UNC-Virginia Quotes
Release: 02/18/2017

North Carolina 65, Virginia 41 • February 18, 2017

Postgame Quotes

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams

Opening Statement

“I have the utmost respect for [Tony Bennett] and his club, and I have never seen his team miss that many shots. We were playing pretty defensively sometimes, and sometimes they got wide-open shots and they just didn’t go in. That happens in the game of basketball. Nobody’s done a better job the last three years in the country than Tony Bennett has, and I really like him as a person too. We get to talk about golf every now and then. I thought that we were active. Offensively, we tried to move it, tried not to hold the ball when they doubled big to big. We tried to find the other big or go across the court with it, tried to move it. Needless to say, Justin [Jackson] was our whole offense in the first half, and in the second half he got one offensive rebound, laid it up and that was it. I got mad at him and Joel [Berry II] because they both took back-to-back terrible shots, and I took them out, but he kept us in there to say the least in the first half. Again, this goes back to the ball didn’t go in the basket for them. That was basically it. Glad to see Isaiah [Hicks]’s starting to look more like himself again. He’s feeling better right now. Nate Britt was throwing up after pregame today, so I didn’t know what we were going to get out of him, but Nate gave us a pretty tough 14 minutes out there. But again, this was a game where some shots went in the basket for us, and they didn’t go in the basket for them.”

On what he liked that Carolina was doing defensively

“You know it’s hard to say because I kept saying, ‘Gosh, he was open. Gosh, he was open. Gosh, he was open.’ So I’ll have to look at the tape because I‘m not really pleased defensively with anything we did right now, but they missed a lot of open shots. I think Kennedy [Meeks] was real active on the offensive end. I mean he made some passes. He made some inside baskets for us. He controlled the ball on the board. [He] had three blocks. He was big for us inside, but Justin offensively in the first half and then defensively like I say, we made more shots than they did, but I don’t know that we covered them better than they covered us.”

On how close Justin Jackson is to having a special season like Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson

“We’ll have to see. We’ve got some season left to play. I don’t like to talk about long-range plans. We’ve got to play Wednesday night, but first half, that was pretty impressive what he did the first half. Second half, he scored two more points than Wanda [Williams].”


Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On struggling offensive performance

“Well I think offensively we struggled. I mean it’s no mystery we don’t score a ton inside, so when we’re missing some perimeter shots, some were pretty good shots, that puts a lot of pressure on us defensively. And their offensive talent really got going. I think our poor offense hurt our defense, and then it sort of turned into one of those deals. We tried to spread the floor and go with four guards and had a hard time finishing at the rim, but when you miss those shots that’s a problem. Yeah, points are hard to manufacture for us if we’re not hitting those outside shots.”

On Jack Salt’s early fouls

“I mean we were playing hard defensively. We were trying to trap them in the post, and we were kind of in there for a little while, but it shifted quickly. I mean they can go on runs quickly with their transition offense, their offensive rebounding. In the second half, they hurt us inside. In the first half [Justin] Jackson went nuts. We couldn’t handle that. We didn’t have decent ball-screen defense, off-ball screens; they’re a hard guard. They really are, and at least early we were somewhat formidable, but once it got away from us we had a hard time staying connected.”

On putting losses in perspective postgame

“I mean we’ve said, you’ve got a choice when you get smacked in the face like that, you can either lay down or get back up and try to fight. We play a good Miami team with a quick turnaround. This will be our fourth game in a short amount of time, and we’ve got to somehow, someway find ways to improve and tighten up in those areas. You know, we’ve got a good group of guys, and I’ve been on both sides of those games and we’ll learn from it and try to step up. We’re not playing great basketball. We’re playing hard up until this game, and I’ve got to watch the film to see if there’s anything, but I wish we could find easier ways to get some buckets to give us a little cushion. We’ve got to be really right to play against anybody in this league. Defensively and offensively – when we aren’t there on either it shows.”

On why this game wasn’t close

“In this game we weren’t close. We didn’t play well. They’re very talented offensively and I think some of our inexperience and our vulnerabilities or our areas of concern showed up tonight, and that’s where the separation occurred. There’s a reason why they’re 11-3, and they’re good. It was jumping early. This is the most alive I’ve felt this place or seen this place since I’ve been here, and we answered the first few minutes, but they separated quick. Like I said, it was tough.”


UNC Players

Kennedy Meeks, Senior, Forward

On what was successful against Virginia’s tempo

“I think we definitely just wanted to play our own game, which is pushing the pace and not trying to have so many low possessions. We tried to pick the fast break up a little bit. I know we didn’t have as many fast break points as we wanted, but I think we did a great job of getting the ball ahead and throwing it to the post or shooting the ball.”

On the low scoring game

“I think it shows that we are capable of playing either way. We want to be a great team and that is what we strive for everyday. Sometimes you have off days and you have to learn from those mistakes, but I think we did a great job of doing what Coach (Williams) asked of us this entire week and getting a win.”

On what changed in his performance between the first and second half

“I just was a little frustrated first half because I couldn’t find the right position inside. They (Virginia) do an extremely good job at double-teaming, so it was a little change for me and Isaiah (Hicks) and we shied away from being aggressive. I think posting up in the middle helps, especially on double team, because they can’t double team you in the middle and that will be an easy basket for your teammates. So we just had to switch it up that way.”


Isaiah Hicks, Senior, Forward

On his favorite dunk

“I say the one off the slip. The one Justin [Jackson] threw to me. I say that one. On that one, I figured I would be open because they like the hard edge, so I finally did something other than a two-hand dunk. That is the only thing because I always do a two hand; they call it the big man dunk, two hands. I felt like jumping more. You know, one hand. Throw down some.

On the College Gameday atmosphere

“We look at it as every game is a big one.  For us, we are in the driver’s seat right now. We have to take every game like it’s our last. We want to win out, win the championship, the conference championship, or anything like that. We have to play every game. Tonight, it is another game. We got to win. “


Justin Jackson, Junior, Small Forward

On progression of team

“We are happy we got the win tonight. We obviously got some things that we can still do better at, but I think we are pretty happy with the way we played tonight for the most part. I think we can continue to keep getting better and try to fix those things that we did not do as well. I think we can do some things.”

On defensive performance

“Everybody was really locked in tonight. Like I said, a lot of their shots were good looks that did not go in. They could not knock them down tonight. We are lucky they did not make some of those. We did some pretty good things defensively and offensively.”

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