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UNC-Louisville Quotes
Release: 02/22/2017
North Carolina 74, Louisville 63 • February 22nd, 2017
Postgame Quotes

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams

Opening Statement

“Let’s get one thing cleared up, I just heard about one fan being ejected at halftime, yelling something at Rick (Pitino). I don’t like that. I mean we’re North Carolina, we don’t have to be like everyone else. You can raise Cain and you can boo, but you don’t have to say stuff that we as coaches have to put up with. I hope that never happens again at North Carolina. I apologize to Rick. I don’t know what was said, but cheer like crazy for us. I know some of the junk I have to listen to on the road is not what I enjoy. But other than that, I feel fantastic. We shot 37% and won. It was an ugly game, we got off to a bad start, their defense dominated us early, we were taking quick shots. We made a couple threes, Justin (Jackson) made one that was pretty, made one that looked like a brick when it hit right in the flange and still fell in. We stayed close and we got the three-point lead. I think we scored the four, five, six something in the second half, got a pretty good working margin there all of sudden. Then we give up a wide open layup when we don’t pick up, and a big guy doesn’t run back, and they pitch ahead to the big guy, lay it up, and then they make a three, and all of a sudden it’s a tied game again. After that, we did some good things. Justin made a couple big time threes, Kennedy (Meeks) made a big shot inside for us, I thought Kennedy was good: 14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks. After the first six or eight minutes of the game I thought he was the best rebounder on the court. Justin’s big threes again were huge for us. I’ve never seen a team, a very good shooting team, not shoot the ball like they did tonight.  They missed six or seven or eight free-throws. So we feel fortunate for that part of it, part of that was our crowd was really into it, I loved our crowd, it’s exciting to play that kind of basketball game.”

On the team’s recent defense

“I don’t ever try to evaluate how we’re doing except on that specific night. Late in the game, Donovan (Mitchell) drove in there and laid it up about three or four times. They shot 43% in the second half, I don’t think it was that good until the last three or four minutes, but still guys, they shot 44%. Last year we led the league in defensive field goal percentage, I think at 40.7% or something like that. I think part of thing is we’ve cleaned it up a little bit. They had more offensive rebounds in the first half that we did, so we finished it better. But I’d still like teams to shoot a lower percentage than 44%.”

On UNC’s ACC lead

“Well it is a competitive league, but it says we have a two game lead right now but there’s still some left to play. We’re getting ready to go on one of those trips I don’t think any team in our league should have to do, on the road on Saturday and on the road on Monday. I think Steve (Kirschner) checked for me, I think there’s three different teams that have had to do that, and that’s really difficult, especially with very good teams. We’ve got Pittsburgh, they’re very gifted, it’s senior day, then Virginia, then we come home and play Duke, so we’ve still got a lot of things we have to do. I feel good that we’re on top, I’d rather be on top than third, seventh or fifteenth, but there’s still a lot of work to do.” 

 

Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino

Opening Statement

“Well we took ourselves out of the game tonight with our foul shooting. It could’ve been a very close game but we took ourselves out. We didn’t rebound as well as we should have, and we turned it over too much. Give them a lot of credit. They did a lot of good things down the stretch and we didn’t. They deserved the victory.”

On scoring drought

“We’re missing shots. We played good enough to stay in the game. We didn’t play good enough win, and then you know, you shoot four for 13 and you get dominated on the glass. If you get the other team to shoot 36% in the game but you give up 16-second shots, you’re not going to win very many games. So we’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They’re a great offensive rebounding team.”

On defending Justin Jackson

“Well, like Donovan Mitchell, he’s gone from a fairly flat shot to a shot with great arch. The two players I’m most impressed with in college basketball this year – one never gets any credit – Justin Jackson, to me, should be one of the key guys for the Wooden award. The other guy is [Luke] Kennard. They mention guys in the draft. If I was drafting, Kennard would be in my top five picks because he’s unstoppable. He’s a great passer. He’s a great shooter. He’s got the mind of a genius on the basketball court, and Justin Jackson – those two guys, I don’t know which one I would pick for player of the year. They’re both awesome.”

