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Listen to Audio (6:29)
Opening remarks -
It was just a terrific basketball game. Our kids and their kids played so hard. I thought we played winning basketball and so did they. It’s a game that they won and our kids didn’t lose. [North Carolina is] very, very talented and the depth that they have means that they never take a break, so when they’re playing like that you have to be incredibly resilient and I thought our guys were. The 3-for-10 from the free throw line and a couple turnovers hurt us. For us to win that game, you have to hit those things. Our kids played great. They’ve played hard in every game they’ve played in, and none harder than the one tonight.
On the starting lineup change -
I thought that was the lineup that would get us off to the best start. We’re going to do things to try to get guys to be freer. We’re just going to keep doing things to keep getting better. That change was to make us better, and I thought we were.
On North Carolina -
They are talented and they have guys who have won and they have a coach who knows how to win. For the most part, we did a good job of stopping transition. They didn’t get many points in transition. Really down the stretch, they hit their free throws and we missed ours and that’s to their credit. It’s not easy to be in here. I really respect who they are and it shows in the way we played. I thought we played a terrific game tonight but it wasn’t enough to beat a terrific team. We just have to keep doing that and keep trying to get better. I thought [Jon] Scheyer and [Gerald] Henderson showed amazing heart tonight and so did [Greg] Paulus. We played winning basketball.
On the Duke offense later in the game -
They were playing above our wings; you have to keep moving. We tried to play more motion offense tonight instead of calling sets. Carolina had a lot to do with it. Their pressure stands you up and you have to be strong enough to fight through it. What happens then, in certain exchanges you have meaningless dribbles, where you’re just meandering about. We had that on a few exchanges but that was more due to their defense than our guys not wanting to run good offense. I thought we played very hard and well.
On getting better with a young team -
I like the way we played. We kept attacking. It’s not like we were just running down the court. We’re looking to get better and it’s not like we have a package that is all set. When you have this many young players you have to constantly give them the opportunity to get better for the short-run and the long-run. That’s the way we do it in our program and we’ll continue to do that for the rest of the season. We played a lot better tonight.
On confidence -
We can’t get down. If we get down we’re not deserving of winning. You cannot get down about losing, especially in the way we’ve lost. We’ve lost three really tough games that we’ve played winning basketball in. It’s different if you have a team that is not playing hard. That’s never been the case for these kids.
It’s another tough one and it doesn’t get any easier for us. It’s a shame. We were up a lot of the game and it just comes down to our execution down the stretch and doing the right thing. We let it slip away. It’s just really frustrating.
It hurts. It hurts a lot. But the thing is we showed some really good signs in the beginning and we really played together tonight for most of the game. We know we have a couple of tough games coming up, so I think we need to get back to work. With three losses in a row, we really need to come together because it’s not going to get any easier and we know that.
On what went wrong in the second half -
A couple of missed free throws and we had a couple of turnovers where we just gave them the ball. They’re a fast team and they’re going to execute and get easy baskets off of that. They made a little spurt there with about five or six minutes to go to cut our lead and then it was a whole different game.
We can’t be down on ourselves. Obviously the loss is hard but we need to get ready for Maryland, and that was [Coach K’s] main message because we don’t have the time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves.
I kind of felt like guys were helping off of me and leaving me open, and when that happens, I have the green light to shoot the ball, make plays, and pass to my teammates and stuff like that. The shots were there and fortunately I made them.
I felt like we really played like a team today. We made a lot of connecting plays with each other. We really played hard and tough. We just didn’t come out with the win. We felt like we were deserving to win but it just didn’t go our way.
We played good team basketball today I thought, offensively and defensively. We were helping each other. We’re a team that doesn’t have a break-down guy who’s going to score at will and put us on their back. We’re going to have to use each other to score and use each other to make stops, and I thought we did that really well today.
On the starting lineup without DeMarcus Nelson and Josh McRoberts -
We got off to a good start. The guys who started did a really good job. But a lot of things don’t change whether you come off the bench or start. The job is still the same – play defense, rebound, and share the ball on offense.
We’re playing a little better. We’re playing hard and sometimes it doesn’t result in a win. We have to keep remembering this feeling so it doesn’t happen again.