"First of all, before we say anything about the game, let’s make sure that everybody's thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Hamilton and his family with the passing of his mom. Leonard and I go back a long way, when he was an assistant at Kentucky and when I was an assistant here. What a wonderful guy and his mother was 96; he said she lived a wonderful life. But still let's make sure everyone's thoughts and prayers go out to Leonard.
"First half we were really good. You take away the two bonehead defensive plays we made at the end that gave them two conventional, old-fashioned three-point plays – and it was a couple of our veterans involved both times – and I thought we were good defensively and really good offensively. The reason I just say good defensively is because we were also fortunate that Florida State missed some shots. They were pretty doggone open, too. We've got to make sure we don't leave someone wide open. They missed some shots in the first half that they make a lot. But I liked our intensity, I liked the way we were pushing the ball and needless to say, I like the way we were shooting it. In the first half we were 6-for-11 from three - that always helps you as well. The second half I was a little frustrated at times. Florida State is good defensively. Two of the last four or five years they have led the nation in defensive field goal percentage. They switch all the screens one through four and make it difficult for you. We didn't do a good job handling that in the second half. We made enough shots to keep it going. They cut it to 12 but we just kept playing, so it was good."
How much better is this team when James Michael McAdoo starts the way he did?
"If he starts and makes his shots, it’s a heck of a lot better than when he starts and misses his shots, there's no question. I think that James Michael was aggressive early in the game, but I think the whole team was. That was good for us. When the ball goes in the basket it makes everyone a little more aggressive and you can do more things.
"A couple of times we got some long rebounds and a couple of turnovers that we were able to run the break and push the ball. James Michael can drive the ball to the basket as well. We have to make sure we move the ball at times so there's space so he can drive in there. He and Reggie (Bullock) were sensational for us, and P.J. [Hairston], all three can score. All three had 20, 21 and 16; 8 –for-11, 10-for-5, 6-for-11. If you have guys shoot those percentages, it's going to help you at anytime."
Is your team now comfortable with the smaller starting lineup?
"I think we are still in the process of getting used to it. In the second half, I'll give this example; very few teams have tried to post up P.J. and tried to post us up a little bit with the smaller lineup. I thought Florida State did that quite a bit in the second half with [Kiel] Turpin and Okara [White] and some of those guys. We didn't handle that very well. So we have got to do a better job of fronting the post and if you can't front him you have to get help from the top and rotate over. That's something we know that we have to work on with Maryland coming up with Alex Len. They have about five or six big guys that are the focal point of their offense. We’ve got to do a great job between now and then.”
Are you happy about how they’ve adapted to this?
“Yeah, it’s all about winning and so you have to be happy about that part. We’re a little more active. They had 15 turnovers. We’re a little more active with that defense. We don’t block shots around the basket like we did before when we had Desmond and Brice and Joel playing all of those minutes, but I think we are more active defensively.”
How much of an effect has Hubert Davis had on P.J.’s shot?
“Well, the first time I ever saw P.J. in high school he had like 400 one game. The guy can shoot. But he went a whole season shooting a poor percentage, and this year he was shooting a poor percentage until we put him in the starting lineup. Before he was very inconsistent. At Florida State he was great and against Maryland he was 1-for-8. And he was 1-for-7 one game ago. So we still need him to [improve] his consistency.
"Coach Davis, Coach [C.B.] McGrath and Coach [Steve] Robinson, they’ve all done a great, great job, but I think the biggest thing with P.J. since he got in the starting lineup, I think he feels a little more comfortable. But again, he probably played the worst game he’s played all year the last game, so I’m not exactly jumping on that boat like you are because it was the worst game I’ve seen him play and he will agree with that.”
You were frustrated with your team’s toughness at Clemson. Did you see the response you wanted to see today?
“We’re not going to win many brawls. We’re basketball players and we’re cute and all of that kind of stuff, but we have to have toughness going after the loose balls. And I thought Jackson [Simmons], for example, on the far side diving for a loose ball and getting a loose ball and then we end up scoring and getting a three on that possession. We’ve got to have more guys getting involved to do that. Marcus [Paige] is a tough little kid, but he is ‘little kid.’ Our toughness is getting better. That’s probably not the right word. I’ll still go back to the phrase – a ‘sense of urgency’ of everything that we’re doing is the way we’ve got to play every game.”