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“Obviously I’m very, very proud of our guys and their effort and ability to hang in there. I have the utmost respect, probably after Coach Calhoun; there is nobody in this sport that I respect more than Roy Williams. I feel the way he conducts his business and the way he is as a man, he represents all that’s good about our sport. As a result to be able to compete and win it means a lot for our guys and it means a lot for our program. In the beginning stages, needing these wins like this, for me personally, to legitimize what I yell and scream about at practice everyday. I’m proud of the way we toughed it out. Some things like early doubles on Hansbrough, Mikalauskas posting up hard today and getting some inside baskets that were very important as they were contesting our perimeter people. We had a terrific second half. Because we played defense, because we were gritty, that was the reason we were able to win.
“They were playing on top of all of our sets. I kept yelling to the team to ‘L’ cut and create space to get open. What we did was switch a little bit our philosophy and went with our motion and screening game. That allowed Sean and TJ to get penetration. Carolina’s bodies on defense were on the move and that took away the ability to deny the ball, took away the ability to play as much help defense. It worked and we gained our confidence back and we got some fast break baskets out of it and we were able to sustain ourselves.
“We’re young enough and inexperienced enough, looking at it, when they came back on us in the first half, we got counterpunched. We’re not really at the point where we can fall back on what we know because we’re still learning. So when we hit and get adversity, then we’re still figuring out what to do. That’s what good teams, experienced players and that’s what good programs have is a lot of guys in their program that no matter if you are a high or low that you maintain yourself. At that point in the game, I thought we really learned about how to come back especially on the defensive end.
“To imagine that Jason Cain had five blocks and a charge it speaks to our growth. Those kinds of stats are stats for aggression, stats for awareness. I thought for the most part almost all game we were alert and aware and aggressive. Today it was blocked shots; sometimes it’s going to be help defense or post defense. Ultimately it is something on that end that will help us win.
“I can talk until I’m blue in the face, but those proving points happen fortunately or unfortunately when you win or lose games. When you have a choice, winning is a much better choice than losing. As long as they do the things in practice and conduct themselves in a manner that prepares them to win, then this becomes the ultimate in proving what you’re doing is right, what I’m saying is right and what we’re going to be about is right.”