“You guys that have been here awhile have known and you’ve heard me say this a thousand times, everything looks so much better when the ball goes in the basket and that’s what happened today. The first half, I thought for a long stretch early that we weren’t really into it, we were just trying to outscore them. We were willing to give up too early on the defensive end and they capitalized on that because we thought we could outscore them. Then I thought we did get a little better defensively, but it was just the story of one of those games where we shot the ball really well.
"The ball went in the basket. We made free throws. It’s amazing that you have the legs and the whole thing for doing that with four games in eight days and still be that fresh. It’s like I said to everybody, four games in eight days is not easy by any means, but guys did a nice job staying focused after that first six or seven minutes of the game. I thought at halftime right before the half, we had a nice little run to stretch it out to 19. Six guys in double figures, all five starters, a lot of things to like out there today but the ball going in the basket is the best thing.”
How did you handle your team during the 36-hour period between the Duke win and today’s noon tip?
“We only were actually active, doing things for about 45 minutes in practice but the whole thing was just talking to them. Guys it’s what it is it’s our schedule so we’ve got to play it. You can’t feel sorry for yourself; you’ve got to feel good about playing four games in eight days. If I were a player I would’ve loved that. I tried to go from the positive side of it.
"The other thing is that short of practice, you’re young, you’ve got plenty of time for your legs to get back if you handle it mentally and that’s all we talked about. We said it is what it is, let’s just go play, let’s not worry about it and let’s not make excuses. You did have a big win but this game here today is just as important as Thursday night’s game.”
Did the fact that this team already suffered a loss to Wake Forest help this team avoid a letdown after such an emotional win?
“I told them that it was be easy for me to get up if somebody had beat my rear end the last time. I wouldn’t have any problem if it was four games in eight days or eight games in four days, I’d be ready to play their rear ends. That was the only other thing I said because they did, they wacked us the last time.”
What’s the plan for your team over these next few days?
“Tomorrow is going to be a day off and then we’ll go back to work on Monday. It’s a long season, you can’t just say oh gosh let’s catch our breaths because that’s really good. There’s more games left to play and everybody plays basically the same number of games. We’ve got four left and I would assume everybody in the ACC has about four left. We’re not any different than anyone else. Three on the road and one at home, we’d like it the other way around. The bottom line is it’s the still the end of the season and you’ve got to keep playing.”
How different is your team now as opposed to the team that lost to Wake Forest in your ACC opener?
“We’re a lot better but Wake Forest really played well. It wasn’t just our poor play up there in Winston. We beat them badly on the backboards that day but that’s the only place we beat them. Every other stat you look at they really hurt us. They shot 21 layups that time and had 46 points inside the lane. 17 turnovers for us the last time so we’re a lot better and we caught them on a day where they didn’t play as well and our shots were going in.”
How close is Marcus Paige to becoming to type of floor leader you want him to be?
“He’s really close. I had a goal today, I wanted to try to get him out a little more in the second half and had a goal of him not playing 30 minutes. The most favorable stat to me is that he only played 28 minutes today. He’s a tough competitor. He can score. He understands the game of basketball. He’s like a coach on the floor. Pound for pound, he’s as tough as anybody we have mentally. I’m not talking about physically, I’ve never seen him in a fight and hope I never do. He’s a tough kid and understands the game. Most the time when a call is made, he thinks about which way it should go to take advantage of the best shooter or which way should it go to take advantage of the best post up player or Leslie’s made the last three so where can I go to get Leslie the shot. He thinks the game and he has talent so he’s really frickin’ good.”
Has Leslie McDonald been more selective with his shots and has that elevated his play overall?
“Today he took one shot that I didn’t like and Thursday night it was one, so he’s only taken two in the last two games. He’s been rushing it a little bit, I think pressing a little bit previously because he is a good shooter. He’s been shooting it just not going in. I like those guys that make them and the last two games he’s taken better shots. Shot selection is always a huge factor in your percentage but it helps when that first one goes in and it did this game and last game.”