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How good did going into halftime feel, hitting right before the buzzer?
Great! I'm 4-4 in that situation. Jawad got me the rock, and I felt great. I was just, all my teammates flying at me, 'I love you guys.' We are more together than at any time I've been here at North Carolina. It's a great feeling to win. I don't care if I hit three points or 33 points, I just want to win.
How did you maintain your confidence and stay "up" during that stretch when you didn't play much?
It's my faith. My mom always told me, 'Tough times don't last, tough people do.' This year, I've been very patient. Sometimes I'm like, 'OK, God.' I'm a little impatient when things aren't happening for me. But at the same time, if you just hold on a little longer things will happen. Tonight was a great experience for me, and it helped my faith. Got answered my prayers.
This team is just more than one guy isn't it?
Definitely. We didn't want to give anyone the satisfaction of thinking we can't win without Rashad. We wanted to come out at a place like State and come in and get a big win without our leading scorer. That's definitely something that shows the character of this team. And the depth is amazing on this team.
How deferential has Melvin been because he hasn't gotten in and hasn't gotten shots, and how excited do you think he was to get in?
Oh, he was really excited, and at the same time it was detrimental [to NC State] because when Melvin was called upon, he stepped up. It's always tough to step up when the pressure is on your shoulders, but he did a good job of that tonight.
How excited do you think Melvin was tonight?
It wasn't about being excited. He just stepped up when he had to and he stepped up to the challenge.
Do you think he sensed that he needed to score?
Not necessarily score, but he knew he had to hit some shots for us to win that game. He had to be a part of the offense.
Regarding Julius Hodge:
We are probably best friends. I know how Julius is--he always does something to try to get under the other team's skin.
Was that the basis of most of the skirmishes?
For the most part. If you noticed he was always in the middle of it He untied Marvin's shoe one time, little things like that. That's the way he is. I still like him. He's a good player to me.
On successive plays, you hit Raymond for a three and he hit you for an alley-oop. Did you feel those were the punches that would knock them out?
We knew once they cut it to three we were going to run a set play. That's when Ray threw me the lob. And I got an offensive rebound and hit Ray, and that is the chemistry we have. This year we are more mature than we were last year. Last year this team would have wilted and faded away. That is the difference between us this year and last year.
Was that important without Rashad?
Our poise was good without Rashad, but when he is here we even have more poise because that's what he does. He doesn't get rattled; he has ice in his veins. He brings that type of attitude and that type of atmosphere to our game.