ROY WILLIAMS, MARCUS GINYARD, DEON THOMPSON
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Listen to Audio (8:36)
Opening Comments -
Williams: "We're very excited to still be playing. I'm very excited about my team and to the extent that we played pretty doggone well in the first half and go in with a 10-point lead. 100 years ago I was Coach Smith's assistant playing Loyola Marymount and we were up 25 at half. Going into the locker room I told Coach 'I'm still scared to death' and that's the way I felt tonight. They shot 43 threes - I've never coached against anybody like that ...
"We come out early in the second half and go brain dead for a little while and it got to be ugly. They take a four-point lead, Leslie makes a big three for us. They have a three-point lead late and Dexter went to the free throw line and made four straight free throws. Deon and Z got three steals trying to deny the pass to the post player, which we talked about. It's hard to prepare for a team that is that unusual in 48 hours. To find out on Sunday night and have one practice to prepare for them was very difficult. We made mistakes that were probably good plays against other people - you build habits to help your teammate and that's just what they want you to do.
"The crowd was sensational. I've said several times since I've gotten back here that we should play one or two games a year in this building. Maybe, when the economy turns around and gets real good, let's take half the seats out of the Smith Center, put in luxury boxes and get a crowd like this every daggum night. The crowd was helpful tonight, there's no question about that - I loved the people that were here."
Can you talk about the crowd and what it was like to play tonight? You looked excited from the outset ...
Ginyard: "Just from the very beginning, even in warmups, I was just really excited. We knew it would be a smaller crowd, but they'd be excited. It really got us going and was a big help tonight."
Thompson: "I've played in a lot of games wearing this North Carolina jersey, but being out there on the floor tonight and all the history that's happened in this Auditorium, is something I'll always remember. "
Williams: "And understand, too, I've been fairly tough on this youngster (pointing at Thompson) -- I've been tough on a lot of people, but I've been fairly tough to this youngster -- and he played his tail off tonight. He went brain dead for the first play of the second half and came running over and said 'Don't kill me' and I said 'I'm going to think about it.' He played his tail off tonight."
Could you talk about how together and hard this team seemed to play tonight?
Ginyard: "We came into this game looking at it as a fresh start for us and try to get back to the place where this team gets better every day and does the things that we've talked about since Day One. I think today was the first step. We did a great job getting after, getting on loose balls and playing together as a team."
This was the first time since December that your team has scored 80 points. Is that the product of the way they played or did your team push tempo better?
Williams: "I think we pushed the tempo better ... We got some steals by our big guys. How many times this year have you seen our big guys knock the ball away at the top of the key area and go down the court and lay it up? The answer is zero. And tonight we got three like that."
You've been trying so hard to get them to play the way you want to, can you talk about getting closer to the execution and the passion that you've been looking for tonight?
Williams: "When you go out on the court, and you're playing for North Carolina, you have to have a sense of urgency. You have to have a passion about what you're doing. And I don't think we've had that as much this year -- as the kids want to, much less the fans and the coaches. That's the way we're supposed to play, that's the way I've coached my entire life. And I haven't done a good job coaching that way with this team because the kids haven't done it. It's my responsibility to get them to play that way."
Listen to Audio (2:07)
Walk us through your big play late ...
"That offense was just kind of frustrating to guard because my guy is the one who runs everything. I just had to find a way to stop it, and I finally found a way - which I'd been trying to do for a while - got it and went down and dunked. It actually got so loud I thought they blew the whistle and didn't know, so I kept going."
It did get loud - what was it like to play in this atmosphere tonight?
"It was a great atmosphere. Very loud, fun to play in, and something I hadn't really played in since high school."
What was the team's mentality heading into this game?
"We were definitely disappointed not making the NCAA, but at the same time we got another chance to play, so we knew we had to go out, try to become a better team, hopefully make a run here and prepare for next year."
Listen to Audio (2:28)
How did you and your teammates approach this game?
"Guys just went out there with the mentality that this is a new start - a new season - and we wanted to go out and leave everything out there. When we came back into the locker room, we didn't want to have anything left in us - we wanted to make sure we played with everything we had. The atmosphere, the intensity of the crowd, I think that helped us and we used it."
Coach Williams indicated that he would like to play a game or two at Carmichael each season. Would that be something you would be interested in doing in your last two years here?
“Oh, yeah, definitely. I really enjoyed playing here a lot. It was just a very good change of scenery for us. Everything about the gym just seems special, especially the crowd. As into it as they were, it just really seemed like they were out there on the court with us.”
Listen to Audio (11:33)
Opening Comments -
"I thought it was a great basketball game. I honestly haven't had a chance to look at the stats yet. I felt we played well, I thought they played well. It was a very intense basketball game. Had to be a great college basketball game to watch and it was a good one to be a part of. We walked in here thinking we could win today. I've coached a long time but I've probably never been prouder of a group of kids than these guys. The way they play, the way they keep their composure, the schedule they've faced this year and to play as well as they did - it's very impressive to me. And I'm happy to be a part of it."
On David Schneider -
"David played the way he always plays quite honestly. I can't imagine playing without him, I really and truly can't. What he doesn't always do is shoot the ball. He's been a little inconsistent as a shooter in his career, but his effort, his intensity and his heart is always on display. You won't find a kid that plays the game harder than he does anywhere."
On the shooting drought in the first half -
"One of the most impressive things about tonight is how we withstood the storm. We were at 9-0 to start the ball game and the place was going crazy. Our kids really kept their composure and I think a lot of that has to do with two senior guards. You look at David Schneider and Sean McCurdy - I think we were 14 to three in the assist-turnover ratio in this environment. That was pretty impressive and I think that's where it starts. We've been in tough places this year and the way they weathered the storm there really impresses this old man, I don't know what else to say. We feel like we could have won, we really do."