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Listen to Audio (4:39)
“That was a heck of a basketball game. I thought it was two teams that tried awfully hard. It’s not really a heck of a basketball game, though, unless your team wins and we didn’t win. I think our team competed harder than we’ve been doing. I’ve never had a team that I worried about how hard we were playing, but that’s seeped into our poor play lately. But I thought we played with much more intensity tonight.
“Malcolm [Delaney] was a load in the second half. He made two big 3-pointers from deep and those hurt us. But to me, the big key in the second half was that we just had a couple of silly, unforced turnovers. And they really hurt us on the backboards. In the first half, they had four points on offensive rebounds and in the second half they had 10 points on offensive rebounds.
“It’s tough what we’re going through. There’s no question about that. It doesn’t get any easier. I told them, ‘Life sometimes hands you a lot of tough stuff and you’ve got to be able to deal with it.’ That’s what we’ve got to deal with right now. The other thing is that we hurt ourselves in the first half from the free throw line and we didn’t really make many shots – 4-for-15 from 3. It would sure help us to make a couple more of those, but you’ve just got to congratulate them.
“I think we scored the first basket to make it 37-33 [after halftime] and we hit a dry spell after that. But yet, we were still right there hanging in. It would have been fun if Will [Graves] 3-point shot had stayed in, but when things are going tough, they usually do spin out like that. That’s about it, guys.”
Listen to Audio (1:47)
When did you find out that you weren’t going to be starting?
What was your initial impression upon hearing the news?
“Coach is doing his job.”
On the team’s play in the final 10 minutes of the first half:
“This team can do a lot of great things when we’re playing the way we’re capable of playing. For the most part, the second part of that first half we were playing great on defense and limiting them to one shot and really just getting shots on offense. It was very helpful for us.”
Listen to Audio (2:42)
On his recent emergence:
“I just had to transition. It just kind of clicked, transitioning from the high school game over to the college game. These last couple of days it’s kind of clicked for me. My intensity’s been up a lot and [I’m] practicing well, so I’ve just got to keep it going.”
Do you have a preference between the 3 and 4 spots?
“I don’t have a preference. I just want to get out there and play. That’s how I answer that question.”
Listen to Audio (1:29)
Does it get tiring to keep hearing about opposing guards scoring 20 points on UNC?
“Yeah. Yeah, it gets old. But it’s up to us to stop that from happening.”
Did you feel comfortable on offense tonight? You played well in stretches:
“In the first half, I think I did a lot better on the offensive and defensive ends. We just opened the floor. Coach likes me to use my dribble penetration on offense as a weapon and I was finding my teammates pretty easily.”
Listen to Audio (14:22)
On beating UNC:
“It’s North Carolina, man. They don’t even retire numbers unless you’re the player of the year. This is a team that beat Michigan State and played Texas down to the wire. They’ve got eight McDonald’s All-Americans. Yeah, it’s a big win. It validates what we’re doing. It keeps us relevant.”
On playing well down the stretch:
“I thought we were a determined group. Even when we struggled a bit at the beginning of the second half. We stayed together and stayed the course… I told the guys at halftime that if we didn’t rebound and if we don’t do a good job of out-numbering the basketball and defending inside-out, we’re to have a problem. We weren’t going to have a repeat of what happened there [in Chapel Hill]. We were going to 100 percent commit to each other for the next 20 minutes and play with a sense of toughness and a sense of purpose. That’s what we did.”