UNC-Virginia Tech Postgame Quotes – University of North Carolina Athletics

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Barclays Center

North Carolina Tar Heels

Post-match press conference

Virginia Tech – 72, North Carolina – 59
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the head coach of North Carolina Hubert Davisstudent-athlete Armand Bacot. We’re going to continue and open the floor to questions.

Q Coach, the 9-0 run to start the second half seemed to put you on your heels and it was a bit difficult to recover. What happened during that surge and what are your thoughts on how your team didn’t recover there?
HUBERT DAVIS: We just – in the second half we had talked about halftime, just coming out strong on both sides of the court, just getting defensive saves, getting the shots we want on the offensive end, just doing a better job execution. I felt like in the first half, everything was difficult, everything was difficult, and we were all very encouraged to start the second half and try to turn things around. It just didn’t happen.
We made a few mistakes defensively. On the offensive end, we turned the ball around and didn’t get the shots we wanted, and they were able to capitalize. I really have to give credit to Virginia Tech. They played extremely well tonight, and they were the best team tonight.

Q Hubert, with Virginia Tech changing screens, I know they did in the regular season as well, what impact did that have on your team shooting 3 of 26 from three?
HUBERT DAVIS: Well, particularly in the first half, I felt like we had good looks from three. We just missed them. Then in the second half I felt a lot of our lines were challenged and forced. They were changing a lot. Their physique bothered us.

One of the things we talked about was attacking the basket by post or penetration. Because they were changing so much, we felt like we could attack the basket, score or be able to foul and get to the free throw line, and we weren’t able to do that either.

So at the start of the game, in the 16th minute, I said to the guys, okay, let’s calm down. I had the feeling that maybe they were a little nervous. Then there were parts of the game, maybe I felt like they were a bit tired.

But one of the things I said after the game was that I don’t want them to be discouraged, I want them to be encouraged. I know we are disappointed not to have played better and not to have won tonight, but for a month and a half, two months, I cannot tell you how proud I am of this group. I mean, I told them I remember that bus ride coming back from Wake Forest, and to think that at that time, this group, led by Armando, we won 12 out of 15. Just like a team, perseverance and fight, and I am proud to be their coach.

Q Sort of a three point shot, I know you were down I guess by a significant margin at the start of the second half. But was there a point where you decided to give up the three-point game, or was that kind of something you had to live and die at that point?
HUBERT DAVIS: No, I don’t think there was a situation to give up the three-point shot. We were just trying to get some good shots. It was just very difficult against the Virginia Tech defense to consistently get good shots. I mean, Armando was 9 out of 10 from the field, but it was just really hard to get the ball in to him. They did a great physical job with him, and as soon as they caught him, they doubled the team – and that was the first time they did that to us. In the previous two times, their double team came from the opposite side of the baseline.
So sometimes it’s disrupted us, and it’s something we’re going to learn from and grow from and be better when another team does it.

Q Armando, sort of in the background, can you tell us what it was like when they were coming in with the doubles? How difficult was it to anticipate where the pass was supposed to go or even who was coming to make that double?
ARMANDO BACOT: Yes, it was a little weird. It was more of a single double team from what I saw, just them coming from the baseline and then they sort of zoned in on the weak side. In the beginning, a lot of my readings, it kind of messed up my timing on passes and just because they did a good job on the weak side playing between two men. It’s a little tough, and I like going to the baseline a lot, so it definitely affected a lot of the things we were trying to get into.

Q Hubert, what was it about Virginia Tech’s four-guard formation that presented a challenge for you tonight?
HUBERT DAVIS: With their small lineup, there was always an opportunity where there was one of our big guys guarding their guards. And Virginia Tech is a little different in terms of where they were getting the switches, and their guards aren’t necessarily one-on-one, take you to the perimeter. Now Armando, now Brady have to protect perimeter players coming out of low screens and DHOs. These are things they don’t necessarily do a lot.

So it put us in a different situation, warned our big boys differently. So sometimes we had to be small, but I love Brady and Armando in the game, and so that little comp bothered us.

Q Armando, can you describe the disappointment of being eliminated, especially after playing so well in the last few games?
ARMANDO BACOT: Yeah, it was disappointing just because we came in with the idea of ​​winning the championship. But like the coach said, I’m still encouraged because we’ve done a good job all year responding to adversity. We all trust ourselves. We’re taking the next step and we’re just ready for the tournament. We will come prepared.

Q Hubert, you mentioned that you felt like the guys were maybe starting to get a little tired. Did you mean more in the physical sense with the fatigue and having to play a back-to-back game or more in the emotional sense of what the last week has meant for you guys, or a bit of both?
HUBERT DAVIS: No, it was all physical. Starters are playing big minutes, and back-to-back high-level games aren’t exactly friendly for starters who are playing big minutes. Also, the two teams we faced, both from an attacking perspective, have a lot of movement and don’t fire quick shots. So you play long defensive possessions.

So we faced two opponents of incredible quality back to back, our starters played big minutes. And those two teams, they’re probably the two worst teams we could ever play against because of their movement and how much, how hard you have to work on each possession. So that’s fair – but again, congratulations to Virginia Tech. They were the best team tonight, and they simply were.

Q Armando, you’ve scored nine points in a row and reduced the lead to 11 with plenty of time left. Then Mutts scored and Maddox had the game at four points. Could you kind of go through that streak, and how deflating was it to get that close to 11 points and then get it back up to 17 so quickly?
ARMANDO BACOT: Yeah, it was tough right now because we were trying to race. But Virginia Tech, I told ACC media earlier this year, I thought they were in the top three teams in the conference. I believe they are a tournament team. So sometimes when you play against good teams like that, they just shoot and respond well.

It’s something to learn, but hey, it is what it is.

Q Armando, you played with confidence throughout the regular season. Do you think tonight affects all of that, that confidence for the NCAA tournament, and how about the general mindset of you guys heading into this next part of the season?
ARMANDO BACOT: No, I don’t think it affected our confidence at all. They just played a great game. They made blows. It’s a tough team. It’s hard to beat a good team three times in a row, but we feel good where we are now. We’re ready for Sunday to figure out what we can play, and I feel like we’re in a good place.

Q Hubert, you’ve already mentioned a few things, but what else do you think Tech did better or differently in both regular season games?
HUBERT DAVIS: Well, I thought their bench was playing a lot better. I don’t know the exact stats, but in the first two clashes, even though Darius Maddox is an exceptional player, they didn’t really outclass us from the bench. So 30-6 bench points is significant. I don’t know if that was Maddox’s career high, but it must be close.

Coming off the bench with that type of performance, you said we got him down to 11 and he hit that game four out of three, he was really good tonight, and I thought that was a huge difference at Virginia Tech this time unlike the first two times we played.

Q Armando, you’ve had some great battles with Keve Aluma over the past few seasons. I was curious, is there anything specific about his skills that you’ve noticed that makes him a tough match down there?
ARMANDO BACOT: I would say he does a good job of drawing fouls. A lot of times that puts me in a difficult position guarding him because when I play straight he does a good job of using his body and fouls me. Also, so many wrong directions to give him the ball, like cross screens, and he can shoot the ball too. It’s very different to guard him than a lot of other players.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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