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Tell me how you are feeling right now.
Very disappointed, of course because we didn't win the game, but because we dug ourselves such a hole at the start of the second half. That really hurt us. We had to come back. Coach took us out to get our heads right and the second five came in an and gave us a little spurt, and we took it from there. But we never really stopped their offense, and that really hurt us down the stretch.
What did he say to you when you came out?
He was just saying we have to compete--that's not the way we compete. We just have to work harder. 'If you guys want to sit on the bench for the rest of the game then keep on going out there acting like that. We had to make up our mind when we went back in the game that we were going to play. He gave us another chance and we took advantage of it, but unfortunately we weren't able to get the win--it wasn't enough to get the win today.
It looked like on both ends of the floor that, instead of the ACC, it should have said WWF. I see you have a scratch above your eye. Was it as rough as it looked out there?
It was aggressive--especially a game like this. I knew coming into the game it was going to be intense. You know, you have to prepare yourself for it and be able to take on the challenge.
On the last shot, can you talk about that? Were you looking for the three?
We were looking for the three, but I froze up when I got the ball. I wasn't expecting to get the ball, really, so when Dave passed me the ball my next instinct was to just go. I froze up, I made a mistake, I wasn't paying attention. I caught the ball and just went, and I realized we needed a three when I let the ball go. I was like--I was really mad at myself. We learn from our mistakes, and hopefully that won't happen again. I'll make sure it won't happen again.
What do you think you learned overall from this game--down 17, came back, took the lead?
We can beat anybody. There is nobody out there that we can't beat or compete with. We have the tools, we have the talent, we just have to be mentally tougher.
You've heard about this game, you've seen it on TV, and now you've been a part of it. What are your thoughts about what the intensity is like out there?
It's very intense, but Coach Williams told us to treat it just like another game, and after a while that's what it felt like--another ACC game. We really wanted to win this game bad. We knew we could beat them. We know we can beat anybody. Down 17, we came back, took the lead--made a couple mistakes. If we were mentally tougher, we would have definitely pulled this game out. We had an advantage--they weren't hitting many shots, we were up. You don't get many opportunities to beat Duke, especially when they are #2 in the nation.
You've heard about North Carolina-Duke, and now you've been a part of it. What are your thoughts?
Just basically just higher intensity, you know. Every basket just seems that much more important, you know, when you are playing Duke. Tough team, they did a great job of capitalizing off your mistakes. They don't make too many mistakes themselves. They are a great basketball team; that's just a game where you have to play a near-perfect game if you are going to try to beat them.
Not many people were giving you guys a chance tonight. Some people would be happy with just staying close, but you all see disappointed like you should have won.
Definitely. To me it doesn't really matter that they are #2 in the country or how many wins they have or who is playing on the team. They are another team and everybody comes up with a 50/50 chance of winning or losing. They can lose just like any other team. Personally, this North Carolina team is capable of beating this Duke team, so we are very disappointed. We feel like we short-handed it tonight. We have to pick our heads up and go get another ACC win on Sunday.
What did you learn from this game, if anything?
You know, that everything counts--every little possession counts. At the end, Danny took a two instead of a three, but you can't get on him for that because that's not the only play that happened. Not boxing out, letting them get a rebound, me going underneath the screen one time gives J.J. an open look for three. So there are a lot of little mistakes you have to take care of early in the game, so towards the end of the game you don't have to deal with a type of situation like that.
You've seen this rivalry on TV, you've heard about it, now you've been a part of it. What are your thoughts?
It's everything everyone built it up to be--the intensity, the fans are crazy, 40 minutes of high energy basketball. I mean, I'm just glad to be a part of it. Too bad we couldn't get a win tonight.
What do you take away from this game, playing Duke the way you did, you guys were down 17 in the second half? I know you lost the game and that's tough.
It kind of shows you that you can't come out and play soft, unagressive and careless, like we did to start the second half. I mean, those first three minutes were almost embarrassing the way we didn't get a shot off for three or four straight possessions, and they were coming down and scoring at will. I mean, against the second-ranked team in the country, a big-time game like that and you are not going to come out [and play hard] and you start the second half like that is just unacceptable. I think that's why we shot ourselves in the foot or dug a hole right there, and it was tough to get back.
I know you are a tough competitor. What's going through your mind when Coach Williams set you down?
He took us out, Coach Holladay got on us. They were telling us we were soft for just stopping, just stopping the ball, picking up the ball so far away from the basket, an they just wanted us to go at them. That's what our second group did when they went in there. They did a really good job of attacking, and they got lay-up, lay-up here, lay-up there, offensive rebound putbacks. We came back in and wanted to be aggressive. We did that and got ourselves back in the game with the lead. They made some plays down the stretch.
When they got up 17 in the second half, what did you all do to try to change the momentum, and then what happened after that?
I think Coach took us out of the game to talk to us. The other five men really got after it, got some stops, made some points, shifted the momentum towards us.
What was it like playing in your first Duke-North Carolina game--was it what you expected?
It's everything it's hyped up to be, you know. You look out there, the fans are going crazy, you see how many TV cameras and everything like that. You notice all the little stuff that you would while you are playing. It's just a big deal, it's huge
Have you ever been a part of a game that had so many runs both ways?
No, never. I mean, tonight one team would make a run and then we would come back and make a run. You never knew what the outcome of the game was going to be until the time ran out.
Coach takes you guys out early in the second half. What were the lessons there? What was going through your mind when you are sitting there watching the other guys play?
He wanted us to compete a little harder and take better care of the ball. He got his point across and we came back in and played a lot better.
Talk about the intensity and the physical nature of the game. Was it as physical on the court as it looked from the stands?
It was physical, but it wasn't any more physical than any other game that we've played in. It's just a part of the game.