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We turned it up in the second half. Our defense was at another level. Our defense was what got us back in the game and allowed us to win tonight.
You were at another level in the second half, too …
It was the easiest 30 I ever had in terms of all I had to do was catch the ball and lay it right in. I only think I had one post move tonight, so our guards did a really good job of driving and finding me. … I think I was getting easy looks, but coming right into the second half Rashad said quietly, ‘Take over this game’ and I said ‘I’m going to handle it.’
What is it that FSU gives you so much trouble?
They’re a gritty team. They want to come in and spoil somebody’s fun. We said today that they’re probably the most talented last place team in the country. That’s a talented bunch of kids and they’re well coached.
What was missing in the first half that you had in the second half?
Intensity and fire. That’s all … We weren’t looking ahead, we just didn’t bring it and play with that intensity in the first half.
How has Rashad’s absence affected the team?
We’re definitely missing him – there’s no doubt about that – but at the same time we’ve got guys who are stepping up while he’s out.
What does it mean to have a share of the ACC title?
It means a lot to share it, but we want it all. We’re not trying to be cocky, but I speak on behalf of Carolina, my teammates and our coaching staff – we want it all. So we’re going to come out work hard the next two days of practice and try to come out and get a victory on Sunday.
Can you comment on Sean’s play tonight?
Sean is a great player – there’s no doubt about that. He’s the best – by far – big man in the country. I’m not saying that because he’s my teammate. I think he really is just consistency and the way he’s been playing all year. Seven straight games with double-doubles – that’s impressive. It’s no easy league and Sean is showing how special he is. My hat is off to him and it’s an honor to play with him.
On his ability to pick up the defensive intensity off the bench --
If our team is playing down a little bit, we definitely want to pick up the defensive intensity, get a fast break, get a dunk – something to get the crowd out of it if we’re away and if we’re home, get the crowd into it. So it’s definitely something that we’re always conscious of when we come off the bench.
What does it mean to you to now have an ACC title after the way the first season went?
It means a lot. To start off 8-20 and now possibly get a ring … it feels good. … To be where we are now, it’s a great feeling.
On the significance of this season’s accomplishments –
The guys from before talk about all the banners they have and now I feel like I’m a part of that. When kids come in now, I can show them that I was a part of something – 2004-2005 put a banner up there … This is what I expected coming in my freshman year. I expected the feeling I’m feeling right now.
Have you had any time to reflect on how far you and the team have come from your first year here?
Not really, but I had a little time out there on the court [after the game] just being in the huddle with Coach Williams. He grabbed the three seniors. It gave me time to realize that I never thought this would happen after going 8-20, but it finally did and I hope we continue to get better from here.
What did Coach Williams say to you three in that huddle?
He just told us how proud of us he was and that that was one of his main goals – to get us a ring.
You’re now one win away from the outright ACC title …
We want the whole thing. We don’t want to share it with anybody. We’re a selfish team in that right.