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March 11, 2020

Jim Boeheim

Buddy Boeheim

Elijah Hughes

Greensboro, North Carolina

Syracuse - 81, North Carolina - 53

JIM BOEHEIM: After the game in Syracuse, they just dominated us on the boards and their ball movement, they just got a lot of good looks, so the one thing we wanted to try to do tonight was to just shore up our defense a little bit better, try to make it a little bit harder for them to get open looks. I thought our perimeter defense was good tonight, and they missed some shots. I mean, that's part of the game.

Offensively Elijah and Marek got us off to a good start and we got control of the game early and just never let it up. It was a great win after what just happened not very long ago in Syracuse.

We've been resilient. We've bounced back. The teams that have beat us in Syracuse, we've come back and beat them on the road. But this was kind of like a road game.

But really proud of these guys. They played really well today.

Q. The announcement that tomorrow's games if they're played will be played without fans, what are your thoughts on playing in a potentially empty gymnasium?
BUDDY BOEHEIM: It's obviously for the right reasons, just trying to prevent this in the best way possible. Obviously it's a different feel. It's going to be much different. Our fans are great on the road, so that's definitely a setback. But we've just got to treat it like another game, the same thing, and we just need to play off our own energy, and it will take probably a little bit to get used to it, but just go out there and treat it like another game.

ELIJAH HUGHES: Piggy-backing off that, just bringing our energy. We have a great fan base on the road. They're really big for us, but this happens for a reason, this is a good reason and can't do nothing about it, just got to try to control the controllables and try to bring our energy tomorrow.

Q. I know you guys are locked in on the game, but how aware are you of some of the stuff happening throughout the day, the ACC announcing no fans tomorrow and even at halftime of your game the NBA suspending its season?
ELIJAH HUGHES: I found out the NBA suspending the series at halftime, and it's something, like I say, we don't control, but we've just got to come tomorrow, bring our energy. It sucks what's going on, and I hope they find a cure for this soon, but we've just got to control what we can control.

BUDDY BOEHEIM: Yeah, it's tough. I heard the news also at halftime, and it's a little, it takes a while to get used to what's really happening that the NBA is in a lockdown. We've just got to be as cautious as possible and really take this seriously, but it's just kind of keeping track with everything and making sure I'm aware.

Q. Elijah, obviously you got a chance to return to play in this tournament in Charlotte last year, but having this monster performance in such a lopsided win, does it mean anything for to you that you started your college career about 160 miles down the road in this state?
ELIJAH HUGHES: I mean, it's cool, I guess. I had a couple friends from my old school come and support me and watch me, and that was pretty cool. But it's just another game. Just going out there and doing what I love to do.

Q. I believe they got to within four at one point and I think it was a seven-point game late in the half and then you went on the 14-0 spurt late in the half. What got that started and what was successful for you there and do you feel like that took them out of it?
BUDDY BOEHEIM: Well, we just started getting stops and Bourama stepped up on Anthony and got a flagrant foul, which was huge for us. He hit two free throws. I was able to hit a turnaround, go up 11, and from that point on it was just a big momentum shift, and I thought we really took the game over. We were just getting stops, then Elijah operated on the offensive end and he had a big first half and then just played off him and getting stops.

Q. You guys enter tonight with a nine-game losing straight to UNC, first win in six years. What about that match-up was so difficult for so long, and what was kind of the prep heading into tonight that led to this 30-point blowout?
ELIJAH HUGHES: I mean, they're a good team, well-coached, they run good sets against us, they hit the glass, they run the court, and they're a good team. We came out today wanting to take it a little personal. They came to our home court and they beat us, and we just wanted to take it personal.

BUDDY BOEHEIM: Yeah, like he said, North Carolina is always a great team. Even this year they have the pieces and they always have a good rebounding team, one of the best in the country, so that's tough against the zone. We all have to help out and that's all we focused on today was getting to the boards, and we did a great job only losing by four. So just rebounding and getting on the shooters, not letting Cole Anthony get his looks.

JIM BOEHEIM: I think the main thing is I think five losses they had the National Championship team and a runner-up, so I think that's why we lost. They were good, really good, and we weren't.

