ROY WILLIAMS: All right. We’re very pleased to be able to spend another night in Charlotte and get up and talk about a game tomorrow morning. I thought there was a couple things that was good for us. They came back and got it to seven or eight or nine and then I thought our defense got two or three turnovers in a row and we laid it up on the other end. And we kept running. We practice running a lot and so I think that was helpful to us today. And I think the rebounding margin 44-35 and second chance points 9-2, I thought they were big. We got to the free-throw line and when you’re playing Louisville, we talk all the time about trying to play them without fouling. They’re one of the best free throw shooting teams in the league. And so for us that was a big key. But 19-9 for Luke, 19-7 and 6-1 for Coby. Cam didn’t score a basket in the second half but he kept us in the game a lot early and he gave us a little bit of a margin, but I thought is was good. And then Garrison made a couple of big baskets and after he missed the two free throws they had a chance to choose the guy and they chose him. And I thought it was big for him to step up and make the two free throws. So we’re happy to still be here.
Q. Kenny’s defensive pressure early forced some turnovers and helped you get the tempo that you wanted. Then he took a hit, rebounding, left the court holding his collar bone, came back, then got hit in the eye later. Is he going to be okay? Is the eye injury serious or is it just a temporary thing?
ROY WILLIAMS: He’s just a little soft. Be sure and tell him I said that. No, his shoulder, he’s got a bad shoulder but luckily it was more inside and it wasn’t one of the things that hurts him a great deal. But he did get poked in the eye and I assume he’s okay because we put him back in the game.
Q. You’re 22-7 all-time here in Charlotte. How much did the crowd give you a boost tonight with the tournament being here in North Carolina?
ROY WILLIAMS: Well I love being in North Carolina. I love being in Charlotte. I think the whole town loves having the tournament here. But we were in Charlotte last year in the second round and got our butts kick. I appreciate the crowd but it’s the guys in the short pants that make it for us, not those guys in the crowd. Did we put Kenny back in the game after that? Did Kenny come back? He’s all right. He’s a little soft.
Q. Luke, you’ve been through tournaments like this for awhile now, and you realize it’s a process, you want to get better every game. How is this as kind of a starting point for the tournament? Did you feel like you guys did what you needed to do tonight?
LUKE MAYE: Yeah, I think we came out early and punched them in the mouth. And basketball’s a game of runs and they came back and battled back and I thought coach got on us a little bit, especially at halftime and it kind of got us going and came out the second half and made some big plays. I thought Coby made some big shots and Cam battled on the boards which was big for us. And I thought overall it was just a big team win for us. And I mean in a format like this it’s definitely tough, but you got to continue to play and continue to fight because the other team’s doing the same thing. And I think we’re going to try to do that tomorrow.
Q. Luke, how special of a night was it for you not only to win the Skip Prosser Scholar Athlete Award, but also playing in front of your hometown to put up the numbers you did.
LUKE MAYE: It was great. I love coming back to Charlotte. I was talking earlier, we lost last year and it was tough playing in Charlotte and losing like that. And I wanted to come out and make sure that this time it didn’t go that way. And we came out and battled and fought and I thought it was a big win for us and we got a big game tomorrow.
Q. 11-36 from the three, five from eight from the free-throw line. Keeping Louisville off the free-throw line was the main key for tonight’s game?
ROY WILLIAMS: It was one of the three things we put up, like when you’re playing golf, you don’t want to three-putt. We didn’t want to — you understand that one, right? But we wanted to play really good defense without reaching. We still — one of them I didn’t understand, we reached when 30 was 77 feet from the basket and he made a heck of a play and laid it up and it was and one. But still for the most part we did do a better job of talking and listening, and that is communication, not just talking. But made some switches and got out and helped each other one the screen.
Q. What does it mean to have a player like Luke Maye who excels on the court and off the court as well? What does that mean for your program?
ROY WILLIAMS: It means a great deal. And Luke’s been a great student and a great student-athlete many, many years all the way back to his high school days as well. His parents emphasized education. And the guy sitting up here with him has done a nice job in the classroom as well. I’ve got one of the easiest jobs that anyone could have because we have such great kids that care about what they do in the classroom. And we’re proud of the fact that six of the nine years since we had the Skip Prosser winner we have had the winner, so we’re proud of that and proud of Luke.
Q. Coby, you had a lot of success taking the ball to the basket. Talk about your ability to penetrate and either get it and finish the play or kick it back out to one of your teammates.
COBY WHITE: I just started to look and see where the defense is at and just take what they give me. Early on I kind of forced it a lot, when I first started here, but I think I’m starting to make better decisions on it.
Q. Coby, you had 12 in two games against Louisville and then 19 tonight. What specifically changed against the same starting lineup for them?
COBY WHITE: I kind of got to the basket. I still didn’t hit a jump shot. Coach got on me about hitting — I think I’m like 1 for 18 against them from the three-point line. But I got to the basket, I made some tough plays at the basket. But I could have played better, but all I care about is the win.
ROY WILLIAMS: I’ll say something for Coby. He said earlier in the year he was trying to get there. He’s got better at reading it. But I always want him to be aggressive. I like point guards that are aggressive, take the ball to the basket and make plays and I think his attacking the rim in the first half was huge for us. Cam made a couple threes too, but the other thing in the first half was Coby taking the ball to the basket.
