ROY WILLIAMS, TYLER HANSBROUGH & WAYNE ELLINGTON
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Listen to Audio (12:46)
"We're ecstatic. It was a big time game for us. We had a couple of lulls where we made some mistakes. But basically look at the big picture of work, I thought we played really, really well.
We didn't shoot free-throws well and took a couple of bad shots in the middle part of the second half, but I thought we beat a fantastic basketball team in Gonzaga that did not have their best day.
"I think Mark and his staff just did an absolutely fantastic job. We knew it was going to be a big time game, and we knew we'd have to play really, really well. I don't know this for sure, but I sensed that Matt Bouldin was not feeling real well. I recognized early in warmups he spent time over on the side and didn't participate in the warmups. It looked like he was struggling a little bit, so he perhaps might have been sick.
We did catch them on a day where they didn't play as well as they wanted to play or as well as they're capable of playing.
"We're as happy as can be. A big-time game. They made the run and got it to 11. Of all people, Bobby Frasor made the two big threes. He struggled all year with his shot, but those were as big as they could be. Ty makes a nice pass to Wayne on the break and follows it up with a free throw. So we scored nine points in those possessions there. It's a very calm, relaxed locker room, and we'd like to stay here and play pretty well another day."
Can you talk about the play of Ty Lawson tonight and how he was feeling afterwards?
"I haven't had a chance to talk to him about how he's feeling [now]. I know that yesterday morning I was very concerned, but we practiced -- my days are running together. Today's Friday. We practiced Wednesday and got on a plane, came here. Thursday's all day with media. He didn't have very much time at all to get his foot in the pool. And we have found that has been the one thing that's helped him more than anything.
"Because of everything that was going on Thursday, he almost had no chance of getting in there. And then the flight and the air pressure when you're up in the plane, I think that added a little bit of swelling to it. Last night he was able to get in the pool. We got him in there this morning, and that was really helpful to him. When he came for shoot around, he thought it felt better, and he was going to go and get back in the pool again.
"We took him out at one point because he turned his other ankle a bit. It was not the toe. It was his left ankle that he sprained it a little bit.
We were able to get by with him only playing 27 minutes. Hopefully, it will be good. We'll have a little practice tomorrow, but we'll have some time to get him in the pool too."
Any personal satisfaction with your performance tonight against Heytvelt as opposed to a couple of years ago? In addition to the victory and moving on?
"It does feel good to win the game. But also, I mean, I remember that game in New York when we got our tails beat pretty bad. You know, I was thinking about it in practices and things like that. You know, I thought Heytvelt pretty much outplayed me there. It feels good to go and beat a team that's already beaten you once."
When you have a big time matchup coming up like you do on Sunday, can you talk about how -- is it different to approach a game like that, to stay within yourself in the context of the team?
"Yeah, definitely. I think one thing, when you're going against a great player and someone that's really, obviously, has done a lot. But I think for me personally, I just have to play my part within this team, not, you know, like I said, not try to force anything, let the game come to me. And, you know, just try to play good defense and get some rebounds. And eventually the offense will come. I'm not looking at it as a matchup between me and Griffin or something like that. I'm looking at it as North Carolina is playing Oklahoma."
In the first half, you guys almost went the entire half without a turnover. What contributed to such a solid play, ball handling wise?
"We always like to take care of the basketball, but I think Ty did a great job. Our guard did a great job of taking care of the ball and getting if where it needed to be. We took care of it and weren't dangerous or casual with it. As a result, we had a nice lead going into the half."
Listen to Audio (4:01)
Once you started hitting your 3-pointers, it appeared as though Gonzaga's guards were putty in your hands --
"Yeah, when I'm knocking down 3s, it's easier for me to get to the basket because they've got to honor the 3. Like in the first half, I pump-faked and took a couple of dribbles and hit a shot. So my 3s open up a lot more of my game."
Do you feel like your back?
"Yeah, pretty much. There's just a little bit of soreness, but I'm pretty much able to do almost everything I can do out there."
What happened when you had to take your shoe off on the bench in the second half?
"I rolled my left ankle a little bit, because I put so much pressure on my left foot that I rolled it a little bit. I did the same thing in the LSU game. But it's not that bad."
Listen to Audio (3:30)
Roy is not known for calling timeouts to stem runs, but he did it last week and then again tonight. What did he tell you during that timeout?
"It's kind of been shocking to me also, but it's worked to our advantage both times. Tonight we just let up on defense. We got a lead and then coming out of a timeout, they got two lay-ups in a row, so he really got on us. But we called a set play, and he wanted us to get a good shot within the offense and not turn it over."
Listen to Audio (5:38)
"Well, we ran into a great basketball team tonight. They played great. When they are shooting the ball like that, especially from the three-point line, I think it's going to be tough for anybody to beat them. You know, you just tip your hat to them. They played a great game. My guys battled. We had our chances. We got it back to 11, and then Bobby Frasor hit back to back threes and kind of drove that thing up.
"We knew it was going to be a high possession game, and we even felt good at the half when we got in there, I think, down 11.
But just could never quite get a handle on stopping them. I think we had some turnovers and some poor shots on offense, which that just fuels their fire. We pride ourselves on being a great transition team, but they were much better than we were tonight."
Could you talk about UNC's play in the first half?
"Yeah, you know, in some instances I think the toe injury might have helped Ty Lawson. I mean, he's playing at a great pace right now.
He's not forcing anything. He got in the lane a couple times where he was closely guarded and we shut down option one, option two, option three, and he was under control and found option four wide open out there on the back side of our defense.
"You know, when they're -- when he's distributing like that, I mean, he had nine assists, one turnover. He shot the heck out of it from three. And they took great care of the ball.
We had a very poor deflection half. We charted our deflections. We had less than five at the half, which was our lowest total of the year, and we were able to get 20 in the second half, which is where we usually are.
"Again, most of that was just due to Carolina. They were pushing it, sharing it, and getting themselves great looks. But they knocked them down. It's one thing to get them, but it's another to knock them down. So they were -- they definitely had their A game tonight."