UNC-CU: Clemson Quotes + Audio

- Inside Carolina
Posted Mar 11, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oliver Purnell, Cliff Hammonds, Sharrod Ford and Olu Babalola addressed the media following the game…

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Opening statement:
“I’m proud of the way our team played here at the tournament. We played pretty well against Maryland, winning convincingly. We played well today for 37 minutes against North Carolina, arguably the best team in the country or the second-best team in the country. My hat goes off to these guys. They have come a long way to be playing at that level. Obviously, we are very disappointed we didn’t close the deal here to advance. I feel we will be playing some more basketball. We have more room to improve, but these guys deserve respect. They are playing at a high level and have become a good basketball team. I’m not sure they are getting the respect they deserve.”

On shot selection during the last four minutes:
”We definitely tightened up. We turned it over in the backcourt, we turned it over in the frontcourt and we didn’t take very good shots. North Carolina had everything to do with that. They really turned up their pressure defense. It all got started coming out of a timeout. We broke the press and turned it over in the frontcourt. That is one of those four-point swings. In this kind of game that is everything. Instead of having an opportunity to score and get to the free throw line they go down and score. That changes the working margin. Obviously it motivated them more. They turned up the pressure. We didn’t handle it very well.”

On turnaround of Clemson team since loss at North Carolina in February:
“I give these guys all the credit in the world. They have been a resilient team all year long. We had our heads handed to us at North Carolina. That could have been an opportunity to get down on ourselves. They choose the opportunity to elevate our game. We learned our lessons, regrouped and came to Maryland to win. They have been playing at this level since then. That is why I want these guys to get the respect they deserve. They have worked extremely hard under tough circumstances. In this league, no one lets up. They got themselves up and crawled off the deck.”


“There were times where they made a run and we fought back hard. They went on a run at the end and we just did not fight back hard enough. If we had fought back harder we could have held them off.”


”It is a disappointing loss. If we could have knocked down more foul shots to extend our lead it could have been a different outcome. This is real disappointing right now.”


On North Carolina’s comeback:
”We just got tight. We had them tight and they were making mistakes. When we were up five we were playing like we were just trying to hold the lead rather than just keep attacking. They just took advantage of it. They’re a real good team.”

On center Sharrod Ford:
”Sharrod’s been our anchor all year. He’s been averaging almost a double-double. He’s been our anchor emotionally and on the court, so he’s had a real good career here, and it’s not over yet. I think we’ll still get an NIT bid.”

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