What does it mean to set a record like this—a freshman scoring record but also a building record?
It’s very important. You look at all the great players that have played here, you know, it’s something down the line I’ll talk about.
Talk about the comeback.
We really got after it defensively in the second half. That’s what Coach really stressed to us at halftime. We came out there. We had to stop some of their open shots. I think that’s what we did. We came back and that’s what led to our offense and gave us the run.
You’ve had 40 point nights before in high school. Obviously that’s a different level. Talk about how this game rates for you.
I think it’s definitely one of my best individual performances. I haven’t played against a level of competition that I’ve played in college. In high school I didn’t see much 6-9. In college they might have two or three of them. So it’s really important.
On Coach Williams’ halftime lecture
There’s no question we deserved it. We needed it. We didn’t put forth the intensity. We didn’t play smart in the first half. And he wasn’t pleased at halftime. But he just kind of finished it up by letting us know that we have a chance. If we come out and play hard—not worry about the score, just worry about every possession one at a time—then we have a chance to win the game.
What was the difference defensively in the second half?
We turned it up. I just think we turned it up. We focused. Everybody was in the stance, five guys in the stance at the same time. We got into the passing lanes. We contested. We didn’t let them do the things they did in the first half. We finished things with a rebound. We were a completely different team.
What did you think of what Tyler did tonight?
Phenomenal. He amazes me. He really does. He always finds a way to get to the basket. He’s getting killed, people are hanging all over him. But it always gets up there and kind of drops in with his touch and his skill around the basket. It’s amazing. And I think he had ten boards as well. He just gets after it on the offensive and defensive boards. It’s a momentum changer. We feed off that. And we feed off the fact that we know when we get the ball to him, he’s going to score. And in the second half, we said “That’s what we’re going to do—we’re coming to you, big fella.” We were trying to pound it in to him, and every time we got it in to him, he scored.
Is it hard to believe sometimes that Tyler is just a freshman?
I’d say so. I mean, that’s the most points that anyone’s scored in Dean Dome history? That’s incredible.
Where does this relate in terms of the comebacks you’ve been a part of?
This is incredible. We were down twenty in the first half, and Coach Williams said after the game, five, ten years, however long he’s still coaching, he’s going to be talking about this comeback.
What does that do for your confidence going down the stretch?
It shows we’re in control of our own destiny. If we take it one game at a time, if we control the game and take care of business, then we can win them all.
Your shot wasn’t dropping, but you finished with eight assists. You’ve been kind of down in terms of assist totals the last few games. Are you feeling back on track?
It was nice to get out there and have so many assists. The last few games I’ve been getting guys the ball, but not really giving them opportunity to score. Tonight I thought I did a good job penetrating, getting Wes a three, getting Tyler the ball in scoring position. I just kept throwing him the ball and that was an assist right there.
Talk about where you guys are now in terms of the ACC.
We’re in control. We’re not right in the position we want to be to win the league or anything like that, but if we win out, take care of business, we’ll be successful.
Heck of a comeback tonight.
Yeah, we dug ourselves a hole early. And we did a great job in the second half limiting them to one shot and out, getting to the offensive boards, things like that.
How about that performance by Tyler?
Yeah, he had a great night tonight. Every time we fed him the ball, he was making it and getting fouled. So if he can continue to play like that, especially in games like this where he’s not getting too much help from everybody else, he can really carry us.
Can you talk a little about Coach Williams at halftime?
Uhhh…. [silence]. Uhhh. You know how the Tasmanian Devil has his little thing, where he destroys everything in his path? That’s my best analogy for it. And this was before he came back in, this was as soon as he came into the locker room at the half. Usually he goes into his locker room and comes out and gives us a little speech. But this time before he even went into his locker room he came in and did his Tasmanian Devil thing, went back in, and then he came back out a little calmer. We already knew what to expect, though. We came in—I had a key turnover right in the last seconds. So I knew what was coming.
How gratifying is it to be where you are now in the ACC standings?
It’s not as gratifying as it could be. We have five games left, and our fate is in our own hands. We can continue to creep or we can fall off the earth. So hopefully we can continue to play well, especially on the road.
How were you able to get out and run more in the second half?
I think it was just focus. They were making every shot they threw up in the second half, and there’s not much running you can do when they go in the basket. So for the most part we just tried to get a hand up on every shot and they missed a little bit in the second half.