North Carolina 84, NC State 70
North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams
"Well, we're ecstatic that we won. I'm very pleased that we won. State dominated us in the second half. They shoot 65 percent, we shoot 39 percent. They cut it down to 12 or 13 and we took it back to 20 or 21, something like that, and they kept making better plays than we made. First half, I was very frustrated because we didn't finish plays at the basket. Second half, we didn't finish plays at the basket and we didn't guard them, either. But when you go 17 for 45 in the three-second lane, and I think that's what the stat sheet says, but 17 for 45, most of the time you don't win. But we caught State on a day where they didn't make a bunch of their shots. At one point in the first half, I leaned over to the staff and said, ‘The only people shooting the ball worse than we are is them.' And you'd like to beat people where your defense has an effect on what they do. But first half, I was really pleased with us defensively. Second half, I was not pleased. The backboards 52-36 was big for us, second-chance points was big for us. But we didn't do a very good job defensively in the second half at all, and then missing - at one point, Marcus had a wide-open three, Leslie had a wide-open three. Of course, we got a rebound and then we got that rebound and missed an eight-footer. You've got to be able to make some shots. But this is a pretty tough league. And playing three games in a week is not conducive to being fresh, I guess. But we won the game, and we were fortunate that State didn't make a lot of shots that they normally make."
On getting to the free-throw line
"We were more aggressive and got to the line, and except for James Michael [McAdoo] everybody shot them really, really well. We made a percentage in the second half of 15 of 17, you always like. They were yelling, at one time, to foul James Michael, and we helped them and they didn't foul him and we turned it over so they got a chance to go down without even worrying about him shooting free throws. But 25 for 33 for us is, needless to say, better than we usually do, and 15 of 17 in the second half I'm ecstatic about."
On the character of the team
"Well, I think it does say something about the kind of kids that we have, no matter if we're 0-3 or 1-4. Our kids stuck with it and tried to do what we asked them to do every day in practice, they've worked hard, and I really believe that we're getting better as a team. I told them that this week, I think we're really close to really becoming a good basketball team. But we've to take some more steps and got to maintain that intensity level for a longer period of time. But I do think it says a great deal about the character of the kids that we have that they didn't get down when it was 0-3 and 1-4, they didn't start pointing fingers at anybody else, they accepted the coaching that we were trying to do, and they are getting better."
UNC Player Quotes
Marcus Paige, So., G
On improving to 4-4 in the ACC
"It's better than being 1-4 and nobody below you in the standings. It's definitely a little bit of a relief to not be in the cellar, I guess, but this isn't where are goals are; our goals aren't to be a middle of the pack ACC team, and I think we have enough time and enough games to make a run to try to chase some of the teams up at the top and just try to get back into contention. Those were our goals we set, so it's satisfying but definitely not something we're happy and complacent with."
On where they have improved in the last few games
"I think we've struggled to execute a little bit, especially in the second half, but the urgency is obviously the biggest part. Your effort can make up for some of the small lapses in execution, so I think that's what we've been relying on."
James Michael McAdoo, Jr., F
On a three-game winning streak
"I think the biggest thing is, like Coach has been emphasizing lately, playing with a sense of urgency for 40 minutes and not having long let downs when other teams make their runs. Just staying together out there on the court and really just trying to rely on each other and having each other's backs."
On starting off with an early lead
"It always helps to have a lead where you kind of have that little bit of cushion. Getting that lead early was emphasized coming into the game, that we had to hit them in the mouth really quick. They're a really good team, they've also won, I think, three games in a row, so we definitely wanted to take as much confidence away from them as possible."
Kennedy Meeks, Fr., F
On the early lead
"We just wanted to get on top of them early, just get them on the offensive glass and defensive glass and run them up and down the court. So that's what we did in the first half, and that's what got us the lead."
On the importance of rebounding
"I think rebounds are the most important part of our team. I think with rebounds that opens up more for our teammates and allows us to get easy buckets."
NC State Head Coach Mark Gottfried
"My first thought would be that in the first half North Carolina was very good, and offensively we were really bad. You have to give those guys credit. I thought they defended us well, but I thought we didn't react well to it either. We didn't move well without the ball, [and] we were soft with the ball going to the basket. They stripped it out of our hands and they blocked shots. Then we had good shots and we couldn't make any of the good ones. We missed foul shots. But they were pretty good in the first half, and I thought in the second half we came out and really competed hard and played well. We shot a great percentage from the field and did some things really well in the second half. Unfortunately, we had dug ourselves too big of a hole."
On the team's first half performance
"I just think that we just got off to a really slow start. We got to the foul line early and missed foul shots right to start the game. We had a couple good looks early and missed those. Sometimes when you have a young team maybe they drop their heads a little bit and start to get unsure, so it just kind of steamrolled there in the first half. I did like the fact that we came out to start the half and had great competitive spirit. Like I said, though, you're in too big of a hole at that point to overcome it."
On if freshman Anthony "Cat" Barber was rattled early on
"Well, the other guys on the floor weren't moving very well without the ball. Now he's out there thinking, ‘Who am I going to pass it to without them stealing the ball?' His answer was to take it to the basket. We still have to execute our offense better. Just a couple nights ago we played against a really good Florida State defensive team and we were moving without the ball. Their pressure didn't bother us. Here we come a couple days later, and now we seem to just stand around. That puts a lot of pressure on the ball-handler at that point to try to make a play."
On if he can explain his team's trend of playing better in the second half
"No, we just have to play for 40 minutes. We didn't do that today. That was a bad first half and a much better second half. I don't know if there's any particular reason for that. I don't know."