Following North Carolina's 74-55 triumph over N.C. State Thursday afternoon in the Smith Center, UNC head coach Roy Williams, N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried, and several players spoke with the media. Read what they had to say below.
UNC HEAD COACH ROY WILLIAMS
"We were really good for certain parts of that game, there's no question about that. I thought we were active defensively, we got some blocks, we got our running game going and we were really good for that time period. At the same time, we realized particularly in the first half that State missed a lot of shots that they would normally make."
"We know we won't get that result by hoping that teams miss. We need to defend well enough that our defense has some factor in the fact that they miss the shot. Needless to say, I think Tyler (Zeller) was all over the boards in the first half. Reggie (Bullock) stepped up and did a good job defensively and ended up making a couple of threes also which helped everybody."
"Stilman (White) did some good things when he got in there, especially the second time. When you look down the line and see Tyler with 17 rebounds, John (Henson) with five blocks, and Kendall (Marshall) with 11 assists, those are some good things out there. We were one shot away from shooting 50% but we didn't score for the last five minutes and one second, which needless to say wasn't very good. So we didn't finish it off well but at the same time I wanted to get some of those guys out of there since we are in a stretch where we have three games in six days."
On UNC's defensive effort......
"I have said all year long that I think we have the chance to be a real good defensive team. They shot 9-20 from the 3-point line so give them credit for making shots. But I said early in the year we had a chance to be good defensively and I'll still say that even though at times we really haven't."
NCSU HEAD COACH MARK GOTTFRIED
"First of all, you have to give them credit. I thought they were really good. I think the time they had to prepare for our team, they did a great job with it. I thought they were really prepared. They played really well. First time I thought our team, this year, we've played 21 games now, where I thought that their defensive pressure, whatever it could have been, we did not have the poise offensively."
"They took away one option and we didn't have the wherewithal to stay with our offense and really grind out good shots. Their size around the rim, they scored around the rim all night, whether it was off the break, in the half-court offense, or off of offensive rebounds. We did a terrible job there. It's a game we have to learn from, but at the same time, we have to get ready to play real quick."
On Carolina's defense low-post defense......
"They're good at blocking shots. They're bigger than we are. We didn't do a very good job of drawing fouls inside. I think that's where we got frustrated. Even if it was on the block, we stopped and stood around rather than continuing with our offense. That was the frustrating part of it for me."
On what he told his team after the game......
"I like my team. We have battled from day one, and I believe we will keep battling. Tonight's disappointing, we all agree, but we're a better basketball team than we were tonight. Give North Carolina a lot of credit for that, they deserve the credit. But I like my team. I like my team. We have to get ourselves ready to go play Virginia."
On his career-high seventeen rebounds......
"I had a lot of games last year where I had nine rebounds, so I guess that's why I didn't have many double-doubles. I just try to get as many as possible and try to help the team win."
On how the absence of Dexter Strickland affected the team......
"It does change the whole dynamic of the game, just because Stilman comes in as our backup point guard. There is nothing wrong with that, but Dexter has got more experience and he's much quicker with the ball. It does change the strategy and how we do things, and we have to get use to Reggie [Bullock] more so than anything."
On UNC's dominating defense in the first half.......
"I think that's when we're at our best, and we can be most successful. Our defense is creating our offense. I know Harrison Barnes got into a passing lane and got an early steal. I remember Tyler Zeller getting into the passing lane, getting that fast break going. When we're doing that as a team, we're not having to use any time to get points, so I think we can easily deflate [our opponents]."
On the future without Dexter Strickland......
"I think we could have been a better team while he was here. We just didn't take advantage of that opportunity. Moving forward now in late play, I think we're 4-1, so we've got 11 more games where we can better ourselves."
On Reggie Bullock making his first career start......
"I know it meant a lot to him. He's definitely been working very hard. He's always coming in off the bench and contributing. So, finally for him to be able to come out and start today, I think the fans showed him a lot of love and he's having a fun time."
On the three-pointer he made in the second half......
"It was pretty good, I'm not going to lie. It was really my first three in a big game, which was exciting. On the second one, I had a little bit of an energy surge, and I jumped too high and everything was a little too much."
Were you nervous out there?
"At the beginning, yes, but I knew it was just getting comfortable out there, and now that I'm comfortable out there I think that my confidence will grow."
How did the assist to Tyler Zeller help your confidence?
"Playing for this team is just so easy because the players around you are so good. You can just throw the ball to someone and they will make you look good, that's for sure."