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ROY WILLIAMS PC (including Hansbrough, Thompson & Lawson)
Listen to Audio (16:35)
“Well, we’re very pleased with the way we played in the second half. The first half, I thought they had us on our heels, no pun intended. We weren’t doing a very good job of running back, and so they were scoring on the break and we would score and they would score, and so it wasn’t a consistent thing. We had a little separation right before the half, and then got it up to 19, and then we came out early in the second half and I think made our first three shots.
“Then after that, we were just more gifted and talented, which is what it boils down to. I told [Mount St. Mary’s head coach] Milan [Brown] that I really thought his club played extremely well in the second half of the season. I got to watch four games of theirs, but we are more gifted than they are, and our guys really had a great workman-like attitude about playing the game.”
On the play of Deon and Alex Stepheson:
“Well, they were more a part of the offense because of their work on the offensive backboards… I can live with some things, but you have to play on the defensive end and you have to rebound, and that’s what we didn’t do from that spot as well as we needed in the [ACC] Tournament. So we did have a conversation with Deon, and I think Alex stepped up, as well. But Deon is finally starting to feel a little bit better, because I think today, it’s the first time he’s been in double figures since he got hurt at Virginia, so he’s finally getting healthy again.”
On this game being a reward of sorts for a strong season:
“I think that’s the reason the regular season does mean something. But also, I probably came closer to losing the No. 1 – No. 16 matchup than anybody else that’s ever coached. Because Holy Cross had us with six minutes to go when I was at Kansas as the No. 1 seed, so I never take anything for granted, never. We decided to go out and play the best that we can possibly play.
“The reward for playing real well in the ACC Tournament was the way you feel. It’s not that somebody is going to give you something later on. So the reward is the satisfaction that you get from winning an ACC Championship, getting the ring, cutting [down the nets] and getting that feeling.”
On the similarities between this team and the 2005 squad:
“I felt like we had been a very good team all year. I felt like we were extremely talented in some ways, we weren’t given much respect for playing as a team, and this team doesn’t get much respect for the way we guard and play defense, and everybody says we are talented and that we just roll the ball out and play.
“So, you can make those scenarios, but I think they are two different teams. That team just had a strong, strong will to win the national championship, but it was built during the course of the NCAA Tournament. It remains to be seen what this team is going to do.”
On all of the Carolina blue at the RBC Center:
“It’s definitely different from what we are used to. It’s good to see everybody pulling for us and all of the blue. It’s a little different thing.”
On coping with Eve Carson’s death:
“We all know she was a great person and she was a big basketball fan, and we did what we could. We know that she pulled for us a lot and we were thinking about her and things like that.”
On his performance:
“I felt good. I felt like I got back to playing the way I know I can. Last weekend was pretty bad. I just kept working on our off-days and kept talking with Coach and working on my mindset. That’s the big thing for me is my mental game.”
What did you like about the team’s effort tonight?
“I think as a team we didn’t come out slow and sometimes when you see teams like Mount St. Mary’s, you might come out a little slow, not as prepared to play. But we came out from the beginning prepared to play, and we’re going to need just as much intensity for Sunday if we play Arkansas or Indiana, so just being into the game and playing hard.”
On his ankle:
“My ankle has been feeling better then last few games. At the ACC Tournament, I was trying to push off it and things like that. I think that helped it out a lot playing in the ACC Tournament and I feel like I’m a lot better and trusting my ankle.”
On how this game prepared them for Sunday:
“I just feel they pushed us. They pushed the ball up and down the court like we did, so we had to react to it. They are a good team. They just pushed the ball, and we had to react, basically.”