. My players were clapping, hoping that I would pass out. You can’t let those kinds of players just stare at you and pull up and shoot the ball right in your face, and we did it two possessions in a row. But I love Reggie’s effort.
Needless to say, P.J. (Hairston)was knocking in some shots, but again the play that I liked was probably his offensive rebound more than anything. I think James Michael rebounded (well) for us. Marcus (JPaige) gave us some big plays and kept us I the game early in the game when it was looking so ugly.
I talked to the team at halftime. A lot of times a team will make a half court shot at the end of the half and think that gives them momentum, and we’ve got to be emotionally invested and for us to have the momentum. First possession of the second half we got P.J. a wide open three at the top of the key and he missed it, but it was a good shot. Early in the second half we were just hoping they would miss and they helped us by missing a few shots the first four our five minutes of the second half. So at the timeouts we talked about not trying to win the game by hoping they miss; let’s try to do a better job of guarding. It’s hard to say that we did a better job when they shot  percent for the game, but I think we did.
We made some shots today, there’s no question about that, and it’s a good feeling right now. We needed to have a good feeling in that locker room after playing at Miami and at Duke the past few days.
You mention P.J.’s rebounding. He had eight against Duke, he had seven today. How important is that in the sense of going smaller and not giving up as much on the boards?
It was huge for us today. One time James Michael shot the ball from the baseline and we had nobody go to the board. I said, ‘Guys, you small guys that like this small lineup, I can not do that if we don’t have you guys getting to the board when James Michael shoots.’ We can’t tell him not to shoot. He can’t be our only rebounder. So the rebounding part of it—you guys have heard me say this before—I think is the most crucial part of the game. But for us, P.J. two games in a row has done a big-time job for us on the backboards. And then Reggie, who took a bad shot late in the game, took a shot from the corner with three minutes to play after one or two passes, got an offensive rebound for us then. I think both of those guys—two offensive rebounds apiece. And that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I though both of them came at good times.
Earlier this season you were kind of upset with too much one-on-one ball. There were seven guys with assists today. What made them buy in to the way they played today?
Fear. (Pause) I think our guys are intelligent. When we play poorly we come back and show it to them on the tape and if you are not passing the ball, not sharing the ball, you are not going to be a very good basketball team. And we talked today about sharing the ball, getting the best shot, getting the shot that we all want. Dexter, two times was almost panic city but finally found somebody when he jumped up in the air—both of them ended up being assists.
But I think that Dexter and Marcus set the tone. Reggie is so unselfish, but I think everybody understands that now. And then the other thing is that you have to realize your strengths and play to them, and stay away from your weaknesses. We are better off moving the ball, moving the ball, then driving it to the basket as opposed to just trying to drive it to the basket right from the start.
What were some of the most important differences between what happened today and what happened earlier this year in Charlottesville?
We made shots—that’s the simple way to put it. Second half, they would make a three and we would come back down and make another three. They’d make one and we’d come back down and make another one. And we were getting a couple of stops there. I was looking down (at the box score), fast break points, we still only had four, but we had some great opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. Gut I really believe that’s it. Coaching is overrated—if you make shots the game looks a lot easier.
Do you anticipate sticking with the small lineup for the long haul now?
I don’t know—if you score 29 points, that’s not a very good reason to keep you in the game.
Does it give you better spacing?
It does give us better spacing—and you know, Des(mond Hubert), I’ll tell you another one I am proud of is Desmond. What did he play, one minute? He had three deflections and stopped two baskets for us in one minute. I tell everybody, ‘Whenever you are called upon, do the best you can. You have to give us something positive.’ But I do think with Desmond, they don’t play him when he goes outside. P.J. they do play him and that opens up—the last two games we’ve probably gotten more drive, more penetration than we had before so I think that does help us.