North Carolina vs. Wake Forest
Dean E. Smith Center
Chapel Hill, N.C.
UNC 88 – Wake Forest 79
Q: Being able to keep a lead and fight in the second half
A: “As soon as I walked into the locker room, I told them how proud I was of them. One of the things we’ve talked about for us to be successful, we have to dig deeper. You know find the joy in how hard it is to be the best you can be individually and as a team. It’s just going to be difficult at times, you are going to be met with adversity so in those times you have to be connected to the discipline and the details and the things we talk about and drill in practice everyday.”
Q: What did you like about the three guard lineup?
A: “I like Seth and Caleb and RJ on the floor together. On both ends of the floor, I think they are really good defensively together so it puts us in a position to be at our best defensively. And then on the offensive end, you add another guy that is a playmaker. Another guy that can not only make a shot, but create a shot. I thought they played really well together and they have throughout the season.”
Q: Using different players like McKoy and Washington
A: “One of the things that I called Jalen and I called Justin, especially when we have been playing bigger teams, that power forward is pretty big. And so, their four men are 6 ’10, 6’11, and if we go small, I feel it would put us in a bad spot defensively. And I thought we had to match up with them in size to be able to defend them down in the post and box out and rebound. So that is exactly why I went with a bigger lineup because Wake Forest is so big.”
Q: Seth Trimble being a big time player
A: “That is one of the many reasons we recruited him. He is just gifted athletically. He is a special defensive player. He can stay in front of the ball, he can rebound the ball, he can make plays off the ball, he can get steals, and deflections. Despite his height, he is pretty strong. He is a really special defensive player.”
Wake Forest Coach Steve Forbes
Q: Opening Statement
Forbes: “Credit to Carolina. What a tremendous environment. I’ve played just about every big-time environment there is in college basketball and the crowd is really loud and impressive. Last time I was here we were wearing masks and I could hear Coach [Roy] Williams calling plays, didn’t hear anything tonight. Credit to them. Credit to Carolina. I thought we had it going our way, obviously, going into halftime with the lead, I was really excited and happy about that. I thought the first five minutes were going to be really important, but we came out and we made shots and we didn’t stop them and they made shots. Both teams were kind of for the first ten minutes, more just everybody making shots and nobody really getting stops. I thought the last ten minutes they really turned up the intensity on defense and got way more aggressive. I thought we caved to the pressure of their intensity on defense. Unforced turnovers, we only had eight at halftime. We were in good shape. I think we had four atomic bombs in the second half, last eight minutes, where we just turned over and they went down and dunked it. Can’t do that. [RJ] Davis is a really good player and he got going in the second half. He’s just really good. He’s got great pace. Some of that was we did a poor job pick-and-roll coverage on that. Our bigs didn’t have their head on the ball. Mando’s [Armando Bacot] a handful. We tried to play him one-on-one. We double-teamed him. When we did get stops, they got a couple of really big offensive rebounds and we just couldn’t get the ball. Those things just kind of all add up. It’s a tough loss because it was theirs worth taking but to win on the road, you can’t turn it over. You’ve got to get stops and we didn’t do that.”
Q: Steve, defensively, in the first half, it seemed like you were playing your kind of game. Did it get away from you in the second half?
Forbes: “Little bit. I have to go back and watch it. I thought early on, they came out and ran the same thing over and over. Nothing really different. We just didn’t defend it like we did in the first half. At the pick-and-roll where he [RJ Davis] started turning the corner. He wasn’t doing that in the first half. Our bigs didn’t do their job. Their job is to keep their head on the ball until he gives it up. Credit to him, he played aggressive. They kind of got going. You knew they were going to go to Mando [Armando Bacot] and he made a couple of shots where I would shake his hand. We did a pretty good job guarding him and he made him. A couple of times when he missed, we didn’t get the ball. That’s killer. The last ten minutes, I thought they turned it up defensively and we didn’t.”
Q: Given how central live-ball turnovers were, how much of a missed opportunity did you feel today was for your group?
Forbes: “Anytime you go on the road it’s hard. Especially a place like this. They are tough here. Credit to them. Everyone talks about their record, look where they’ve been. They haven’t been at home very much. They haven’t lost here. They are going to be really hard to beat here. Anytime you’re hitting this building and it’s a one-point game, under 10, 7, whatever it was. We had a great chance to win the game, we just didn’t do it. It’s a blown opportunity for us but you can’t say that there’s not credit to Carolina too. They buckled down and played the way they needed to play to win.”
Q: What was behind your three-point shooting today?
A: “This is something I’ve been working on, it’s always been there. It’s a matter of capitalizing on my opportunities. If I see one go in I’m going to keep shooting. That’s just something y’all haven’t really got to see, but y’all seen it today. I am going to try and build on this and hopefully get another win.”
Q: There were some unique contributions from the bench today after Pete went down.
A: “This is Division I, everyone here, we play for North Carolina, so it’s not like we can’t do some of the stuff that you guys haven’t really saw. It’s just a matter of stepping up and doing it. We have two of the best guards in the country, they are capable of scoring 30 points a game. Like I said it’s the next man up, if somebody gets it rolling we will keep going to them.”
Q: Speaking of your performance today, your defensive pressure, you were a spark off the bench.
A: “Like I’ve said many times, that’s what this team needs. I think we are best when our defensive tenacity, our defense that’s our primary focus, I think that’s when we are at our best. Just trying to shut down Appleby to the best of my ability. He is a great player. He is very hard to guard. He is very talented. Just trying to bring that defensive pressure to the game.”
Q: Y’all closed with that three guard line-up with you, R.J., and Caleb. What worked so well with that group with three true point-guards out there?
A: “I think defensively we are a lot more quicker, a lot more aggressive. Smaller guards we get to scrum around more. It kinda puts another ball handler on the court. Say Caleb and R.J. aren;t making a play, I’m there. I really think it gives more offensive help to guys like Mando (Bacot) and Leaky (Black) and everybody else.”
Q: Do you veterans feel any pressure?
A: “We all came back for a reason. I mean, it’s just time. It’s time for us to show how good of a team we are. We have the talent. We just have to be more disciplined. And just us leaders gotta do a better job of just every day trying to be better and better and not letting one thing affect us because if it affects us, then it’s going to affect the younger guys.”
Q: How big was Leaky’s offensive performance?
A: “I am super proud of Leaky. I told him that he looked like Steph out there. His ability to not just play defense but also be aggressive on the offensive end was a huge impact, and we need more of that from him. He stepped up. He made big-time threes. He attacked the lane aggressively, so I’m super proud of him.”