North Carolina 75, Pittsburgh 71
UNC Head Coach Roy Williams
"Well I feel very good right now. Not good about the way we played the last couple of minutes, or really the second half. I thought we had some really silly turnovers and missed opportunities there, but you have to give Pittsburgh credit. They are a tough bunch and Jamie [Dixon] does a great job with his guys. They made plays down the stretch, but it was weird stuff going on out there. It was a three-point game, and we thought it was our ball and the officials reviewed it and saw that they made a mistake and gave it back to them. We never could seem to get a grasp on everything, and then we felt like we had it, and Jackson [Simmons] had a hold of the ball and he was standing out of bounds, so it was their ball again. I felt like I was in the '72 Olympics. That's what it felt like out there. Still James Michael [McAdoo] and Marcus [Paige] ... 37 and 38 minutes. I hate that part but, my gosh; James Michael was 24 [points] and 12 [rebounds] and Marcus was 5-6 from the three-point line. We've got to get some other guys to step up and make shots. That's the bottom line. Other guys have to step up and help. It's a big win over a very good basketball team, and I'm glad I don't have to go to Pittsburgh this year. They're awfully good but we made some big plays. Marcus made some big threes in the second half. Every time they would make a little run, we'd make a couple baskets ourselves until the very end there."
On J.P. Tokoto's defensive effort against Lamar Patterson
"Well Lamar [Patterson] is really a big time player. The first thing is that it helped he got two fouls in the first half and sat out all that time. I think that was the biggest part of it. J.P. did a nice job. And when J.P. was out in the first half, Isaiah [Hicks] did a good job on him. In the second half Leslie [McDonald] ended up guarding him more, but he's one of the most complete players I think there is in college basketball. He carries them on his shoulders, but those other guys are pretty doggone good as well."
On Brice Johnson developing offensively
"The whole run started when he didn't front the low post and they threw it in there to him and he got it turned and laid it in and went in there and complicated things by fouling him. You've got to be able to play on both ends of the court, but Brice is getting better. Those five blocked shots were huge. In fact, I thought it might have been key play of the game if we had come up with the ball. Instead they call a foul on James Michael [McAdoo] . Not only did we not come up with it after he blocked the shot, they call a foul put them on the free-throw line. That could have been the biggest play of the game. He's really doing some good things for us. I was concerned. I wanted him to really make at least one of those free throws there at the end, there's no question about that. We have to get a lot of guys to step up."
UNC Player Quotes
Marcus Paige, So., G
On the sense of urgency from the games played in the past couple weeks
"I mean, that's really what it is. We are just coming out with more fire and intensity, more attention to detail on defense. We are taking what we learned on the scouting report to the court. I think that's one big thing, we are paying attention to what teams like to do and we try to take them. We know that Pitt likes to run their offense through [Lamar] Patterson and we try to make it difficult for him in the first half. He got in foul trouble and then we were really able to turn up our intensity again on defense. We have just been more active and more intelligent on the defensive end and obviously that has helped us get in transition."
On having the talent to play against other teams and showing it on the court
"It's great. We do, we're definitely a talented team and we are starting to figure it out. That's six games in a row now that we have been able to put together. People always got on us at the beginning of the year and we were on ourselves about being consistent and we are starting to find our groove a little bit, especially about playing defensively, but its good to finally be putting it together."
On his shot starting to fall
"I don't want to jinx myself on any of the games coming up, but I did hit a funk at the beginning of the ACC play, four or five games in a row, I was shooting a horrible percentage, but other than that I have started to get in to my form of shooting above 40-percent and as a shooter that's where you want to be from three. Tonight I was able to get a couple to go down so I was pretty excited about that."
James Michal McAdoo, Jr., F
On the sense of urgency played in the past few weeks
"Yeah, I mean obviously it has helped us as far as the outcome of the games, which have faired differently for us, so I think it's definitely something that we have been emphasizing a lot. Coach has really just been coming in every day and talking to us about it as a team, and as a leader of the team, I try to really hit off practice."
On gaining confidence and moving forward
"We realize that every day that we show up ready to play we are capable of doing a lot of good things. Especially today when didn't play as well as we wanted to in certain areas and still being able to come out on the winning side, it just shows us as a team how good we are getting and how good we can be."
On his turning point of the season
"I'm not really going to point to one certain game, but I feel that the biggest thing was just realizing the season wasn't going the way that I wanted it to go, and definitely not the way as far as the team outcome was going. So I think I kind of took it upon myself to step my game and take it to another level and I think that has also come in turn with the team playing with a better sense of urgency."
J.P. Tokoto, So., F
On the strategies of today in regards to Patterson
"He's a great player overall and he can score everywhere on the court, so I wanted to limit his outside shot, give him the drive, cause I know I had help on the baseline, keep him out of the middle, more secure for his other team mates. Trying to limit getting to the middle and opening our defense."
On running screens
"Yeah I hit a few screens, but if I had shadowed like Coach was telling me, I would have hit most of them. I hit a few of them, trying to deviate from the plan, but most of the screens I didn't hit, but I got a lot of them."
On the last 3 that could have tied to game
"I wasn't in the game, so I watched the game develop, saw him flip to the three-point line and no one picked him up, he caught it, and I really thought that was going in. I was preparing myself for overtime, but luckily the shot didn't go in and we finished the play."
Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon
"We lost to a good team and we had our opportunities. I thought we did some good things. We came here to out-rebound them and we didn't. We had more turnovers than they did, and those were the two things we said that we had to do. We didn't get those done, so they came out with the win. They're a good team that's playing good basketball now; obviously, they're playing their best basketball of the year. We've got to go out and execute better. I'm extremely disappointed. Impressed with the way our guys played. We battled through some adversity: the foul trouble, the deficit, not making shots, and we got back in the game and had opportunities. I thought we executed well down the stretch better than we did earlier in the game. Ran some plays, some sets, and got to the rim, and got a wide-open three that we needed, too. The players thought the same thing that we did. We didn't need a timeout to run it. Players saw the same thing. We called a play, got a wide-open three down the stretch, and had a rebound opportunity. We got the ball inside well, but we've got to work on some things to improve. Congratulations to them. They played hard. We've got to do a better job. We went to the zone. It wasn't very effective. The foul trouble was a big factor early on. It wasn't good for us. We went back to the man-to-man. That's kind of how we got back into the game, and got it to where we needed it to be to win, but simply didn't get it done."
On the offensive performance
"I thought we had some good spots. I thought we got some good penetration. I thought we were getting in the lane. We had Josh [Newkirk], Chris [Jones], and those guys were playing well, but obviously the numbers stand out and we've got to finish better. A lot of attacking the basket. Our penetration was good, though we need to make better decisions, but we need to finish better too. That's what we need to do. We're not executing well enough, we're not finishing well enough. We've played close games, we've played good teams, but it doesn't count for anything, but I was impressed with the way our guys continued to battle. I thought Jamel [Artis] finished well today, and we worked with him these past weeks. We're striving to improve, even in February, because with the young group, we think we can."
On the closeness of the past games
"It's something we're used to. We've faced it in the Big East and prior to, but it's what you expect. We made some plays at the end of games, and you see this time, we didn't. We had some chances, we had open looks, and I thought we did good things to get to those open looks. We executed well out of time outs. We scored every time we came out of timeouts, and we did great things there. However, at the end of the day, we need to shoot a higher percentage than this. We're not shooting the ball well, but I think it's a shot selection issue. We're out of rhythm. We've got eight days to get ready, and we can't let that hinder us."