Did Doherty really tell you guys to keep firing three-point shots all night?
He just told us to knock down open shots, because he knew they were going to double down on Jawad and Byron. So the main emphasis was to hit open shots. We have to shoot well from the outside when guys defend the post and we don't have Sean. I think Jawad and Byron held it down pretty well inside.
Did you know that was a school record for three-point attempts?
I didn't. We just had a lot of open looks. We're basketball players, you have to take those shots.
You didn't get this much playing time earlier in the season, has that been difficult for you?
I'd be lying if I say it wasn't, but I've just been really patient and taken advantage of the opportunities. I think I came out aggressive tonight. I hit shots, didn't turn the ball over much and the rotation was right, so Coach stayed with the rotation. I've just been very patient waiting for my opportunity and it came tonight.
You hit 5-7 on your threes, did you do anything different tonight?
I just relaxed and got good looks. I usually don't get good looks. I set my feet and squared myself up and knocked shots down.
Is it surprising to you that the team too 35 threes?
Yeah, but we got a lot of open looks. But, yeah, to look at the stat sheet it's very surprising.
Is the team's shooting consistency getting better?
Absolutely, with confidence it has to get better. If you're taking shots and don't think you're going to make them – you're not going to make them. In high school, my coach taught me the key to making shots is not mechanics – nothing but mental, it's confidence. Whether we shoot 10 threes or 30, we have to shoot with confidence and take good shots.
Does the team rely more on three-point shots with Sean May injured?
No, it was just open looks tonight. We're a good shooting team and we just need to hit open shots when we don't get much inside because of Sean's absence.
How big was this win for the team tonight?
Very big. They beat us last year and we just came off a loss – a game we let get away from us. We just wanted to come back, bounce back, and get on a roll with some wins.
This was your first game without the shoulder brace, and you had the finger brace removed as well. How'd that feel?
Felt good. I was 100 percent and it felt good to be 100 percent again.
Talk about the physical exchange with Matt McKillop for which he was assessed a flagrant foul …
I don't know. I blocked his shot, boxed out, called a foul. That was it.
Doherty said he removed you from the starting lineup in order to light a fire under you – is that the impression you got for the reason you weren't starting?
I didn't really get an impression of anything. It's a team decision. I felt just as good about Will starting as anybody. I'm a team player and I don't feel like if I don't start I'm going to mope and those kind of things. We went out and we won - that's all that matters.
Do you feel that it has indeed lit a fire under you?
I don't know what you're looking for me to say. He didn't start me because I haven't been playing well in practice – haven't been playing hard – and for that I pay the consequences. I didn't start. Now I have to play harder if I want to start.
You've recognized that you've lacked a spark on the court since the Kansas game, can you explain why you think that is?
Basically because the losses took a toll on me and I shouldn't have let a loss affect me mentally as far as me wanting to do too much for the team and relaxing and being passive. Next up is Virginia …
Virginia's going to be a real tough team because of their big man presence, but you've got to go in there with the mentality that you can play with anybody – go out there, play hard and win.
On getting to the free throw line -
We put up a lot of threes, but you're going to have those nights where you don't hit as many threes so you need to get to the line.
On Rashad not starting -
It's a learning experience – I went through the same thing last year and it's only going to make him a better player. Rashad's a person you can always depend on to play.
You've been in a recent slump from three-point range …
You've got to keep shooting and shoot your way out of the slump. The worst thing you can do is stop shooting, which I almost did, but then teammates yelled at me to keep shooting. We're all good shooters – we've proved that in the past. Now it's all about knocking down shots.
Why did you have that sock-like brace on your leg tonight?
I had a calf sprain while I was in Miami because I came down wrong.
Does a win like this boost the team confidence?
I think it does a lot for us. Now we've got to prepare for Virginia.
And what do you think about Saturday's game against Virginia?
It's going to be a tough game. They're big, strong and athletic, but if we play up to our defensive principles and play hard, I think anything can happen.
How's it feel to play 31 minutes and be a significant contributor to this team?
It feels good. I worked my butt off, [in order] to help the team out and play well.
What's a game like this do to your confidence?
It's building every game. I started off kind of nervous, but as the game goes I get better.
On hitting Raymond Felton for a backdoor assist -
It's a play that's been in for a while, Ray got wide open. It's just a good play.
What happened on the dunk, when you fell? It looked like you weren't able to get your steps exactly right and by the time you caught up to the ball you were too close to the basket.
I was just trying to hang on the rim, but I slipped, fell, and busted my butt. (Laughing)
What improvement have you noticed since you arrived at UNC?
My strength – my strength and my offense, my finishing. That's improved a lot. I've worked with Coach T-Mack [Thomas McKinney] to get my strength up and Coach Wojcik and Q are helping on finishing.
Is this how you envisioned this year to go?
Yeah – not starting – but just helping the team out rebounding and defending.