I thought that was a fiercely contested college basketball game. There are no losers tonight. Everybody who competed, in my estimation, was a winner. The effort, the intensity, that was displayed on that floor for 45 minutes today was staggering. I thought North Carolina's defense was terrific. They really made it difficult on us, and I thought they were extremely well prepared. And their kids played with a lot of heart. And I think our guys responded in kind.
On a night where our offense wasn't real fluid, our guys ground it out on defense and really played with a lot of fortitude. A couple of things stand out--obviously, our free-throw shooting was intregal tonight, as was our rebounding. We did it the way we have to do it, and that's by committee. A lot of different guys, including our guards, went and got some big rebounds.
I think we all were fortunate tonight to watch a great college basketball game.
Is there anything, in particular, you do in practice to have one of the league's best free-throw shooting teams? Is it just simple repetitions?
I don' think there is any coach who doesn't work on free-throw shooting. I've coached teams the same way I coach this one, last year when we didn't shoot them as well. I just think we have a collection of guys who are pretty good free-throw shooters.
This is the second game where Julius Hodge had four fouls and was a key down the stretch.
When he came out, we reminded him that there was a lot of basketball to be played and that he had to keep his mind in it. I don't know that he even sat down when he came out of the game, very much. He kept himself involved by encouraging his teammates, by cheering for his teammates. He was almost like another coach over there. He just stayed as mentally involved as anybody could on the bench, and I think that really helped because when he went back in later, it didn't seem like he missed a beat. Obviously, he just made a great shot at the end that sent the game into overtime and then came up with a great block.
Scooter said he apologized to you for a mistake he made--a turnover at a key point in the game. What did you say to him?
We just talked about moving on to the next play. No one is out there trying to make mistakes. No one is trying to miss shots. It's a good reminder to us coaches sometimes, because we are sometimes the most critical and have knee-jerk reactions. In the heat of battle, you have to be able to move on to the next play. You have to be able to put it behind you because, with all your best intentions, you can't bring it back. You have to reset yourself, mentally, and I think Scooter did that as well as he could.