Like most games the North Carolina men’s basketball team plays against non-power conference competition, the result was never really in doubt. Even when taking on a prodigy of Roy Williams in UNC-Wilmington’s head coach C.B. McGrath.
UNC trailed for a total of 22 seconds in a 97-69 win over the Seahawks, shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and scoring 34 points off 25 UNCW turnovers. Four Tar Heels scored in double figures, and UNC won the rebound battle 49-36.
Domination, in every facet of the game. So much so that the Dean Smith Center crowd never really got into it, save for a couple of non-basketball moments. Maybe it was the 9 p.m. tip, maybe it was the fact it was the last day of classes on campus, and the student section was feeling the stress. Or maybe it was just the fans never had a reason to feel a little uncomfortable.
The point being, there’s not a whole lot to get into from this game, basketball wise. UNC played better than they did last week against Michigan — against much worse competition tonight. Their defense was suffocating, shading ball screens better and utilizing their traps well — against a much less athletic team. The effort was better, Williams said, but not where he wanted it to be.
What was worthy of a second look, however, was Roy Williams’ press conference. It was absolutely vintage, full of rants, Royisms, and bit of good natured joshing of the media. A perfect LDOC gift for all you students.
Here were the top three moments
1) “WE WANT BISCUITS”
The head coach started with fire: “I’m going to try to get — who is it, Bojangles? — that gets the biscuits. I’m going to see if they can make a frickin’ deal if you hold the other team under 38 percent shooting you make dang biscuits. That’s ridiculous, the last 30 seconds.”
Some context: the current promotion from Bojangles is that if UNC scores 100 points, everyone in attendance gets discounted biscuits the next day at participating stores. Williams has long been an opponent of this promotion, because he thinks it encourages bad basketball at the end of games.
He’s got a point.
It didn’t look like the Tar Heels would have a shot at biscuits against the Seahawks, until the final couple of minutes, when the traditional “Blue Steel” lineup of KJ Smith-Brandon Huffman-Caleb Ellis-Shea Rush-Walker Miller scored six points in 45 seconds to bring UNC within three.
On the final possession, that crew did everything possible to get those final three points. Smith had a couple of reasonable looks, Huffman and Miller crashed the boards to pass out to the shooters. Rush air balled one from the corner, Smith got up one last heave, but no dice.
“The fans love it, and we just try to help the fans as much as we can. We really enjoy their excitement,” Luke Maye said of the rush for 100 points and biscuits. But, he had to admit the team can go a little too far in hoisting up shots at the end of games.
“I thought one or two of those are ok, but at some point, you've got to just take it out and hold it,” he said. “There's things like that where it's better when it goes in, and we just missed some shots at the end.”
Roy Williams would still rather reward defense, however.
“They shoot 35 percent, we shoot 49.3 because we took the four terrible shots in the last 30 seconds because we wanted biscuits,” Williams continued on nearly a minute into his opening statement. “Can we ask Bojangles if they do that? Alright, let's see if we can get biscuits for everybody if we play defense one possession a game.”
2) Broken printers, damn managers, and stupid questions
While technically, these were three separate moments, they all work together to make fun of a lot of different people in the room, so I’m putting them under one category.
Williams always has a stat sheet on the podium with him when he does these press conferences. While he has a general idea of what went well and what didn’t in the game, the stat sheet helps him be specific in answers.
There was only one problem last night: the stat sheet was cut off at the end of the box score by the printer, so you could only see the first digit of how many minutes each player was in the game.
Roy decided to have some fun with that.
“I can't tell you how many minutes I looked down there – Luke [Maye] played two minutes,” Williams said to laughter from the press room. “He set a record. He had four fouls and 11 shots in two minutes. That's a hell of a night for everybody.”
Williams also wanted to leave the press conference quickly, a product of the late tip and his players needing to get home to either get a good night’s sleep or start studying for exams.
“Anybody need anything? Y'all got enough crap,” Williams said.
There was a couple of questions from the gallery, most notably, one about why his team wasn’t on the court after halftime until about 30 seconds was left on the clock. Roy had a simple explanation why.
“We had a malfunction,” Williams said. “We've got printer problems, we've got defense problems, turnover problems. Damn manager can't tell it's five minutes left in the halftime. I didn't know how much time it was."
What’d you tell them during half time?, the reporter followed up.
“I told them we sucked,” William said. “I've got a real good thing for y'all if you shut up asking stupid questions.”
Vintage Roy Williams.
3. Putting the President on Hold
Williams said he spent three hours of his day on Wednesday watching TV, but not Sportscenter. He was watching President George H.W. Bush’s state funeral, and shared a funny story about his first interaction with him. Here it is, in the coach’s own words.
I have a rule that I'll never take a phone call or have anybody if I've got a player in my office. I've got a player in my office, and my secretary comes and opens the door, and I looked at her like 'what are you doing?'
And she said, 'Coach, excuse me, but former President Bush is on the phone.' And I said 'Well tell him we'll call him back.' She gave me this look, and she left, and ten minutes later I finished with the player.
So I went in there and said 'Was that really President Bush, or was it one of my nutmeg buddies.' And she said 'No! The secret service called, it's President Bush.' So I said 'Well, call him.'
He got on the phone and I said 'President Bush, I apologize, but I have this policy that nobody is important enough to make me stop meeting with my players, even a former president of the United States.’
He laughed and said 'I love that coach.' He said 'Let me tell you that Jimmy Nantz is the best name dropper in the world, he's the one that told me to call you.’ I said ‘well good,’ and he said ‘Besides that, can I get two tickets for my granddaughters for the game on Sunday.'
Jimmy Nantz told that story when the Final Four was in Houston (in 2011), not when we played. And they honored President Bush, H.W. and Jimmy Nantz told that story that 'yeah, you're so powerful, even a college basketball coach won't take your calls.
And he was so gracious, and he said 'I like that, I wish could've been able to do that as president. I said, 'You were president, you could've done anything.'