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“I obviously wish we could have followed up the first half effort with a good second half effort. Give North Carolina credit, they really got out in transition and got on the offensive boards and I thought that their offensive rebounding and their transition really hurt us. Of course Tyler Hansbrough--coming into this game he wasn’t a first-team all-league player--I would say he made a pretty good statement here tonight.”
On the effect North Carolina’s defensive changes affected the team
“At the start of the second half we got two really good looks on those inside-out threes, something we had been talking about. I think Ra’Sean [Dickey] got the ball inside and pitched it out to [Anthony] Morrow right out at the top of the key, wide open. We’re going to take that shot every time. There was also a drive, draw and kick out to Morrow in the corner right in front of our bench. Again another shot we are going to take, he’s clean so he’s got to take those.
“I thought we got in trouble a little bit when they started pressuring us and the five-count was on. Instead of taking them off the dribble we got a little tentative. We regained control of the game a little bit by doing that very thing--taking them off the bounce, getting into the paint, establishing a low-post presence. They had spread out a little bit, had pushed out on the three point line. I think we got the lead with high-seven minutes to go and we stopped being aggressive and going off the dribble again.”
On what led to the second half offensive woes
“I just think we stopped attacking. I thought their pressure on the ball was very strong, very good. Similarly to the play at the end of the first half when they pressured us, we drove it and we felt like we had the ability to create some things if they pressured us. I thought we responded very well in the first half but again when you make shots, everything offensively looks great. Even though we were making shots, it was because we were doing the right thing. It wasn’t like we were being lucky in the first half. In the second half, we just started abandoning it a little bit. We started getting tentative, getting on our heels and used up all our timeouts.
“You look at Hansbrough with 40 points and you start thinking about his points a lot of them came on second shot opportunities and just outrunning us in transition. It’s tough to defend him when he does that.”
On the team’s effort level in the second half
“I thought some of our aggression just went away. It’s tough to explain. I know our guys are trying hard. It wasn’t like they were thinking the game was over at the half. We knew they were going to make a run. Our thought process as a staff was with seven minutes to go let’s be right there with a chance to win and we were. In the last eight minutes, they made more plays than we did.”
On defending Tyler Hansbrough
“We weren’t trying to pick up fouls. We wanted to put Ra’Sean on him but Ra’Sean got in early foul trouble. He only played 17 minutes. He still had 13 points. We thought it was a good matchup for us one-on-one down there. I thought [Theodis] Tarver did a decent job when he was on him. [Hansbrough] hurt us really, when you look back at it, on second shot opportunities and transition. The kid can really run the floor and you have to give him credit. He works very hard. We told our guys coming in that he probably runs the floor harder than any freshman I’ve seen. I can’t remember the last time I saw a freshman run the floor that hard.”