Q. In the first game Cole Anthony really shot the ball well in the second half against you guys. Tonight he was pretty locked from the get-go. Do you change anything schematically to focus on him?
BUDDY BOEHEIM: Just staying out on their sets. They ran a scissor cut twice against us where the two guards are screening me and Joe up top and he got a three on one play and an alley-oop so we knew coming in we had to stop that, so just little things on him, getting out, not letting him get to his right hand and we did a really good job on him, everyone was locating him and we did a great job finding shooters.

Q. You've been around college basketball for 44 years coaching. How surreal of a moment is this for you right now with what's going on?
JIM BOEHEIM: It's really, really difficult. It's really hard. You know, I'm hoping as a coach and a former player that these kids get to play. But I don't think we know the depth of what this is. It obviously is not a good look, what's going on, what happened to the rest of the world and now come here. I just don't know how we keep people safe because if kids go home they're going to go out. They're going to be in the community. It's difficult. It's difficult to know what the right thing to do is.

I think that my hope was that we could play the games. This could have been our last game, but my hope would be for the players to get to play the games that they've worked so hard to get to where they are. Teams like Dayton who have come out of nowhere and just have an opportunity to really win a National Championship. You hope those kids get that opportunity.

Obviously we've got to be safe. We've got to do what's the safest thing. I'm not sure anybody knows yet from listening to everything. But I just hope as a coach that we can play these games.

We practice every day with nobody there, and we expect our players to go as hard there as they do in the game. And many times it's ironic, in the NCAA Tournament, we've many times had games in the first and second round where there's been almost no noise, little noise, very few fans. I just hope the kids get to play the games. That's all. They've worked hard to get here.

Q. I'm wondering, since you guys were the last game today, there was all kinds of strangeness going on, all kinds of reports going on about what's happening in your league and different leagues. How much did you communicate to your team?
JIM BOEHEIM: I slept all day, so I don't know. Didn't talk to anybody. I don't talk to anybody the day of the game. We have a meeting, we go over what we're going to do with the players, and then we come to the game. We can only control what we can control. They make -- whatever decisions are made, we're going to have -- we will obviously do what we're told to do. But a typical game day, yesterday we had a pretty good solid -- really good short practice. You know, the way North Carolina played against us in Syracuse, we had to make some unbelievable changes, and the players had to make some unbelievable adjustments in how they played. Really my only hope in this game is that we've played better on the road this year, and this was like a road game.

But the players just took the game over. Bourama was tremendous, as he was the last time we played Carolina. When we played in the Dome, Buddy and Bourama played well, everybody else just didn't have a very good game, and we didn't defend at all. But I thought obviously we defended -- they're a hard team to keep off the board, they attack our zone as well or better than anybody, and we just did a better job. A lot of it was Bourama and Quincy and Marek were really good. Marek we wanted to get him isolated in the beginning, get him to the basket against their big guys, and he did that and got us off to a good start. Then Elijah got going. So we got a great start, and then we were able to keep it up, keep going.

But it's a really good win. Really good.

Q. You talked about how well Bourama played tonight. He's really been good over the last five, six games. What are the little things or specific things he's doing to make him better?
JIM BOEHEIM: You know, six games, seven games I gave him a couple hints, and I should have told him those things earlier, right? No, he just started playing like that. I don't know what happened, honestly. You know, when he was a freshman, he was hurt, he really had pain. But for some reason he had some pain-free days, and at Pittsburgh he had 17.6 rebounds, another game like that and then the rest of the series he was hurting all the time. Same thing last year. So this is the first year he's been healthy, in the summer he was really good and I really expected him to do what he's doing, 12 -- 10 points, 10 rebounds. I figured that would be the low end. And he was like five and five. Part of it was foul trouble. He was five rebounds -- five and a half rebounds in 20 minutes. If he can stay in the game, he's going to get eight or nine. And he's staying in the game now, and he's just moving better, playing better. I think he's a really good player -- I mean, I think he can really get a lot better. Marek helps him because he finds him. They're a good combination together, and I think they're getting better all the time. And I think Quincy is getting better. And those guys are young guys that can come back. And I think our guards are getting better. So I think we've shown improvement and we've shown toughness. We just have for some reason on the road -- I mean, we had Clemson beat the whole game and we had Florida State four down with a minute, two minutes to go. We win those two games it's a different season. It's not that easy to win when you're a young team on the road in any league. We had an opportunity, until Elijah got hurt at Miami, to win our seventh league road game, and they've done a great job. We're young. We started out, we were terrible in the beginning of the year, and we've gotten better. We have gotten better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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