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Postgame Quotes
North Carolina 75, Virginia 74

Virginia Head Coach Dave Leitao

Opening comments:
“We lost the game for a number of reasons. When you play very good basketball teams, the margin of error is razor thin. You try the best you can, but you can’t play a perfect game. Any mistake leads to something positive on the other end, and that’s what happened a number of times. The other part of it is, when you play anybody in this league, it’s easy to be plagued by inconsistency. Offensively, we never achieved the kind of rhythm and results, and didn’t spread the wealth like we needed in order to be successful. When you get open shots, such as some of the point-blank lay-ups that we got, you can’t miss those. You don’t have any choice. Not making them puts pressure on other areas of the game that any good team is going to exploit. We’ve got to get back to the gym, as I keep saying. We’ll work the best that we can to get better.”

On Tyler Hansbrough:
“Great player. In my recollection of him as a freshman when we were in U-Hall, he was a lot more stationary; you could run doubles at him. Last year, he was better, more skilled, and more active. This year, he’s all over the place. You can’t really crowd him as much. He plays through double-teams, he faces up now, and becomes an offensive threat. He’s a terrific player, and much better than when we played him last year.”

On his team’s offense:
“We’re a team that has to make perimeter shots, and we did not do enough of that tonight. When our guys make those shots, they tend to make other shots inside an option, and make free throws. I wish it weren’t that way, because I’m not a guy who likes to live by the jump shot, but if you have to have perimeter shots as your weapon, on nights like tonight where you don’t have them, you suffer.”

On his team’s defense:
“One of the missing pieces all year long is that the back line of our defense has been small and inexperienced. To have a bigger body like Lars (Mikalauskas) gives us a bit more presence, gives us a little bit of a lift.”

On consolation he may feel from his team playing hard:
“I just said to the guys, Competitive sports are a cruel, cruel game.’ You win or you lose. Winners are revered, and losers go home. I believe that effort is a given. Getting excited about effort is like saying, I want my team to play hard.’ That’s what they’re here for; that’s what we’re here for. So it’s hard for me to take any consolation in playing hard. That’s what you’re supposed to do. My job is to try to play harder on a day-to-day basis. In that arena, we have not done that as much.”

Junior Forward Laurynas Mikalauskas

On the close loss:
“Yeah, but a loss is a loss, and we just have to get better so we can beat Boston College on Sunday.”

On getting back to playing after an injury:
“I was a little injured for a couple of weeks, but now I am feeling good and ready to go. It feels great to be back. Unfortunately, we lost today, but hopefully we’ll get better for the next game.”

On the team’s stronger performance:
“I think before we just doubted ourselves a little bit. But now we are going to be good. We have to practice, beat Boston College, and get back the winning streak.”

Senior Guard Sean Singletary

On the team’s play tonight:
“I think it shows that we can play with any team in the country, no matter who they are. We just have to do it on a more consistent basis and get over that hump, like I have been saying.”

On if he thought the Cavaliers would win this game:
“No doubt. With the energy we were playing with in the first half, we could match up with any team in the country, like we showed early in the season. It just came down to the final stretch at the end, and we didn’t have enough to get that foul at the end. We wish we had had more time on the clock. That was a long 2.9 seconds, but we just couldn’t get our hands on the ball. We tried hard, but it was another loss.”

On if he is proud of the effort his team put out:
“I am definitely proud of the effort that we are giving as a team. We are really sticking together through thick and thin. But I am not really into moral victories like that, because losers do that, and I don’t feel like we are losers. Even though we have a losing record now, I know we can turn it around. There are a lot of games left, a lot of basketball, so we just have to mature and play every game to the wire like this one.”

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams

Opening remarks:
“We feel very fortunate. I have no problem in saying that. I do believe we made some plays, but with a five-point lead, they miss a shot, we do not get a box-out, and they get it and score. Some of those frustrating things happen in a game, but you have to give Virginia credit. To be 1-8 and to have us come in here and do the things they did. I thought that they were much more aggressive than we were, but I was really pleased with the contributions we got from a lot of guys. Tyler Hansbrough was something else again. They aimed their defense at him to say the least, but I think he was big for us. We have to get box-outs and crucial plays of the game. I thought Sean Singletary showed what a great player he was. We were trying to make sure that he did not get the three, so he drew two players to him and pitched to (Calvin) Baker, who made a big time shot. Sean made the play, though, because he drew two people to him, and that is what great players do; they make other people better. I feel for Dave Leitao. He is one of the true credits to the coaching profession. He is a true gentlemen and a good, good guy. You do not like to see anyone go through those kinds of things, and I have been there. Everybody thinks I have not, but my first year at Kansas I lost eight in a row. You go home at night and feel like your insides are turning out. You feel badly for such a good guy that is such a great person.”

On Tyler Hansbrough’s final shot of the game:
“Well we like to think that it is a jump-hook, but it is not. Shotput, jump-hook, Hansbrough Special, whatever you want to call it, but our goal was to come down and spread and try and use clock and try and go in to him inside. We went to him inside and, needless to say, he delivered for us and made a big basket.”

On the depth of North Carolina’s team:
“Ty Lawson was our starting point guard, and we do not have him. Bobby Frasor was the first sub at the point guard early in the season and the first sub at the two, and we do not have him. Q (Quentin Thomas) gets three fouls early, and Marcus Ginyard sprained his ankle and then played the last twelve minutes of the Clemson game and toughed it out. He played the point for us for a long, long period. I am extremely proud of how tough our kids are. I am not extremely proud of how we handle the ball and those kinds of things, but that is a tough bunch of kids in that locker room.”

On North Carolina’s lack of rest and the upcoming Virginia Tech game:
“We have certainly had no rest. We lost last Wednesday to Duke, and I do not care what anyone says, that affects you. Then to get off to such a bad start Sunday and have to dig deep and end up winning the Clemson game after two overtimes. Then to turn around less than 48 hours later and play up here, we have to get some rest. Virginia Tech has a whole week to prepare for us. I would like to have a whole week, but we do not, and whatever we have, we have to take because we planned the schedule.”

Junior Forward Tyler Hansbrough

On Laurynas Mikalauskas’ performance in tonight’s game:
“He just came in and gave [Virginia] a boost. It seems like Mikalauskas brings more energy than anybody on the team. I think that’s how he really helped. He may not produce a lot offensively, but he comes in there and does what his team needs him to do.”

On how UNC has handled its recent close games against Duke and Clemson as well as the injuries on the team:
“It’s tough for us. We didn’t know if Marcus [Ginyard] was going to play. It just showed some toughness for us. A lot of guys stepped up and I hope we will keep on playing this way whenever we get Marcus [Ginyard] 100% and Ty [Lawson] back.”

Junior Forward Danny Green

On winning another close game:
“I think we’re growing as a team. We’re getting better and with people hurt, we started off trying to play even stronger. Just everybody is stepping up and getting stronger and playing together and not feeling sorry for ourselves. It just shows that we are stronger mentally.”

What is it that your team brings with you that allows you to win so many games on the road?
“Focus, energy, and intensity. Just natural intensity and matureness. We’ve all been here before and we’ve all been in other teams’ gyms. We’ve heard the crowds and everything they are going to say, so it’s not like everybody is shook up and not used to it. We just play it by our game; we don’t get rattled. We keep our poise and just stay with the game plan.”

On the impact of the recent close games on the team:
“It’s going to help us in the long run. I think it’s showing now how, down the stretch, in close games we always can come through and get the plays that we need, make free throws, and get the stops that we need. We’re still learning from everything that we do.”

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