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TONY BENNETT PC (including Baynes, Low & Weaver)
Listen to Audio (16:14)
“Well, it was not the way we wanted to go out. But I told these guys in the locker room after the game, what a run, for their careers. These two seniors, especially. I'm very thankful for that. We so desired to get to this point, and played a heck of a team, and they certainly exploited us. We had some trouble against them, and we'll learn from it. Obviously I want to focus on now, what they did for our program.
“It meant a lot to me and I'm sure you guys will ask questions about that, but Robbie, Derrick and Kyle especially came in when nobody wanted to give us the time of day, and they went through a lot to get our program to where it's at, and I'm just thankful for that.
Again, I'm thankful for what we learned. It was hard out there. It was disappointing because I think we're better than what we showed, and North Carolina is excellent and well coached and tremendous talent and all that. And we thought we could play better than that, but we just didn't do the job tonight.”
On Ty Lawson:
“Yeah, he was good tonight. I asked Derrick in the waiting room, how fast is he? Because in the second half we stopped him two or three times, but then we scored a couple of baskets and he's right on top of you. And I mean, we worked so hard preparing for this and sprinting back and trying to build a wall, but you can't mimic that in practice, and his ability to change directions and use his strength.
”He certainly is a significant guy, because that's our strength, transition defense, it was our strength against Notre Dame and Winthrop and throughout the season. And he found some holes in it and he would get so deep. You know, you try to get out there and pick him up and get the ball off him, but he gets so deep. That was impressive, it certainly was. He's healthy now and getting full strength, and he showed why he's thought of as a big league guard. Tried to go behind the ball, screen a couple times. We made them shoot 43 percent as a team, but they do, they keep coming at you, the best off of makes that you'll see, turnovers, and they keep coming and we knew that.”
On how good North Carolina is:
“They're good. I feel bad, I didn't feel like we represented the Pac 10 the way we should. We got to the Sweet Sixteen. There's three teams here, but I felt early the game was going at least where we needed it to go and I felt we could get shots, we could do things, but where they're good at, you can see it, is they keep coming at you. They keep playing over the course of forty minutes, and we've played some really good teams in our league, a little different style but really good. And I thought we were better than we showed. But I do think North Carolina is very special. And when you shoot it as poor as we did -- and I think North Carolina is better defensively than people think, too. They can guard you, they certainly can, but I did think we got enough quality looks for us to be in the game longer than we were.
”And when you keep missing it does something to you defensively, too, and we couldn't get the easy ones to go down. And when that started happening, you could just feel it and certainly they have a nice atmosphere here for them. But they can play. I'm just disappointed because we should have represented our league better than that. We didn't, but we represented it well for most of the tournament, and it would be a heck of a match-up against the couple of the top teams in our league, if they played them.”
On slowing down Hansbrough in the first half:
”I don't know, I just tried to make him play over a body the whole time. I tried to stay between them in the basket the whole time. I knew he was going to score points, but I tried to do the best I could to stay out of foul trouble and make it tough on him. The second half, he's a great player and great players are going to get shots off and they're going to get some of those to go down. So he came out and scored a few more points in the second half, but still just tried to stay -- I got a few calls, a few fouls called on me and that kind of made me sit out. And it was a struggle down there. But, yeah, I don't know, just tried to play the best [defense] we could.”
On how North Carolina pulled away in the second half:
I thought we were pretty good at transition defense, but tonight I thought that was lacking a little bit. I thought for the most part we got back most of the time, but when you're going up against a quick guard like Lawson, you know, you've got to get everyone back and build the wall and stop him. And I thought, you know, it was partly my fault in the second half -- I mean, yeah, second half, Lawson got a few in a row when he drove the lane through the court and just zig-zagged his way to the rim. But I thought last couple games we were successful at that and tonight it wasn't.”
Can you guys talk about shooting tonight? Was it something they did defensively or was it just sometimes in basketball you get cold?
”Yeah, it was freezing out there. I thought we got a lot of good looks offensively. Pretty often I thought we got a lot of good looks, we drove and kicked a few times. It just wouldn't go down for us tonight, even inside. We missed a few bunnies, a few put-backs that we usually put down, so I think it was more of us than them at times. Sometimes it just doesn't go down and tonight was one of those nights.”