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March 11, 2020

Roy Williams

Garrison Brooks

Leaky Black

Greensboro, North Carolina

Syracuse - 81, North Carolina - 53

ROY WILLIAMS: Okay, guys, it's a very difficult time right now. We didn't play very well, and I certainly didn't coach very well. Syracuse came out early and made shots, and we got in foul trouble in the first five minutes. There's not a lot to say. I mean, I think that we played them 10 or 11 days ago and played extremely well, and they may have had more incentive to come back or they may have just played better and coached better today.

But we didn't get off to a good start, and then we made a little run to try to get back in the game, and it was a four-point game, and then we just -- everything we touched turned bad, turned badly I guess is better English. They made shots. We couldn't make a shot. And we came out in the second half and tried to get more involved and got the ball inside three of the first four possessions and scored, and then we lost the ability to get it in there either by not making the right pass to get it in or the big guys not moving as well.

And again, I've got to do a better job of coaching, and I didn't do a very good job of coaching this game. That's the bottom line.

Q. To either of the players, what happened during that 14-0 run late in the first half? What caused it, and how much did that take out of you guys?
GARRISON BROOKS: They ended up getting a lot better shots that they wanted, they forced us to take a lot of bad shots. I think we turned the ball over a couple times in that stretch, and they took advantage of our mistakes.

LEAKY BLACK: We got in foul trouble and started turning the ball over and they started capitalizing on that, and we just dug ourselves into a hole and just couldn't pretty much dig ourselves out.

GARRISON BROOKS: I don't think it took a lot out of us. It was just the time that we struggled, but I don't think that we quit from that time, but it was just -- we took a blow, but I don't think we quit after that.

Q. Garrison and Leaky, it seemed like with some of the foul calls early, the team kind of got frustrated, and as the game kind of got out of hand, that frustration grew, especially there late. Was that a challenge kind of keeping those emotions in check?
GARRISON BROOKS: It's tough, especially when you see calls like that don't go your way. The officials made the calls, we just have to live with it, but I think we could have controlled ourselves a little bit better, especially with our frustration, and I don't think us fussing at the refs and crying and whining will help eventually any of those calls, it only makes it worse for us, so hopefully our players that were whining and complaining learn from that.

LEAKY BLACK: We just have to learn how to play defense without fouling pretty much. We can't leave it up to the refs, and our job will be simple pretty much.

Q. What can you learn from a season like this? What can you take from it, and how do you get better because of it?
GARRISON BROOKS: What I take from it is you can never quit. You're never down, you're never really out. But we dug ourselves that hole in our season, but I think we can just take a lot from it, just perseverance and just always being grateful that we're able to do what we love. I'm thankful to be able to come here, I play basketball every day under Coach Williams, and I enjoy it. So just taking advantage of stuff like that and just coming to work hard every day. I think sometimes in our season everyone didn't come as hard as they should have, come as hard to work as we should have, and as a leader I think that I have to do a better job motivating everyone to come to work every day and come with our hardhat and lunch pail to show that every day is meaningful and every day means something to us.

Q. Roy, this is clearly a frustrating end to a frustrating season. Did you feel at any point during the course of the year you kind of got a glimpse of the potential of this team?
ROY WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought -- needless to say, I thought we'd have a better record at the end of the year. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what our record is going to be, but I try to evaluate our team, and I thought that we could be better.

Things didn't go very smoothly for us. You know, the Oregon game, it was really at that point I said, we've got a chance to be really good, and we never got that feeling again the rest of the year. And you know, it was a -- Garrison and Cole and B-Rob probably are three statistically, in everybody's eyes, the three best players. We didn't have those guys together but 10 or 11 times, and some of those like B-Rob at Gonzaga just played in the first half and never came out in the second half. But those are all excuses. There are reasons to us that went through it, but they're also excuses.

I didn't find the right buttons to push. I mean, even today it's just -- I got them together after pregame meal and before we went over the scouting report and talked to them about what's going on in the world and told them things are changing, things are changing with this tournament and the whole bit, but let's just get it out in the open and see what questions you have because I wanted just to really focus on the game. Evidently that didn't work, either. I felt like that I'd take two steps and one of them would go forward and the other one would go back just immediately. Or I'd take one step forward and two would go back. I told them in the locker room, I'm as lucky as you can be. I get to coach. That's all I've ever wanted to do. Right now it's not fun. It has been a difficult year. But this is what I want to do.

I didn't see this coming tonight, and so that's another way I made a mistake. I should have prepared them differently. I've did more soul searching this year than I've ever done because I've been so lucky, but bottom line is that Syracuse beat North Carolina tonight and Jimmy Boeheim did a better job than Roy Williams did. Those things aren't easy to say. I have a great deal of respect for Jimmy. I think he's one of our great coaches, but I didn't have my guys to play as ready as he has his guys.

Q. Speaking of what's going on in the world, as you put it, during the game the NBA suspended its season. Is it your belief that college basketball games should be played moving forward knowing that the pros aren't playing?
ROY WILLIAMS: I don't know any of that, so I'd hate to make an evaluation, but this is a very serious problem. You know, last night I made a joke about how it had frustrated me because they said old people and it was 60 and I'm 69. But this is the most serious problem that I can remember in our country that there's no answer for. You know, the stock market is going crazy. Well, let's just see if you can do some things. But this is a virus. This is the possibility of people getting very sick and dying, and it's something that in my mind is more serious than anything I can remember, and I'm way older than most of you guys. I remember when I was little that people were preparing places for you to go and hide underground because of nuclear weapons, and that was not a very comfortable time, and I was really little. But I know my mom was really, really scared.

But this is something that you can't see, and this is something that -- I used this statement last night. We have very intelligent scientists and doctors and people that are in charge of this kind of thing, and the American people have been very resilient over the years, and I think we'll come out of this thing, but this is a scary time period. But I don't want to try to get in and evaluate what should or shouldn't be done with college basketball. Again, we have very intelligent people that will make the right decision. I just got my rear end beat. I don't know that I can evaluate anybody doing anything.

Q. From a basketball perspective, what point of the season was the most frustrating period for you, and did you learn something about yourself how you sort of found a way to navigate through that process?
ROY WILLIAMS: Tonight. First time in my life, I felt sort of hopeless. I couldn't find any cures, couldn't find any solutions. You know, and I've lost before, Jiminy Christmas. We've had great teams that have lost before. But tonight wasn't much fun.

Q. Like you said, it's been a tough season. How do you mentor and learn the experience for yourself and mentor the kids through the pressure of playing for a North Carolina team?
ROY WILLIAMS: Well, I told them that what you have in life is you have a lot of challenges. There's nothing more fun, guys, than being on a team. There's nothing more fun than being willing to make sacrifices towards a common goal. There's nothing more fun than doing something with somebody else. And that's called putting a team together. And now the ones that are leaving are going to be challenged later on in life because they're going to be putting another team together, and that's their family. I told them that the preparation that they put in every day for those kind of things are extremely important, and our preparation for this game didn't work, so learn from that. Learn from the love that you have when a team comes together, and learn from the sorrows that you have when you don't step up. If you felt like you gave in too much tonight, learn from that a great deal because you can't do that in life, as well.

You know, that sounds philosophical, but I really believe that everybody is better off if you play on a team and share things and learn things about yourself. I'm old-fashioned, but I love being on a team. And I think that's pretty neat.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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