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Listen to Audio (8:42)
Opening Comments -
"Needless to say I'm very happy for Marcus and Deon. It was fitting it was Marcus' first double-double - that's 35 rebounds in the last three games. I introduced him in the locker room to the freshman at the end of the game and I said 'That is the Marcus we've known in the past that you haven't been able to see.' I think that was really important. Deon's gone through some struggles, there's no question about that. His back is really bothering him right now. He left, in case you didn't see, and went off the bench and back into the tunnel to try and stretch. They cut it to one and Deon made the basket to put us back up by three and I think that was fitting as well.
"We had some nice stretches, we just turned the ball over way too much. And their ability to shoot the three-point shot you're always afraid of, but I think the work on the backboards was big for us - the rebounds and the baskets we made down the stretch. It was just the opposite of Saturday's game, where everybody that came in off the bench gave us something in a positive manner. Today, once you get past a couple baskets by Z, we didn't get as much from the guys that game in.
"I was really happy that I got T.P. in there at the end and I was happy he got the rebound. Nine seconds and one rebound - I said if our big guys averaged that we'd be really something."
What did it mean to you personally to see that big smile on Marcus' face tonight?
"I put up in our locker room two pictures - a picture of Marcus after Saturday's game and a picture of John Henson. It all feels a lot better when you have those feelings. It was a wonderful picture of Marcus smiling - he's got that six million dollar smile - and John looked like a kid that got all the Christmas presents. It was just excitement and happiness. To see that on Marcus' face is a lot better than the stress as he's been fighting the aches and pains."
What does it mean to you for the program to reach 2,000 wins?
"Well, it's hard to put that into my thought process because it's been a hard year for those kids in the locker room. Not anything to belittle 2,000 wins, but it's been a hard year - the stress and pressure on those kids, the uncertainties of who we're going to have, we haven't played as well, we haven't played as hard as all the other teams I've had, so it's been a hard year. ...
"I was at Kansas when they won 1,400, so I've been around a long time. Now I hope I have several more years left - this is not a swan song, I hope. Chancellor Thorpe and Dickie [Baddour] came into the locker room and didn't say anything negative to me so I hope it means we're okay. They'll be the satisfaction there when I stop, what has happened in these 22 years has been just mind-boggling.
"And I'll say one other thing, too. I take very seriously this role, this privilege that I have as the head coach at North Carolina."
Listen to Audio (10:09)
Can you talk about the emotions of tonight and what this night meant to you?
"A lot of emotions going on. I thought of it as my Super Senior Night. It was really tough for me to wrap my head around it, to think that it would be my last game in this gym. We just tried to make it as special as we could and I told the guys before the game, 'The easiest way to do that is to play our tails off and give great effort out there.' For the most part we fed off that emotion and really used it to our advantage."
Could you hear everyone doing your 'woo!' when you were at the free-throw line?
"Yeah, I could, I could. I'm definitely going to miss that. Just those little things about Carolina, Chapel Hill, this gym - once you're gone those things will really start to set in."
With it being Senior Night and on the verge of 2,000 wins, were you feeling any pressure to win tonight?
"I really wanted it to end this way. There's no question I'd hate it to not end this way, so I guess I felt a little bit of that pressure. But really we just wanted to come out and try to build on what we did Saturday, play a better basketball game and everything would take care of itself."
What does it mean to this team from a confidence standpoint to get two wins in a row?
"It's huge for this team, to have these two wins in a row - something we haven't had. We're excited, we understand we have a huge challenge ahead of us, but I think this team is starting to get to the point where we're focusing a lot more on the day to day and trying to get better as a basketball team."
Listen to Audio (7:42)
What were the emotions like on Senior Night?
"It was pretty emotional. I'm happy that we won, more than anything. My teammates really rallied together. It means a lot to Coach to send his seniors out on the right way and he makes a big point of that and our guys played well enough to get the win."
Were you able to enjoy this night?
"Yeah, definitely. This year we've had ups and downs and it's been hard to enjoy for me, but tonight I was definitely happy the whole time from beginning to end. Watching that video, getting the 2,000th win and being a part of more Carolina history."
It's been a tough year, but with a little streak going into Duke, can it carry over?
"Even how bad we messed up, there's still a way to get this thing done, that's the crazy thing about this whole situation. I've never lost in Cameron and it's always a pretty fun place to play well and win, so I'm pretty sure the guys will be fired up to go there and play well."
Listen to Audio (4:12)
Your blocked shots seem to get your team and the fans fired up ...
"People are always telling me 'I love when you block shots.' It's a great feeling and hopefully I can keep that up."
How much pressure were you guys feeling to send the seniors out with a win tonight?
"It wasn't necessarily pressure, it was more like we owe it to them. Coach told us that it's our job to play our best for them and we knew they'd play their best. It was our job and I think we did that."