Opening Remarks -
"Like I said earlier this week, I hate Sunday night games, but this feels pretty good right now. That was an unbelievable game. I don't know what happened to us early, they hit us right between the eyes and we backed off a little bit too much. Then we got so timid and tentative with everything. We had six dead lay-ups in the first half. We didn't do a good job of stopping their dribble penetration and just couldn't get anything going. I was hoping to get it to seven or eight at the half, and we weren't able to do that and it was still eleven. Then we came out and played better early and got it to six, and then all of a sudden it's back to thirteen.
"I told our guys, if you just keep playing. We can't do anything about the stuff that's behind us, but we can do something about each and every possession doing exactly what your supposed to do. I know it sounds plan and simple and corny, but that is exactly what I was telling them to do. Danny made a couple of threes and all of sudden, the guys felt like they really did have a chance. The crowd got into it and it was a sensational crowd for us today. We need that kind of support.
"We are struggling a little bit with injuries. For sure, Bobby and Ty, Marcus sprained his ankle in the first half. They taped it and put a brace on it, he was just really laboring out there, so I didn't put him back in. It is tough enough to go from the first point guard to second point guard to the third point guard, but all of sudden when you lose the third point guard it gets a little difficult out there.
"If I live to be one hundred and six, I won't be any more proud of a group of kids than I am that bunch right there. They were amazing and again Danny made those threes and all of sudden they started believing a little bit more. Then we started to get a few more things out of our defense and got some traps and got some turnovers. And we got shots ourselves. We had thirteen turnovers at half time and we finished with twenty. That means in the second half and the two five minute overtimes or the last thirty minutes of the game, we only had seven turnovers. We got a lot stronger with the basketball.
"Q just did a really, really good job for us. Tyler Hansbrough, how about sprinting down the court knocking the ball lose and diving on the ball. I don't know how much longer I am going to coach him, but I'd like to coach that big sucker about thirteen more years. When he decides to leave -- and I don't want any questions about that cause I could frankly don't give a damn -- but when he leaves I am going to consider I'm luckiest guy in the world to have coached him."
Coming back from 11 down, the heart your team showed with that comeback ...
"I don't have the play-by-play, but I think that is when Danny made a couple of those threes. All of a sudden it is a five-point game and then you do really start believing. Then we were talking about one stop - we need one stop. It was discouraging when Wayne played great defense on Oglesby and he made that three. It was a double pump lean in three with Wayne in his face.
"You also have to be awfully proud of Quentin Thomas. The adversity that youngster has faced and then he steps to the free throw line and makes both free throws to tie the game up at 90. There are a lot of guys I am awfully proud of."
What about Quentin's defense on Hammonds? From two minutes to go in regulation, he didn't score again ...
"We've been after all our guys about doing a better job guarding the dribble and we did start to do better ... but I have no idea why we started the game like that. We were tentative and that's not what we want to do. ... But Q was again really good. I grabbed him yesterday at practice or today at shootaround, I told him I was really proud of him. He's started getting a little healthier with his knee and he has had a stomach problem for about a week. Those were two big free throws that he stepped up and made as well."
Was Tyler Hansbrough just not going to let you guys lose today?
"Him, Wayne, Q and all of them were. ... Tyler Hansbrough, guys ... my favorite football player of all-time was Earl Campbell. They asked Bum Phillips if he was in a class by himself. He said he didn't know if he was in a class by himself, but it sure didn't take long to call the roll to get to him. That is Tyler Hansbrough."
How you seen a team in recent memory have a comeback like this?
"I told them it reminded me of Duke, when we were down nine with three minutes to play in '05. This one may be even wilder. It wasn't looking good and we were looking at a thirty-point butt kicking with about five or six minutes into the game. Clemson just did beat Virginia by 31, at Virginia. So they were flying high and athletic as all get out. I think they are a big-time, big-time basketball team. Now I feel awfully lucky we played them twice. I wish everyone had to play them twice."
What about the team's stamina, having three guys play more than 45 minutes?
"I used every one of my timeouts except one, I think. I used all of mine, TV used all theirs, Oliver used all his. Tomorrow's practice we'll probably go a little less than four hours [laughing]."
How close was Lawson to playing tonight?
"Not really. It just didn't feel any better. Yesterday I said, 'Why don't we just quit worrying about.' And my guess is he probably won't play at Virginia either. We just have got to give him more time and see what it feels like. We have to go how he feels. I think he'd like to be back out there, I'd love for him to be out there. Bottom line is he's still hurting."
