Postgame Quotes • March 3, 2014
North Carolina 63, Notre Dame 61
North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams
"Well it's a really weird feeling. I wish I could explain it to you better than saying that. You go out there and you're so frustrated and you feel like things are just not going your way. Think of this: there were two jump balls called. One of them with two seconds on the shot clock and the other one with one second on the shot clock and both were going to be our possessions. That makes you think that things aren't going that well for you at that moment. We held them defensively for quite awhile there and we couldn't throw it in the ocean ourselves on the offensive end. First five or six minutes in the second half I thought we got great shots, but we couldn't make anything. The first time this year down the stretch when we really needed some free throws we missed a bunch of those as well. Early in the season we missed a lot of free throws early in the games but recently we've made a bunch of them down the stretch, and we kept giving them opportunities [today.] I thought that Eric Atkins was sensational, and I thought Pat [Connaughton] was just really tough tough taking the ball to the basket on us. Seven [of] 13 from him. Seventeen points and 13 rebounds. To me Notre Dame is very unlucky. I even told Mike [Brey] that we were the lucky team tonight. Sometimes you like to have that. I'd like to play really well and be lucky too because then you can really win some big-time games.
"Senior night is always emotional to me. It's emotional for Leslie [McDonald] because he didn't have the kind of game that he's had recently. He was dribbling the ball and stepping out of bounds and charging the guy. Those four seniors have meant a lot to us. As Leslie said, five years; he's been around quite awhile and suffered through a lot of stuff. I just feel very lucky, I guess. Lucky and weird, that's all I can tell you. I'd like to be more intelligent."
On what concerns have been raised the last few games
"Everything. Everything. I told them in the locker room and I said on Saturday, ‘to have a really good year you have to win some games ugly. I'm tired of wining games ugly.' It's better than losing games ugly. I thought that we'd have a tremendous sense of urgency today. We played so much harder in practice yesterday than we did in the game today. We learned those lessons early in the season but we've let them slip by us this year these last couple of games. You got to give Notre Dame credit. They were down 14 and came right out the start of the second half and did what they wanted to do and made shots and we were ugly."
On whether he has seen more zone defense this year
"We have because teams feel like they should zone us. If you look at our percentages, we're not a good three point shooting team. Really for the first time in 26 years coaching I've ever been concerned about a zone. I always loved it when teams played zone because we had great movement and we could shoot the crap out of the ball. Zone never bothered us. This year people think that's the way to play us."
UNC Player Quotes
James Michael McAdoo, Jr., F
On the close win and the fight of the team
"I guess you can say our fight is good especially coming out in a game like today. You know especially the first half going the way it did, us not playing our best basketball, but still being up. I think you just have to be thankful just for another opportunity to come out here and play, but I think it just shows how good we can be and how capable we are of being a really great team if we put our minds to it. "
On the game being more difficult in the second half
"You have to give credit to Notre Dame. I think they really made it uncomfortable for us on offense. There were a couple of stretches there where we couldn't get the ball going."
Nate Britt, Fr., G
On hitting his head and how he feels
"I just know I hit it somewhere and I was a little dizzy for a second. I feel fine now, I felt fine after I got up. I wanted to stay in the game and shoot some free throw. But I came out and Doug [Halverson] looked at me for a little bit, and I was good to go and ready to go back in the game."
On stepping up and hitting big shots
"I mean it feels good. Any way that I can always help our team out, it's always a good feeling. So I am glad I was able to just knock down those two shots at the end of the game."
On the start of the second half
"They did like you said, came out hot, we came out slow. We needed to pick up our intensity on the defensive end and defend them a little bit better. I feel like after a while that's what we did, and I think it was like an eight minute stretch that we held them to no baskets. So, I was glad that we were able to change the pace on defense."
Marcus Paige, So., G
On Coach Williams saying he's tired of winning ugly
"He told us the same thing. That's three or four in a row against teams we are capable of beating by a better margin than we have. That's no knock on them, but we've been playing really well lately and if we have big goals and dreams, we can't have all these sluggish games. We've been fortunate to be on the winning side of all of them, so it's not too big of a concern."
On getting off to a slow start in the second half
"We just didn't get the shots we wanted, they switched their defense up a couple times just to give us different looks. I think we were just kind of frustrated on the offensive end. We tried to go inside, didn't get a couple calls, didn't get any clean looks and then it just kind of spiraled from there. But we were able to respond with enough points, I guess, to win."
On his block to end the game
"It was tough because I was in the help spot with a shooter in the corner, so you're supposed to kind of fake and then go back to the shooter, especially because we were only up two. You could kind of see in [Eric] Atkins' eyes that he was taking it and keeping it all the way to the basket. I just went all the way in and kind of made that choice that I was going to defend the rim instead of giving up the three and I guess I guessed right and he tried to lay it up and I was there."
Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey
"I'm proud of our group, and I mean we put ourselves in position. A couple of key turnovers at times hurt us; they got to a couple of loose balls. But we defended well enough for them to score  points. They didn't crush us on the backboards, we did our job there. Overall, we executed pretty well offensively. Just a couple of possessions under four minutes where we turned it over or maybe didn't get the shot we really wanted to get. You've got to give Carolina credit; their defense was pretty good. Also, [Nate] Britt hit two big ones. We were kind of in a little diamond and one on [Marcus] Paige and wanted someone else to make a shot and we take our hat off to him because, I believe he made two of them, didn't he? He made two big shots, and that was kind of the guy we wanted shooting."
On the final possession
"Yeah, we wanted a ball screen and a read. We got a great ball screen at half court by Tom Knight, and just get there and you've got guys spotting up, and if they help, kick it for a three for the win. But the way Eric [Atkins] was getting to the basket, I think that was a pretty good read to get in there. We got him freed up at half court."
On the struggles of the new road environment
"You know, I don't know if it's that. I don't know if it would be that. Of course, you're comfortable in the Big East road environment. At least your veterans are. They know, so there is some new territory. There have been some great road atmospheres that we have played in. This one was fabulous. I hadn't been here in 20 years, and they do an unbelievable job here. Great fans. I would attribute it to lack of personnel sometimes."
On the status of Garrick Sherman's finger
"Yeah, we've got to rest that. It popped out twice against Pittsburgh, and he's just not effective. So if we can get him a week of rest, I think we can calm that down before we go to Greensboro. Pat [Connaughton] also needs about five days now. I tell you what, that's a man, because he was hurting today. And we gave him some Motrin and taped him up and he needs about four or five days to get himself together, and we need some rest. We need to get away from the game and get rest a little bit and then we'll get back into practice mode later in the week and we'll have a clean slate, as you move to Greensboro."
On the defensive effort
"It was pretty good, wasn't it? We were really good, in position, and a little bit of diamond and one helped us but our man to man gave us a chance to win it. You know, our man to man was pretty good at key times against Pittsburgh. So I think there is something to build on there where we dug in a little better defensively."