Raleigh, NC – UNC defeated NC State in a basketball game at PNC Arena, 90 – 82. Below are the post-game comments by NC State basketball coach Kevin Keatts and UNC basketball coach Roy Williams.
NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts
“I’m proud of the way my team fought. Think about the way we started the game and couldn’t get anything going. We missed shots, and then we battled back. I thought it was a very good basketball game between two teams that can score the ball. I told our team at the end of the game that 82 was enough to win the game.
We’ve got to do a better job of cleaning up some of the mistakes that we made. I thought they did a great job of beating us to some 50/50 balls, and then obviously we gave up a lot of rebounds. We have a chance to be a really good basketball team. Give North Carolina credit– I thought they shot the ball well. They did a tremendous job making three-pointers. We had our chances and made some runs, but the ball didn’t fall our way at the end of the game.”
On lower shooting percentages
“I thought a lot of that was due to our slow start. What happens when you start the game slow and miss some shots, because everybody is a competitor, is that they will try to bring us back by themselves. I thought we didn’t share the ball particularly well. We went into the game saying that we wanted to get as many touches as we can and spread out the shooters, but we didn’t do that. We didn’t move the ball enough.
82 points is enough to win the game. Give North Carolina a lot of credit– they did a great job tonight. I like where my team is, and I like the way we fought. I told our guys that if we clean up little things, we have a chance to be a really good basketball team.”
On DJ Funderburk
“I thought DJ was great. He was very active, he did a great job, and he had a heavy presence down low, both offensively and defensively. What I didn’t get was the rebounds from Torin Dorn, CJ Bryce, and Devon Daniels. We typically have both DJ Funderburk and Wyatt Walker with seven to 11 rebounds, but we also have our 6’5” guys with rebounds, but tonight North Carolina beat us to some balls.”
On the Pack’s offensive performance
“I thought we made some runs. We didn’t do a great job of running Cam Johnson off the three-point line. I thought he got some great looks, with a couple of those coming off offensive rebounds. We knew they do a great job of rebounding the basketball and getting them off quick for threes, but we didn’t do a great job of running them off the line.”
On how the team will bounce back
“We lost a tough game early in our season, and I’m a big streaks guy. We won seven in a row after we lost, and we talked about what do we do from now. We went to Wisconsin and lost a heartbreaker similar to that. You find out a lot about a team by how they bounce back. That was the last thing I talked to them in the locker room– is that we did enough to win the game. If we had cleaned up some stuff with the basketball, rebounded the basketball, and got some 50/50 balls, there would have been a different outcome tonight.”
On UNC-CH’s fast start
“We just missed shots. If you go back and look at the start of the game, we had some great looks that just didn’t fall. Sometimes the basketball just doesn’t go in.
I thought we settled in. I always tell these guys that you aren’t always going to score the basketball, but rely on your defense to get back. When we got down early, I thought we locked in on defense better, and we started making shots. Braxton Beverly hit a couple shots to kind of loosen everything up for us.”
On the bench contributions
“Our bench has been tremendous. I like my bench. These guys have given me tremendous effort every day, and they are fighting. We won’t be defined by one game. I thought it was a good game, but the guys who came off the bench did a tremendous job. I wanted to bring Braxton Beverly off because I wanted him to see the game start and get into a flow.”
On being within a couple points for a lot of the game
“It doesn’t drive me crazy. It means that we won’t lay down. These guys are fighters and it shows a lot about us, the program, and the direction that we are moving in. We refuse to just lay down.”
On turning the ball over in the closing minutes
“We just didn’t execute down the line. We need to execute a little bit more.”
On not being able to take the lead
“As a competitor, it’s frustrating, but we’ll bounce back. We’re looking forward to the next game Saturday.”
On his first time playing North Carolina
“I liked the crowd. I liked what they did out there for us, but we’ve got to execute.”
On the team’s capability to play higher level teams
“Like Coach Keatts told us, 82 points can get us a lot of wins on offense, but we need to get defensive stops. As a team, we’re going to look at the film and think about what we can do better for Saturday.”
On getting the new players on the team ready for this game
“Everybody’s first time playing this game is a different experience. There’s a lot of energy. It takes some getting used to, but I think some of those guys played well tonight. We just didn’t make enough plays to win it.”
On the team’s conversation at the first timeout
“Just don’t worry. Don’t panic. Get back into it.”
On Braxton Beverly
“He was amazing. He shot the ball really well and gave us great energy. Anytime he does that, we have a chance to be successful.”
On the newcomers’ first time playing UNC-Chapel Hill
“Everybody’s first time playing in this game is definitely a different experience because of the intensity of it and the energy that’s in the building. It takes some getting used to. I think some of those guys answered the bell and played really well tonight, but we just didn’t make enough plays to win.
On the positive takeaways
“They played amazing off the bench. I think DJ Funderburk gave us great energy. Braxton Beverly made shots like he does, and he gave us great energy as well. Anytime you can get production like that off the bench, it’s good for your team, and moving forward in the ACC, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We can learn from this and get better.”
On being so close to taking the lead
“We had a few breakdowns. It’s something that we can fix and it’s something that we’re going to learn from and move on from.”
On the loss
“It’s disappointing losing any game. You can’t look at it as them just being North Carolina. It was disappointing when we lost to Wisconsin as well. That’s two that we let slip away that we should have won.”
On DJ Funderburk and Braxton Beverly coming off the bench
“It really came from our teammates. They were encouraging us and finding us when we’re open. We can’t just take all the credit. It goes to our teammates and coaches.”
