March 12, 2005
– Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Hewitt
That is a terrific win over one of the best teams in the country. I think it says a lot about our guys, despite all the adversity we have gone through and listened to all the curious prognostications about how we were not the same team. Once we got everybody back healthy, and got as healthy as we could possible be, we started playing good basketball. We have played excellent basketball over the last seven or eight games against some great teams in the ACC. To beat the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament says a lot about our guys. This statement is not one of disrespect towards North Carolina, they are great and could very well win the national championship, but this was no upset out here today. I want to make that point clear. These are two great teams. Our team, being a team that has accomplished an awful lot at big moments, to be written off was kind of amusing to me. Again this was no upset. This was two great teams playing. These two teams could very well see each other again if we are a little lucky. Coach Williams has done a great job with their group. They were the best defensive team in the ACC in all ACC games, a title that we coveted. They got it in terms of field goal percentage defense. You know what they are made of. Again this game says we have played in big games and won big games. We showed again today that we could win big games.
(On Georgia Tech’s rebounding effort today) — The rebounding was a key to us getting the lead in the first half. It was the reason we gave up the lead in the second half. At the end it was just guys making plays. Will (Bynum) made big plays. Jarrett (Jack) made big plays. Mario West kept a couple of balls alive that Luke (Schenscher) put back. They made plays too. The shot that (Rashad) McCants made, there were some big plays being made by both teams. It says a lot about our guys playing in a big spot.
(Contributions from Luke Schenscher) — Luke is an outstanding player. People around our program know how I feel about him. I know we will miss him greatly next year when he is gone. He is a terrific player. He comes to work every day. He is a smart player and a gifted player. I always go home and laugh to myself when people say he is not doing this and not doing that. I’m wondering what game they are watching. He is a terrific player and I’m glad we have him.
Georgia Tech senior guard Will Bynum
(What enabled you to do so well offensively today?) — I was just more aggressive. At the end of the Virginia Tech game, Coach (Hewitt) told me to start looking for my shot more. He told me to keep doing the things I was doing and eventually my shot would fall. That is what happened.
Georgia Tech junior guard Jarrett Jack
(On the upset of UNC) — This is something we expected to do. It isn’t a surprise, or a shock to us. We knew we could come in here and compete with any team in our conference, or any team in the country. We wanted to show that everybody putting us in the top rankings at the beginning of the year wasn’t a fluke.
(On the championship game) — They are both very tough teams. NC State played a great game against Wake Forest. They really spread them out and were knocking shots down from the outside. Duke is Duke. They’re going to come out with a lot of firepower from Sheldon Williams, J.J. Redick and Daniel Ewing. I am anxious to see the outcome of this one (the second semifinal game).
(On Felton) — Everyone knows that he’s a great player. When their backs were against the wall yesterday, he took the game over and propelled his team to victory. We knew we had to concentrate on him going to the basket, getting into the paint, and try to cause havoc with our defenders. I think we did a good job of keeping our bodies in front of him.
We all know that the best aspect of his game is his speed. From end to end, if he gets you on his hip, it’s a done deal. We tried to keep two people on him, slow him down, and just try to keep him out of the paint.
Georgia Tech senior center Luke Schenscher (On defending Sean May) — I made a more conscious effort of keeping him off of the offensive boards and getting him under the basket a bit more. I was trying to get in front of him and force him to get the ball further out off of the block. Even then, he made a couple of shots from there. He is such a good player that you have to keep working for 40 minutes out there. He is a tough guy to defend.
(On the team’s mindset) — Coming into this tournament, we thought we were one of the best teams in this tournament, if not in the country. We just want to keep winning these big games to prove that. We have another big game tomorrow and we will see what happens from there.
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams
Yesterday I said we felt very fortunate, today we don ‘t feel very good. We dug ourselves into a big hole and at the end we were hoping a shot would get us into overtime. We had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, but you have to congratulate Georgia Tech. They had a great deal to do with our poor play in the second half. They made more shots and made more big plays than we did. Their work on the backboards was huge. When we played at our place, we outrebounded them something like 52-33 and it was a huge game for us. Today they outrebound us 47-40 and scored 25 points on second-chance shots. It seemed like they missed their first shots about four possessions in a row, got their rebound and put it back in. It was a disappointing day for us and to be honest I am disappointed with how we played yesterday and today. We’re going to go back to Chapel Hill and get back out on the practice court and see if we can get better. We need to create more cohesiveness on both ends of the floor.
(On the last shot) — We didn’t have a timeout and we would have liked to have had a timeout in that situation. Something little that I told Jawad (Williams) earlier when he called the timeout when he dribbles it once and picks it up – that’s not something you do when your in fifth grade. That’s not getting on Jawad, it’s just not something North Carolina should ever have to do. We shouldn’t have to resort to that. We wished we would have had a timeout, but the guys knew what they needed to do, we executed, got a good shot by a guy who had just made one right before that, which was a big play for us, and it just came up short.
(On Will Bynum) — He is a young man who has some big time scoring potential and has had some big time games. I think one thing that hurt us, and not to take anything away from Will, but Jackie (Manuel) was not Jackie today. He didn’t feel as well, sprained his ankle a little bit earlier in the game and was never able to get in the flow. Will got hot and made some shots. He did a great job of getting to the basket and breaking our defense down. That dribble penetration also breaks down your box outs and a lot of that is the reason they were able to get so many offensive rebounds put in. Ten-for-21 for 35 points in 35 minutes – that’s a heck of a night for the youngster. You’ve got to get to him and we didn’t get to him enough. He’s a difficult player to guard because he can shoot the three and is also so quick that he can put it on the floor and hurt you there.
We had a chance to do some things at the end and I’m really pleased with our toughness, because that ‘s really the only reason we had a chance. Don’t anybody start to think that we were doing great when Rashad (McCants) was out there because that’s not fair to Rashad. And to be truthful, we didn’t play that well against Florida State. Remember Florida State shot 60% in the first half and we came back and played well in the second half. Also against Duke that was two teams that fought hard, but didn’t really play that well and I think Mike (Krzyzewski) would agree. This youngster sitting beside me (May) was an unbelievable man that day. Before you start writing about how Rashad disturbed our chemistry when he came back because we weren’t exactly setting the world on fire those last two games.
North Carolina junior center Sean May
It was a disappointing loss. We didn’t play well and we didn’t do the things that we’ve always done up to this point. Even yesterday we didn’t play. We need to go back and regroup. Georgia Tech is a great team and they deserved it because they played better.
(On what went wrong this weekend) — I think we got fat and happy. We won the conference regular season and coming up here when Clemson beat Maryland that was a sigh of relief for us that we didn’t have to play Maryland in their backyard. Clemson came out and just shocked us. The coaches had us prepared to play today, it was the players who just didn’t get the job done. The good thing is we have a couple days to go back, regroup and try to get this thing rolling again.
North Carolina senior forward Jawad Williams
(On the disappointment of losing in the semifinals) — We did this to ourselves. We went out there and gave our best effort and they played a great game. We didn’t do the little things and it cost us.
North Carolina junior guard Rashad McCants
(On playing from behind) — We can’t continue to just be a second half team. We can’t play bad in the first half and have to come back all the time.
(On his final three-point attempt) — I had a great look. It was just short. Good thing is we get to see another day. We didn’t play real well while we were up here so we’re going to go back to the drawing board and figure some things out.