The team defense was impressive, especially in the early going …
Great defense, we worked hard, pressured the ball – just played great defense. To win games you’ve got to play great defense. You’ve got to put the ball in the basket also, but you have to have great defense.
Speak to the never-give up attitude you showed out there tonight?
That’s the attitude I always have and we had it tonight. We just wanted it more. Coach told us that we still had a chance, we just had to come out, work hard and we’ll win games. We’ve got to come out and win these next two games we have, head out to the ACC Tournament and try to win that, too. We’re a great team, we’ve just got to play the way we know we can play.
What were you thinking as you went to the line?
I got to knock them down. If we want to win the game, I’ve got to knock these free throws down, so that’s what I did.
How’s the team morale?
I think so, just give us more confidence going into the game against Wake on Wednesday. We’re going to take tomorrow off, work hard in practice, get our legs back under us, get some rest and get ready for Wake Monday and Tuesday.
Were there ever any doubts that you’d win the game tonight?
No, there was never any doubt. I told my teammates, ‘We still can do this – we still can do this. We’ve just got to execute the offense, play great defense and put the ball in the basket.’ So, that’s what we did.
How’s it feel to finally have one go your way at the end?
It’s a great feeling – we had a lot of tough games. Things didn’t go our way. Today it went our way and thank God for that - thank the coaching staff, thank my teammates and thank the fans.
Talk about guarding Chris Bosh tonight –
He’s a lefty, and that always makes it a challenge. Then he’s a good shooter and a good post player. We tried to do a good job of fronting him, but sometimes there wasn’t some help-side defense and he got some easy baskets.
It looked like you frustrated him some by denying him the ball early-
That was my key. A player can’t score if he doesn’t have the ball. I just tried to keep it out of his hands, and when he did have it pressure him.
Damion came in to guard the inbounds pass at the end of the game – and you took him aside and spoke to him – what did you say?
Just be all over the ball. He’s long – all he needs to go is get his hand on the ball and we’ll win the game.
When the team needs some baskets, you’re one of the players on this team with a take-charge mentality …
Somebody has to step up and take charge instead of letting the offense come to them. Sometimes you have to grab it and go for it – and I figured that’s what I needed to do.
Was there any desperation down the stretch when you were unable to cut into their lead?
No, we kept our poise and knew we had to fight it out. We took our time and fought every possession.
Having lost some close games, how important is it to now pull one out?
Very important. I think it helps our confidence and there’s still a lot to learn from it. We made some mistakes in this game where if we did the right thing we could have won that game easily.
You’ve got a tough couple of games coming up – will this win give the team momentum?
Yeah, but I don’t think it’s tough to get up for any game. It’s all about playing hard. Wake came here and we could have had them but we made some mistakes. If we fix those mistakes we have a great chance of winning at Wake.
Was there any change in the team knowing that Sean wasn’t coming back, or did you all have a pretty good idea that he wasn’t coming back?
We kind of expected it. We saw him work out and he still had a tough time. That’s fine with us – we made it this far without him, so we can keep on going without him.
How big a win was this for everybody?
Big. We need to make a run into the ACC Tournament, so this win helps us as far as confidence and knowing we can get another win. We know that we could have won the last three that we lost – these last two are going to be very important.
The team showed something we saw earlier in the year, fighting back from a deficit …
It’s just executing our offense and playing hard on defense.
On the play where you were down three with under a minute left and worked the ball to Melvin for the layup, were you looking to take a three?
I was looking for the three but I almost lost the ball, so I was already on the baseline and I saw the easy two-pointer.
You sat out for a stretch late – when you came back in were you cold?
Yeah, I was pretty cold. Any player that goes to the bench, sits for a while and then comes off … you just try to find your rhythm some way. I felt like if I had taken that shot at the end [instead of passing it into Scott] that I would have missed it.
You’re all real confident with Raymond at the line ...
Ray’s confident in himself. That’s what’s important. I knew he was going to make it.