On being unable to take the lead
“We knew we were out there. We just couldn’t get over that last little hump. It’s not a big tweak we have to make. We know we’re a really good team, and we’re just going to take this loss and learn from it. When we get in this situation again, we’ll be able to get over the hump next time.
UNC-Chapel Hill Head Coach Roy Williams
“We feel very good to get the win. It was a frenetic pace out there, and at times a little wild. For us, 23 turnovers is a bit much. I think I’m seeing turnovers in my sleep. We were better in the second half, and then Seventh Woods steps on the baseline and Luke Maye steps on the baseline. Coby White goes driving through there like he was running for a first down and runs over the kid. Then, Kenny Williams came down, had the bounce pass one dribble earlier to Coby for a layup, and he turned it over. Even down the stretch, we didn’t do what we wanted to do with the basketball.
We rebounded the heck out of it tonight. I said to LaPhonso Ellis and Dan Shulman before the game that I felt like if we won the rebounding war, we’d win the game. We had 11 second-chance points to their eight. Even though there wasn’t a big gap there points wise, at least we got a second chance to either get a shot or get a turnover.
We had three guys with double-doubles. Cam Johnson had 15 points and 11 rebounds before he had cramps. Kenny Williams had 15 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of his career and Luke Maye had 21 points and 11 rebounds. But, way too many turnovers. We play at a really fast pace and they do too, but you can’t turn the basketball over like that.
I thought Braxton Beverly coming off the bench in the first half killed us. We had a silly play and didn’t rebound the ball, they got another opportunity, and Beverly makes a three down the stretch there. I like their club and I like the way they play. We both play very similar styles, but it was a heck of a night and I’m glad to get out of town with a win.”
On the team’s toughness
“I was really mad at them at one point in the first half because I thought we were way too soft. We had some turnovers that looked like we were a ninth-grade basketball team at a bad school, and you can’t do that. I questioned their toughness, and then at the six-minute mark I told them we were going to be a lot tougher than that these last six minutes. Toughness can mean going after the ball, but it can also mean not turning the sucker over.”
On NC State’s shooting
“I thought Garrison Brooks was really good defensively. We needed a hard hedge on the ball screen and except for one of those last plays where DJ Funderburk got his last bucket, it was Garrison’s responsibility to go back in the lane from the ball to his man. Other than that, I don’t remember many bad plays from Garrison on the defensive end of the court. Those guys play really hard, Markell Johnson is really good, I love Torin Dorn’s game, and Braxton Beverly made the shots. I think in some ways it was one of our better defensive games.”
On Cameron Johnson
“I really didn’t think when I went out on the court, and he was cramping up, that he would come back in. It wasn’t a surprise to me when Doug came to me with three minutes to go and said he’s getting better, but he doesn’t know if he’s going to be able to do it or not. I just kind of wrote him off at that point. It’s hard sometimes with those cramps. You can go out for 30 seconds, then you got a perfect wide open jumpshot, then you sorta plant and fall down onto the floor, and the other guy goes down and dunks it. I’ve never given much opportunity for a guy to come back into the game after that, to be honest with you.
After that, we tried to think which players were the best five defenders. Brandon Robinson gave us a big three-pointer from the far corner. Then, he had a really nice shot on the baseline and missed, but I told him it was a real nice shot. I wanted Leaky Black in there to give us an extra ball handler as well. Just going by the seed of your pants, I didn’t sit over there and make any outline and try to figure out what the dickens I was going to do.”
On being 2-0 in ACC play
“It’s getting tight, but you can’t beat it, so I like that part of it. We’re trying to get better. I know it sounds corny to you guys, but that’s what we’re really trying to do every day at the game and at practice. I told them “Hey! That’s a pretty good start 2-0. I like that, but now put that behind you and be ready to get better the next day at practice.”
On the second half
“At the half, with the score 47-42, they scored the first five, tied it up, and then we scored. They got it tied at 60 or something like that. It was crazy because I almost never watch the scoreboard, but I was watching that board tonight because I didn’t want to see a turnover. I thought we answered every challenge and never gave up the lead. Every time they went on a run, we’d come back and answer it. Kenny Williams made one really big three-pointer late in the shot clock. We didn’t look like the smoothest team out there the last two or three minutes either. I think Coby White was the only one who missed a free throw in the last four or five minutes, so that’s good too.”
“We missed a lot of shots and so did NC State, so there’s a lot of rebounds to get. It’s a fast-paced game with a lot of possessions. With high-possession games, you’re going to get more opportunities. Cameron Johnson had 11 rebounds and didn’t play the last 12 minutes, so he had that many rebounds and didn’t play those last minutes. Kenny got two or three big-time rebounds and went out after the ball and really got it for us. We need that. We don’t have a Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, or Bryce Johnson, that the ball seems to fall too.
On the best player tonight
“I would go with Garrison Brooks because I thought he was sensational defensively. He missed a couple, but he’s 5-for-5 at the foul line, with 5 assists, 0 turnovers, and 11 points, and he’s not even one of the guys who had double figures in rebounds. I think Luke Maye made some big time shots for us, Kenny Williams made some big time shots, Coby White was important on the offensive end, but I’d say Garrison Brooks. That’s my pick without looking at the tape.”
On Garrison Brooks’ “light staying on”
“I hope it stays on. I told Leaky Black, Seventh Woods, and Coby White they better watch out because Garrison Brooks the past two games has had 10 assists and 0 turnovers. I might play his butt as the point guard.”