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“Congratulations to Carolina. I’ve been reading an awful lot about them in our local newspapers about how good they are. They certainly are a terrific basketball team, and really well coached….Felton appears to be as good a player as there is in the country….For my money, Felton is as good a point guard as I’ve seen. Today, he was impeccable….I thought in the first half, Marcus matched him. In the second half, Felton won the battle, certainly.
“The game was decided, probably, unlike I thought it would be decided. I thought the game might be decided on the boards. We did a good job there – we competed well. Secondly, I thought the game might be decided because their fast break is so good….The game was decided because we weren’t mentally tough enough to stay within our offense. Just as we made some terrific passes, in the second half we made some horrendous passes that led to fast break lay-ups, dunks, etc. And that’s the ballgame. The difference in the game was just turnovers by us, and lack of mental toughness.
“They’re a really terrific team. They’re a team that can win a national championship. Their execution was impeccable.
“I thought we competed as well as we possibly could, but we came apart ball-handling wise. As opposed to telling you what we didn’t do, maybe I should start talking about what they did defensively – getting up into our stuff and tried to make us make plays. We needed weapons to make plays. Generally speaking, over the years, we’ve had kids that could go by you and make plays. I thought Rudy got tired. We played him for 39 minutes, he probably should have been. Marcus got tired in the second half, I thought. And we couldn’t make those kind of plays.
“Josh, I think, played well, but I thought that our frontcourt had to get us more points.
“We couldn’t make enough plays in the second half. Matter of fact, most of the plays we made were poor. Poor decisions, and we turned the ball over too many times. I’m certainly disappointed with the fact that we turned the ball over so many times, and that we gave in to great defense.”
On if the team was tired:
“I wasn’t tired. We weren’t tired. Coach gets us ready for these kinds of things. When it comes down to it, you have to get out there and play.
On the difference in the game?
“I guess we just have to come out there and play the whole game like we start it.
On UNC’s 3pt shooting:
“It hurt us a lot; they are a good shooting team. Basically everybody on the court can shoot. We made a couple of bad decisions like over-helping and stuff and that also cost us the game, we just had to think…they are older and that’s not just an excuse but they played a lot of defense and that’s also what cost us.
“We believe they are one of the best, along with Illinois. It showed us that we can play with anybody. I think we controlled our own destiny in that game and I don’t think we came out like we should have.”
Was the difference between the 1st and 2nd half due to North Carolina’s play or UConn’s play?
“It was a little bit of both. They’re one of the best pressure teams in the country. But also, we let them get into our heads. We just kept making mental error after mental error and eventually it came back to catch up with us. We had 22 turnovers and they had 25 points off them – that was the difference in the game right there.
Was their defensive pressure the key?
“They did have good pressure, but like I said we just made a couple mental mistakes. We’ve played against teams that put pressure on us, but tonight it was just a different story. We just started turning the ball over.
On not having Rashad Anderson in the lineup:
“Of course we’re going to miss Rashad, he’s our leading scorer. But that’s still no excuse. We still should have had a better result than this.
Was North Carolina’s experience a factor?
“I don’t think experience was really a factor. Well, maybe down the stretch, when they made a couple key plays and we didn’t, that could have been experience. But I think we put just as much effort as them into the game.
What do you learn from this game that you can apply in the future?
“We must be more careful with the ball, just stop turning the ball over. That is the one thing today that really lost us the game. We outrebounded them, were even with them in fast break points, it’s just we turned the ball over.
On Marcus Williams’ play:
“Once again, Marcus was great. He was playing great defense. He was scoring the ball. He was really trying to get us into our offense and he was breaking their pressure. We can’t really ask more from a guy, especially when he’s sick.”