Following North Carolina's 78-71 victory over Villanova Friday night in the NCAA Tournament's second round in Kansas City's Sprint Center, UNC head coach Roy Williams and several key contributors, including P.J. Hairston, Marcus Paige, and James Michael McAdoo, spoke with reporters.
UNC moves on to Sunday's third round and another matchup with Kansas, the team that eliminated the Tar Heels from the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
See what the Tar Heels had to say below:
COACH WILLIAMS: "Well, we're very, very pleased with the outcome of the game. We thought at certain points during the game we were really, really good. There were a few moments, to say the least, we were really ugly."
"I love the toughness mentally of our team the last eight or nine minutes. I thought earlier in the game it was all happy and smooth and the ball was going in the basket, then all of a sudden, they started competing a little harder than we did, I thought. Made the run right before half. They came out and continued that early in the second half."
"I'm really proud of the way our team answered that. I remember there was a timeout right after Reggie (Bullock) made a big three for us right in front of the bench. I said, Let's remember that as the basket that got us going."
"We made some big shots, Reggie, P.J. (Hairston), Marcus (Paige) made some big shots for us down the stretch. I thought one time we had it, throw the ball to James Michael (McAdoo), made a tough pass inside, fumble it out‑of‑bounds. Next possession we come down and I thought Marcus was going to pass it through James Michael, instead he lobbed it right in the basket. He came down and made two free throws at that point, as well."
"We had some difficult moments out there. Small lineup's gotten all the attention, I thought it was hurting us, so we went with two big guys. At the same time we needed to score, so we kept P.J. and Reggie in, our best three‑point shooters. We were fortunate it worked out. These three guys up here with me played their tails off and it was fun to watch."
Coach, what has Jackson (Simmons) done to earn your trust?
COACH WILLIAMS: "Well, he's an unusual bird. A lot of guys will play and do great things, like he did at Florida State, then doesn't play for a long time. But he just comes to practice every day and works and tries to do the right thing."
"I think he probably does as good a job as anybody we have being down in a stance, screening the ball, usually does the best job of boxing out. We didn't get a very good job of boxing out with anybody down the stretch."
"But he gives me some confidence with what he's going to do defensively and usually makes free throws as well. He missed three tonight, but he usually makes those."
Coach (Jay) Wright (of Villanova) praised your ballclub, your unselfishness when it comes to being able to make the pass to get the extra three‑point shot. How much of that would you say is based on what Coach Williams has taught you? How much would you say is something that's instinctive?
MARCUS PAIGE: "I think it's definitely a combination of both. We got a really unselfish group of guys. We like to see each other make shots. We're not worried about our own points and stuff like that. Coach also emphasizes a lot in practice, if you have a good one, if your teammate has a better one, it's always good to make that extra pass. It's definitely a combination of both."
P.J. HAIRSTON: "Well, I feel like Marcus just took the words right out of my mouth (smiling). But, yeah, I would say the same thing, a combination of both. Like he said, there's no selfish person on our team. We all want to contribute and we all want to win. We try to do the little things like make the extra pass just to get easy shots for the best shooters. If you have an open shot, you take a shot. If someone has a better shot, you give it to them."
P.J., how did your hand affect your game tonight?
P.J. HAIRSTON: "It didn't. It got hit a couple times, but other than that, it was fine."
Coach, what does number 700 mean for you? Got to ask you about a possible matchup with Kansas.......
COACH WILLIAMS: "Number 700 means I've been coaching a long time, had really, really good players. But I was extremely excited for number 25 for this team. I never mentioned 699 or 700 one single time to the team because I'm interested in what this team is doing. Getting 25 for this team was really, really important to me."
"The 700, that's neat. It's a lot of players at Kansas and North Carolina that have made that happen, and I realize that. I'm very fortunate to be a coach. I'm doing exactly what I want to do. I've had great youngsters who have bought into what we're trying to do and what we're trying to say, and they've made it all look really, really good."
How much more does it mean to you to get win 700 in a building that's not too far away from where you coached?
COACH WILLIAMS: "You know, I'm human. I wanted to get 700. I'd like to get 800, 900, 1,000, 1500. I know that's not going to happen. But my focus was not on that, it really wasn't. It was trying to get number 25 and have this team stay and play in another game."
"You know, when something like that happens, you usually like to have it happen at home where all your family and friends can be there. If I was going to choose another place, this place was a fantastic place for 15 years in my life. I didn't even say one word to my staff, much less the players. We were trying to get number 25."
Do you remember number one?
COACH WILLIAMS: "Yes. UAA. I got so tired of hearing that, UAA, UAA! That was University of Alaska, Anchorage. We played in the Alaskan Shootout my first year at Kansas. We beat Alaska Anchorage in the first round, beat California in the second round, lost to Seton Hall in the finals. They played for the national championship that year."
Considering what you walked into with the probation that year, did you even entertain winning this many games?
COACH WILLIAMS: "I just still wondered if I was going to be the coach at the end of the year at that point. No, I never thought of those kind of things."
James Michael, could you just talk about your shooting from the field. When did you feel you were in a rhythm?
JAMES McADOO: "I didn't really. I was just out there trying to play the game, try to make the easy plays. Definitely just certain plays, I was proud of, just getting on the floor for loose balls, just trying to set screens to get my teammates open."
"A couple times my teammates found me. I was able to catch the ball and shoot it in rhythm. God is good, I knocked them down. More importantly, I shot well from the free‑throw line, 5‑7, which is something I've been struggling a lot with this year. So I'm proud of that."
You went through a stretch in the second half where you didn't have any success from the outside until about the four‑minute mark. What changed there towards the end?
MARCUS PAIGE: "I think they decided they were going to take away as many three‑point opportunities for us as possible. That's where we score a lot of our points. So they tried to pressure us, push our offense out. After we turned the ball over a couple times, we were able to break through the pressure, get a couple open looks. When Reggie and P.J. knocked down the threes back‑to‑back, it kind of opened it up for us."
P.J. HAIRSTON: "Same thing. When they started pressuring us playing the 1‑3‑1, 1‑2‑2, I can't remember what it was, we got the ball and attacked it. We got some wide‑open shots. When we were in our motion offense, I felt like we moved a lot better, opened up lanes for Dexter (Strickland) or Marcus. Got me easy kick‑outs, so wide‑open threes."