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November 20, 2012

Rotnei Clarke

Brad Stevens


Butler – 82
North Carolina – 71

THE MODERATOR:  Coach, some opening comments?
COACH STEVENS:  Well, obviously, it was an entertaining game to be a part of.  As a coach you know even when you're up 30 or 29, whatever we were, there is enough talent on that other bench to make that up real quick.  They cut it to about 15 in two minutes.
We've got to get more sure with the ball in those moments.  That's one of those lessons early in the season that you get a chance to live through.  Now you know that you've got to play attacking the rest of the game.  You can't start pulling it out and doing those types of things that early.  We weren't in attack mode enough in the second half.
But credit them, when they turned it up a notch, it was hard for us.  What won the game was the defensive guards, I thought.  And the guy that made two late rebounds, Chase Stigall, those were fifth‑year senior plays at the end of that game.  We're proud of moving on, and we know we have a tough test, Chaminade or Illinois tomorrow.

Q.  Were you a little surprised to be up 29?
COACH STEVENS:  Just a little surprised.  Yeah, I mean, we've been fortunate.  We've been in that spot both ways before, and you never give up.  As a coach, you just coach till the end, and the players play till the end.  When you're playing a program like Carolina you know they're coming and their runs are coming next.  We didn't handle it great, but we handled it well enough that they never got inside six.

Q.  You had a really good first half.  Did you feel really confident after what happened yesterday?
ROTNEI CLARKE:  I just wanted to come in being aggressive again and try to get my teammates involved as well.  That wasn't all about me.  A bunch of guys stepped up, and we had, like Coach said, our fifth year senior, Chase Stigall hit some shots, and Kellen hit shots, and it was a team effort as a whole.

Q.  New Jersey obviously thrives in their transition game.  Really limited them in the first half.  Ended up with six fast breakpoints.  How were you able to do that and stop them there?
COACH STEVENS:  Well, we had pretty good offense except for our turnovers, and we got good looks.  That helps.  We were pretty diligent about one and two getting back, and three, four, and five ran pretty hard.  The two things that scare you the most about playing a Carolina team, number one, the transition, number two, the defensive glass, and we did a good job in both of those areas.
On short prep, too.  You don't have much time to prepare for them.  You've got to emphasize very few things, and those are the two we emphasized.

Q.  You have a giant killer lurking in the wings out there, Chaminade.  If they succeed and the Illini tonight, I know you haven't had much of a chance to look at them, what do you think that will be like going against the hometown favorite?
COACH STEVENS:  I love giant killers.

Q.  Come on, give me a little bit more than that?
COACH STEVENS:  That's what I've got for you.  I have a lot of respect for Eric and what he's done.  That was a great win yesterday.

Q.  Coach, those two teams that made the title game a couple years ago, what have you seen out of this group that maybe is similar from shot making ability or just chemistry that maybe could get you guys on another run?
COACH STEVENS:  Four games in.  It's so early.  What I see is a resiliency to respond from a very disappointing game last Tuesday, and also respond from a game 24 hours after you played your hearts out.  So that's a good thing.  You see a little bit of response.
In this game, you have to respond to get what you want.  But it's a long season, a lot is going to happen between now and then, and we're going to stay even keel and try to play our best in the next one.

Q.  Recent success like you guys getting bids into this tournament and now you're in the final.  How much does being in this final mean for you guys this year?
COACH STEVENS:  We've been fortunate we won the Diamond Head, which was a rush.  We won the Great Alaskan Shootout, which was a rush.  Won the preseason NIT, which was a rush.  Got a chance to climb a lot of those mountains.  If we get a chance to play for it tomorrow, there is no reason to leave anything in the locker room, that's for sure.

Q.  Your team was 12 for 25 from three‑point range, and it wasn't just one player.  Talk about the collection of shooters you have on this team.
COACH STEVENS:  Well, the guys that shot them were all pretty‑‑ you feel really good about those guys making them.  They're all really good shooters.  I thought Fromm had some good looks and he'll shoot better than 1 for 5 when he has those looks.  I thought Andrew was shooting better than two when he has those looks.  But if Kellen and Rotnei are open, it's got a good chance of going in.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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