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March 18, 2012

Tar Heels talk Creighton win

GREENSBORO--- Following North Carolina's 87-73 NCAA third round triumph Sunday evening over Creighton in the Greensboro Coliseum, UNC head coach Roy Williams and players John Henson and Reggie Bullock spoke with reporters.

It was revealed after the game that UNC sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall has fractured his wrist, and his status is to be determined for Friday night's Midwest Regional semifinal against Ohio in St. Louis.

Read what Coach Williams and players had to say below:


Coach Williams Opening Statement:


Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. Kendall (Marshall) has a fractured wrist and that's all I can tell you. We don't know. He's got a fracture of the scaphoid bone of the right wrist. And you can ask any question you want, but I just told you all we know. We do not know anything else. So be intelligent and don't ask. We'll speak to the hand specialist tonight with Kendall and his family and we'll see what happens after that.

It was a great win for our team, great win for our kids, and it was a team game to say the least. We got help from everybody. But it's sort of overshadowed by what's happened to a wonderful young man right now. But we would like to answer your questions about the game, if you have any.


John, I guess you just went through something related to an injury, obviously the team rose up and dealt with the challenge. Could you talk about this obvious challenge that you guys got to deal with after such a positive game today?


JOHN HENSON: It's part of the game of basketball and Kendall's an intricate part of the team, to say the least. And I know it's going to hurt a little bit, but we don't know what his status is, so we're just going to keep praying for him and hoping for the best.


John, 13 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, did you feel any residual affects of your left wrist throughout the course of the game?


JOHN HENSON: Yeah, it was a little weaker than I wanted it to be, and I wasn't as strong with the grip as I wanted. But, hey, we got the win and that's all can you ask for.


John, what happened right before you got the technical foul? Can you just describe what was going on there?


JOHN HENSON: I thought the whistle blew and, boy, one of their players slapped down on my wrist three or four times. I don't know if it was purposeful or not, but I thought it was unnecessary and it got me a little fired up.

COACH WILLIAMS: Somebody ask Reggie a question. Don't make him walk up here and sit down with no need to be here. Reggie, how did you feel like did you on the back boards today? (Laughter.)

REGGIE BULLOCK: My coach expected me to get to the back board, so I just tried to make another part of my game other than just shooting, just playing defense and getting to the offensive and defensive boards, and I just tried to bring that factor because I know when I'm rebounding at the two guard position I know we're one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. And I just got to keep consistently bringing that throughout the tournament.


Reggie, going on to the Sweet 16 is pretty sweet. Is it even better seeing Duke lose to Lehigh the other night?


REGGIE BULLOCK: No, I can't even really answer that question. But we just are really looking forward to your next opponent. We're taking it one game at a time. We're worried about USF and Ohio because that's our next opponent. So all our team is getting fired up for that game, just getting ready to prepare for that game and finding out who we're going to be able to play.


Tyler took a real hard shot from Echenique and didn't retaliate, didn't even complain to the officials. Is he always so level headed?


COACH WILLIAMS: He's pretty composed out there. I don't think he's ever gotten a technical, I don't think he's ever even been warned about a technical. He's a very composed youngster, very focused on what is important and that's continuing to play. So I would answer the question by saying, yes, that's Tyler. That's what he is. We were worried a little bit about his foul trouble and tried to keep getting him in and out, didn't want it to get down to five minutes and him have four fouls, but he's one of the best leaders I've ever been around.


I know certainly the news of Marshall's bad now, but he's been playing so well. Can you talk about how well he's played the last really two or three months, the entire season, but particularly the last couple games?


COACH WILLIAMS: He's really played well. As you said, the entire season, the first half today, four turnovers. As a matter of fact, he had I think 13 points at halftime. I told our staff I would rather him not have the 13 points and not have the four turnovers. But he's been really, really good.

Second half he had zero turnovers. I think that for us, he's starting to look for his shot a little bit more because it's going in more. Earlier in the season, he didn't look for it as much because when he shot it it wasn't going in. You can look at the stats through the first 15 games and then through 25 games and then through 36 games, and you'll see that as the season has continued along, his shot has gone in more often and more often and his percentages have just continued to rise.

But you just hate it for the kid. My gosh, we have handled a little bit of adversity the last two years and I'm just so proud of my group. But he's been a big time basketball player for us.


Obviously you're happy with the two wins here. Is there anything as a coach that you didn't like that you want to improve going forward into next week end in St. Louis?


COACH WILLIAMS: Every coach is always going to have some things and I'm one of the worst at that because I want us to try to play the perfect game, and we're never going to do that. But in the first half, we get it to 15 and then all of a sudden it's they have a shot to make it six. Because we took bad shots and turned it over and took by taking bad shots and turning it over, now we're not picking up on the break and so the game went just like that.

But Creighton's a good basketball team and I feel very good about the way we played in spurts. I would like for us to be more consistent, yes, but have five guys in double figures and another guy nine, that's always the most difficult kind of team to guard and win the rebounding battle 44‑35, that's good and shooting 51 percent, we like those things. So there's a lot of good things to like too.


Henson mentioned that he thought that it was unnecessary the way he was hit on the wrist. Did you feel like there was a lot of that going on in the game today? Were you comfortable with what was happening out there and Kendall's injury I guess as well on that point?


COACH WILLIAMS: Well, it was a hard foul, but you know, I don't think there was anything else there. John's play I saw a glimpse of it at halftime because they were showing it over in the waiting room where the coaches were talking ourselves, but I just saw a glimpse of it. Kids get emotional during the game and I don't want to make anything bigger of it than what it was. It was just John didn't like what it was and he said something to the youngster and the referee did what he was supposed to do is he called a technical.


I know you don't know about the severity or the future extent of Kendall's injury. Did it happen on that play when he went down hard?


COACH WILLIAMS: Yes, when he was fouled on the play.


If he's not available who would be your primary ball handler going forward?


COACH WILLIAMS: It would be Stilman White or Justin Watts. When you go to the Sweet 16, it's supposed to be a lot more fun than this.Thanks guys.




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