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Listen to Audio (6:36)
“Let’s get something out of the way – it was unfortunate at the end. We made a mistake and probably shouldn’t have bounced the ball in there to score. I said something to Lee Fowler as we came off the court and he said, ‘Yes, but you’ve got substitutes in the game and you never can tell what they’re going to do.’ But we still shouldn’t have done it. It was a hard foul, but there was no reason for Michael to react like that. But let’s not make it a bigger thing than it is. I apologized to Sidney and he understood. Ben McCauley apologized to me and I love him and he didn’t have to do that. And he just said, ‘I’m sorry,’ and I said, ‘Don’t say that. You’re playing hard and let it go at that.’
"For us, the first five minutes of the game, we were bad and then we played pretty doggone well the rest of the first half. In the second half, when they cut it to seven or eight or whatever it was, we kept coming back and scoring two or three times in a row, and then it would get back to 12 or 13… We were pushing it up and getting some baskets inside. You like to look down there and see five guys in double figures, even though I was if Courtney [Fells] was going to hit every single shot for them in the second half, so that was concerning us a great deal. It was a very good win for us on the road."
On why he benched Tyler for part of the first half:
"He didn't box out. For me to stand over there and talk about it and preach about it… I love him to death. My gosh, I've been the luckiest coach in America, but anyone can box out, or at least make an effort. He didn’t, so he got a chance to come over there and see what it feels like to be over there early.”
On UNC’s defense:
"I thought we played hard. They set a lot of screens, and they're a difficult team to guard because their big guys can shoot it from so deep, like Costner. When they go big like they did tonight, [we guarded] Tracy [Smith] with our five-man. We guarded McCauley with our four-man, so know you’re guarding Costner with our three-man, and that’s Danny [Green]. But when Bobby comes in, that’s Wayne. So he’s got a great size advantage. Almost every time down the court, you’ve got a mismatch problem. But after the first five minutes, I thought our kids played really hard.”
On why William Graves did not play:
“I didn’t want him to play.”
Listen to Audio (2:46)
N.C. State went with a big lineup tonight. Did that change anything for you?
“Not necessarily. I was going to try to play my game, no matter who they started.”
What was your reaction to Coach Williams benching you for not boxing out?
“He should have. He doesn’t give me any special treatment, and I messed up. I think every player needs that. If you’re not playing well, you need to be taken out and Coach will talk to you. It either motivates [players] or its gets them down. And for me, I think it motivates me.”
Do you judge how aggressively you’re playing by how many times you get to the free throw line?
“That’s something that I don’t really look at. I think a lot of teams play me physical and I wind up at the free throw line, but it’s not like I go out there and try to go to the free throw line.”
Listen to Audio (3:25)
In retrospect, would you have thrown the pass to Copeland there at the end?
“Probably not. I probably should have taken the high road and just dribbled the ball out, but I came in with him, I wanted him to score, I wanted him to get some memories. But if I had known that was going to happen, I probably would have thought twice about it.
How much was it a symptom of rivalry?
“It’s unfortunate that that happened, but we don’t really like State, and State doesn’t really like us. It’s known. Fans, they know it to. My guess is that if we had been playing some small school, he wouldn’t have done that, but since it’s State…”
Listen to Audio (12:20)
“I thought it was a hard-fought ball game. I thought they played well. They had some guys that really stepped up for them. I thought Courtney Fells was outstanding for us. Our guys did a great job of coming back in the second half and cutting the lead to eight… I was a little disappointed we had some chances to take some charges and we kind of stepped out of the way. That was really one of the things very disappointing."
Your guys cut it to eight several times, but couldn’t get a stop –
"Actually, in the second half, we cut it to eight coming out of a timeout and we had the ball, and we took a bad shot. We took a step-back three, they got it, pushed it down the floor, and they hit a three. That started their run. At that time, I thought we had the momentum in our favor. Courtney was going pretty good and Dennis Horner was really playing well... we couldn't continue that. They took the momentum back in their favor."
On talking with Roy Williams about how the game ended:
"We talked about that. He was unhappy with his player reacting that way, and he wanted to get him out of the game, but he understood. Ben apologized, and told Coach [Williams] that he didn’t really mean to try to hurt the guy. You don’t want to ever see anybody get hurt and especially in a situation like that."
McCauley said it was disrespectful for someone to try and score that late in the game –
"There are two schools of thought on that. One is, the game is over so run the time out and don't try to embarrass people. But the other is there are guys who haven't played minutes and they want to get two points. The game is not over until the buzzer rings. Maybe you should just sprint back on defense and not give up an easy layup to where you're surprised that he's going so you've got to foul him. It's not over until the buzzer rings. You can't fault the young man. If he's in there for 35 seconds and he's got a chance to score two points in an ACC game, you know? What you need to do is get back on defense. There are different thoughts on that."