Q. For Coby and Roy, Coby you touched on it, but you had one turnover tonight I think you had two turnovers your last three games, what’s working better for you now?
COBY WHITE: I think I’m just trying to make the easy play instead of the home run play. Not trying to force it, not trying to do too much with the ball and just make the correct play and I think early on I was trying to force it and make the home run play, but that didn’t benefit me so coach got on me a lot about turning the ball over and I think I’m getting better each game.
ROY WILLIAMS: As you can tell Coby thinks I get on him all the time I get on him about his shots I get on him about his turnovers and he’s right, but he is making much better decisions. It’s just attack, attack, attack.
COBY WHITE: Under control.
ROY WILLIAMS: That’s what we talk about all the time we want to attack like crazy and be under control and I think he’s doing a lot better job of that tonight and late in the season he’s done a much better job.
Q. I know often times you’ve preached we play for April. But is there a part of you that wants to play for March like you know you want this tournament?
ROY WILLIAMS: No, there’s a huge part of me. I think you remember what you do in April, but we’re in the moment too. I tell the guys all the time, if you look down the road I tell our fans, if you just think about what may happen at the end of the year in Minneapolis, is it Minneapolis? Okay, what happens, if that’s the only judgment, it’s bad, so I talk to them all the time about enjoying the moment, enjoy the journey and we’re playing tonight. So we want to win. That’s, winning this thing is one of our goals. It’s not the only one and it’s not the biggest one, but I’ve never been to an ACC tournament where I didn’t really want to win. Sometimes we have and sometimes we haven’t, but the rest of the journey’s still out there too.
Q. Coby, they scored 10 straight points to cut it to one late in the first half and then you guys finished the half I want to say it was 12-2 or 11-2 to get that 10 point lead back. What changed and how did you guys handle that to be able to get back up and make that run?
COBY WHITE: I think our transition defense got better, we went through a little spurt where it was bad and we wasn’t getting picked up and they were knocking down open shots, so we started to get picked up better, we locked in and we just got stops down the stretch.
Q. For any one of you guys, it’s hard not to look ahead when the game’s tomorrow. Is there any part of you that wants to see Duke tomorrow night? With how the game goes tonight?
ROY WILLIAMS: Frankly my dear —
LUKE MAYE: I knew he would say that.
ROY WILLIAMS: Luke says I’m — he knew I was going to say that. I hate it when people know that kind of thing. I really don’t. Come on, we are here and if they bring Golden State Warriors out we’ll play, if it’s Duke we’ll play, if it’s Syracuse we’ll play. I’m being honest. I care about how our team does. Are all of you old enough to know what I’m talking about when I say, frankly my dear? Okay, you’re old enough Chip, that’s for darn sure.
Q. Yes, sir. You might be the oldest person in the room though.
ROY WILLIAMS: Could be.
Q. For Luke, that run that coach referenced before late in the game, I think started with two blocked shots by you. What were you anticipating on defense that was going to happen at that juncture?
LUKE MAYE: Well when I play the five I try to do my best to protect the rim and coach continues to get on me about trying to take charges and I need to do a better job of taking charges but I still think I’m a shot blocker and sometimes I do get blocks, but I think just the biggest thing for me is just trying to be in the right spots and coach continues to preach being in help side and being in the middle of the paint, especially when the ball’s opposite and I just tried to be in the right spots for my teammates and make sure that they could rely on me on defense.
Q. Coby and Luke, Louisville did a really good job of keeping you guys out of transition in Chapel Hill and in Louisville as well. Tonight you got 27 fast break points. Talk about the mindset of push the ball, push the ball and what did you do specifically to get those many fast break points?
COBY WHITE: Coach preaches push the ball every day in practice and in the games and we try to do it every game and today we really pushed it and I got on the break and it benefited us well.
LUKE MAYE: Mind if I say something?
ROY WILLIAMS: Let him speak he won the Skip Prosser award. Let him talk.
LUKE MAYE: I think the biggest thing and coach has changed the defense to help us guard the gaps a little bit better and guard the basket, but I don’t think Kenny gets enough credit for the job he does and for him to get the steal and for him to hold Nwora to seven points who is one of the best scorers in our league is really strong and I think he started the break a lot and he was able to get the board and he runs out and leaks out sometimes, but he makes great plays. I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the job he does every night.
Q. Now that weather on rolled, Roy, this team really remind me of an old fashioned Carolina team and I know you don’t like to compare teams but can you compare the progress and the improvement that this team has made, talk about that, because they’re really?
ROY WILLIAMS: I think we got better and if you look and I really believe this, I believe almost all of our teams have gotten better down the stretch, second half of the conference season I would think our record’s probably about as good as anybody’s. Maybe better than most everybody. But I think we have the kids who pay attention and try to make what we’re teaching every day become habits and then when it become habits for them it’s easier to do that. I think as the season’s gone along they have shared the basketball better, I think they have appreciated a better shot than maybe the one they have, I think we have done a better job of keeping the other team trying to run them off the three-point line and I think they understand the knowledge of that. But we practice really pretty thoroughly and pretty hard every day and I think it’s the kind of kids we have, they have just done a good job of getting better.
Latest posts by Mark Blankenbaker (see all)
- David Johnson To Enter NBA Draft - April 14, 2021
- Noah Locke Transfers to UofL Basketball - April 13, 2021
- Carlik Jones to Test NBA Draft, Open to Return to Louisville - April 10, 2021