On Justin Jackson’s improvement

“Yeah, like Donovan Mitchell and him really have the same type of shot.  It was a little flat, and he worked on it, and he’s a little erratic, and he made himself into a great player. Good defensive player as well, and you really like to see guys that put in the time and effort to become great players, and he has, and that’s great for him. For them, not for me.”

On the looks Louisville got

“Felt good about the shots, but we’ve got to make free throws. That’s ridiculous. I mean, it really is. You can’t shoot four for 13 and get dominated on the glass, but you know it was a good game for us. This was a surprise environment. You know, I’ve always said this is the classiest place in college basketball until I met a fan on the way out. It always reminded me of a class place, but they’re getting just like some of the other places now.”

On what happened with fan

“He just got in my face and said something I didn’t like, but you know, I take it from the students all the time. You expect it from students, but from an adult and then, turns his back on me like he’s a coward, so… and he is a coward, and he doesn’t have to take it.  But North Carolina’s a classy place, and one person doesn’t speak for the rest of the people.”

On North Carolina’s offensive rebounding

“Well, [Kennedy] Meeks has an uncanny ability. I mean, he’s 430 pounds – only kidding, but he’s 260 and has a great lower body. One of the bad things about our basketball team is we’ve got athletic bodies that run up and down the court. He’s like a [Jamal] Mashburn, a player I coached many years ago at Kentucky, Mashburn body, and you can’t move him. Then he just nudges you two feet and throws you under the rim, legally, and it’s tough to keep him out. The only way to play that is to get your guard to come down and get over him. He’s just very, very tough with that. They do things offensively that are very difficult to stop because of their offensive rebounding. It’s an offense onto itself. It’s probably just as potent as anything they do. They’re a great team, and they’re going to go a long way. They’ve got a lot of great days ahead of them.”

 

UNC Players

Justin Jackson, Junior, Forward

On the significance of the win in terms of ACC standings

“ACC standings don’t really matter. For us, we just beat a really good team, and we shot terrible. I think that shows we can win in different ways. I think that it shows that when we come out to play, we can beat a whole lot of teams.”

On his three-point shooting

“It can be a blessing and a curse, but I expect everything to go in. It just comes from the time that I’ve put in during the offseason. Every time I shoot, I think it’s going in.”

 

Theo Pinson, Junior, Guard

On adjusting to Louisville’s style of play

“That’s what you’ve got to do to win a national championship. You’re not going to play the same style of play. We played Virginia, who is slow-paced and methodical. You know what they’re going to do. Louisville throws a lot of different stuff at you, and you’ve got to adjust. We’ve got a lot of veteran guys. We just needed to solve the problem. Once we did, we started clicking.”  

On the team’s progression

We didn’t shoot it great tonight, but we showed the toughness part that we needed to show. We found a way to win. Louisville’s a great team. We wanted to protect home court, so it was a battle for 40 minutes. I think we did a good job of that tonight.”  

 

Nate Britt, Senior, Guard
On the team’s improved focus
“Yeah, it was extremely high this game, and the last few games. They’ve all been extremely big games. Not to say one game is bigger than another, but we know we control our destiny. We know we need to win every game to win the regular season to give us a good seed going into the tournament.”

 

Joel Berry II, Junior, Guard
On tonight’s victory

“That was pretty big for us. We keep talking about how we control our own destiny. We’re at the top and we want to stay there. So, closing this season out, we want to continue doing what we’re doing and continue to win. This was big for us tonight.”

On the second half performance
“I think we moved the ball better. They were in a match up zone, and I tried to cut through the zone and go out the other side so I could have a mismatch. Justin [Jackson] did a great job knocking down shots, and Kennedy [Meeks] did a great job on the offensive boards. We just got in a lot of production from my guys on the bench. You know, Isaiah [Hicks] got in foul trouble so Tony [Bradley], Luke [May] and Brandon [Robinson] came in and gave us a couple of good minutes. Everyone contributed and that is what we need.”


UNC North Carolina Men's Basketball


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