How does a comeback like that start?
"I don't know how it starts, honestly. At the beginning of the game they came out firing and they were really into it -- and we weren't in it. I told the guys, and Coach told us at halftime, no matter what, keep fighting ... and things started clicking."
With two minutes to go, I saw you grab Wayne and talk to him. What did you say?
"I was just telling him, things aren't always going to go smoothly for us, but there are games like this and situations like this that shows what kind of team we're capable of being."
From two minutes left in overtime on, you stopped Hammmonds from scoring again ...
"I just felt I needed to step up. He was playing a great game, and if we wanted that win, we had to make stops."
How does it feel to have such a big impact on a win like this?
"It always feels good when you can contribute to any win, but especially a win like this. Everyone stepped up -- Danny made great shots, Tyler played great, Wayne ... everybody. It feels real good."
How wild was that game? 47 minutes for you, two overtimes ...
"It was extremely crazy. It's something that's great to be a part of tonight, is that victory. We fought hard. There were some tough times in the first half, and luckily we fought and came back and got the win."
Was there a stretch where you felt like you had to will your team to victory?
"I think there was a period where some people were down, but I think some guys picked some people up, especially Quentin. He came in there, and he really got after us, and I think he picked up the whole team."
How satisfying is it to see a senior step up like that?
"He stepped up big for us tonight, especially those two free throws."
What did Quentin say to you guys to motivate you?
"Just telling guys to step it up. We can't be playing like this, especially the way we did in the first half. And I think he lifted us all."
Was there a time you were thinking you might lose this game?
"That whole first half, but we never gave up, and that's what's so special about this win for us. We're facing a lot of adversity without Ty already, and then we come out here and kind of lay an egg in the first half a little bit, and then we just keep on fighting and come back and get a win."
Did you guys talk about the streak against Clemson before this game?
"No, but I'm happy it's still going on. We didn't say anything about it before the game, or anything like that, but everybody knows about it, so we definitely didn't want to be the team that they break it on."
Clemson kept the ball out of your hands in the first game, but you really got it going tonight in the second half ...
"They were being real physical, in the first half especially, but I think I started getting more comfortable and things started going my way and I felt more comfortable with my moves down low."
What does it feel like after a game like that to leave everything out on the court?
"I'm extremely tired right now, I can't lie. I love to play basketball, but that was a lot and my body is pretty worn out. I've got a lot of bumps and aches, but I've got to be ready for Virginia coming up."
Playing 47 minutes, does the exhaustion enter your mind late in the game?
"Yeah, definitely. I was extremely tired, going into timeouts I was winded, trying to catch my breath in between breaks ... We'll have to be ready [for Virginia]. This is the ACC. This was long and we'll have to go take care of ourselves and be ready for Virginia."
What was it that got your shot going down for you again tonight?
"I was just taking shots in stride. I wasn't taking anything rushed or forced, letting it come to me - and when it came to me I knocked it down."
What is it about you and Clemson? You seem to have your best games against them.
"I don't know. I really don't know. Early I was open and knocked one down and went from there."
Could you see the team's confidence grow late in the game?
"We started competing harder and you could just see it in guys' eyes - we just started wanting it more."
What enabled the comeback?
"We know that we had plenty of time and we knew if we kept fighting we could be in it in the end. We kept out heads up, continued to fight and get stops, and execute on the offensive end of the floor."
How important was Danny Green's big three-pointer on the fast break ...
"It was huge. We got some traps, they threw the ball away, and we capitalized on it. Danny Green hit some really big-time shots to bring us back. He hit that and we got excited and we started believing in ourselves even more and it gave us more confidence."
Can you talk about Tyler's performance tonight?
"Tyler's an animal. He was everywhere. That's why they call him `Psycho T.' He's so aggressive and he's after it all the time. He was huge for us tonight as well."
Do you think this game showed that this team is not just talented, but tough as well?
"Definitely. This game right here showed a lot of toughness in us. We didn't have Ty, we were down big, got a lot of steals and we made some big shots. We had the will, the heart, the passion -- whatever you want to put down -- to come back and win the game."
It looked early on that the offense was out of synch. Was that a matter of still trying to adjust to Ty not being in there?
"I wouldn't say that. It was us adjusting to them, they play a great press defense ... and they were hitting some shots. We tried to pick it up in the second half, putting pressure on them and that's when the tables turned."