North Carolina vs. Villanova




2005 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship
Syracuse Regional


- For the 27th time since the NCAA field expanded to 64 teams, the 1 seed faced the 5 seed. In the 27 meetings, the 1 seed has won 22 times. (The last 5th seed to win was tonight in the Austin Regional as Michigan State defeated Duke 78-68)

- Tonights attendance was 30,916, setting an NCAA regional on-campus record. The previous record was 30,681, set in the 2000 East Regional semi-finals in the Carrier Dome.

- Tonights one-point margin of victory marked the second of the 2005 NCAA mens basketball tournament regionals. Last night Arizona defeated Oklahoma State, 79-78.

- Tonights one-point margin of victory was the first in Carrier Dome Regional history. The only one-point NCAA tournament game in Carrier Dome history was an opening-round St. Josephs win over Richmond, 60-59.

- For North Carolina this was its third Regional appearance at the Carrier Dome. In 1983, the Tar Heels beat Ohio State before losing in the Regional final to Georgia. In 1997, the North Carolina beat California and Louisville en route to the Final Four.

- For Villanova, this game marked the second time the Wildcats have been to the Carrier Dome for the NCAA tournament. In 1991, they beat Princeton in the first round before losing to North Carolina, 84-69, in the second round.

- For the eighth time, a 1 and 6 seed will face off in the Regional Finals. The 1 seed currently holds a 5-2 (.714) advantage. The 1 seed has won the last three meetings, the last coming in a Duke win over Southern California, 79-69, in 2001.

All Time 1st seed-6th seed Meetings (Since 1985)
1986 -- Kansas (1) 75, North Carolina State (6) 67
1987 -- Providence (6) 88, Georgetown (1) 73
1988 -- Oklahoma (1) 78, Villanova (6) 59
1992 -- Michigan (6) 75, Ohio State (1) 71 (OT)
1997 -- North Carolina (1) 97, Louisville (6) 74
1998 -- Duke (1) 85, Temple (6) 64
2001 -- Duke (1) 79, Southern California (6) 69

2005 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship
Syracuse Regional


-North Carolinas 67 points are the fewest it has scored this season in a win and the fewest since its 77-66 loss to Santa Clara in the Tar Heels season opener (11/19/2004).

-North Carolina overcame a four-point halftime deficit, the largest halftime-deficit the Tar Heels have overcome to win this year. North Carolina is now 4-4 in games when trailing at intermission.

-With its win, UNC improves to 30-4 on the year, marking the seventh time and the first since 1997-98, the Tar Heels have reached the 30-win plateau. Of the six previous 30-win teams, five reached the Final Four and three won NCAA championships (1957, 1982 and 1993).

-The Tar Heels now lead the all-time series with the Wildcats 9-4 and are 3-1 in games played in the NCAA Tournament. In the three previous NCAA Tournament matchups between the two teams, the winner has gone onto the Final Four. In two of the three previous meetings, the winner has gone to win the national title.

-With tonights win, UNC has advanced to the Elite 8 for the 21st time and the 13th time in the last 25 years.

-Raymond Felton finished with a career-high 11 rebounds in tonights win. Felton also fouled out for the first time this year.

-Sean May recorded his 16th double-double of the year and his 11th in the last 13 games.

-Sean May moved up to third on North Carolinas single-season rebounding list. The junior has 368 rebounds this year and moved past George Lynch (365).

-The Tar Heels are now one win away from advancing to their NCAA-record 16th Final Four and their seventh appearance in the Final Four in the last 15 years.

-The Tar Heels are 7-1 all-time in games played in the Carrier Dome and 6-1 in NCAA Tournament games at the Carrier Dome.

-Head coach Roy Williams is now alone in fifth place for most NCAA Tournament wins by active coaches with 38. Williams needs two more wins to reach fourth place (Jim Boeheim Syracuse).

2005 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship
Syracuse Regional


- Todays game was Villanovas third one-point margin of defeat this season (52-53 vs. Temple 12/4/04, 66-67 vs. #9 Boston College 1/19/05)

- Randy Foye set a new career best with 28 points; set a team record for the most 3-point attempts with 12; tied season-high 21 field-goal attempts; he was in double digits (11 points) in the first 4:39 of the game

- Freshman Kyle Lowry set a personal best with 18 points, breaking his record of 15 against Florida on 3/20/05; Villanova is now 2-1 when Lowry starts

- Coach Wright is now 0-1 vs. UNC

- Villanovas last loss was to West Virginia (in the Big East Tournament, 76-78) which will be competing in the Elite 8 after a win over Texas Tech last night

- Villanovas last loss to UNC was in 1994 when the Wildcats fell 66-75; this is the teams first loss to the Tar Heels in 10 years

- Villanova is 1-3 vs. UNC in the NCAA Tournament. and 4-9 vs. the Tar Heels all-time

- Villanova fell to UNC, 69-84, in 1991 at the Carrier Dome in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament., which is also the last meeting between the two teams in the post-season; Villanova is now 13-15 in the Dome

- Villanova is now 2-7 vs. No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, and 12-9 vs. higher seeds in the NCAA Tournament

- The Wildcats are to 9-2 on the season when the game is nationally televised

- Villanova is 13-3 vs. non-conference opponents

- This is Villanovas first loss in the Sweet 16 (since 1979 when the NCAA began seeding) in four trips (1982, 83, 85, 88)

- Villanova tied a season-low 7 assists for the game (7 vs. Providence 2/5/05)

Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright

Opening Statement: Obviously it was a great college basketball game, and it was fun to be a part of it. I am proud of our team and the season that we had, and, you know, we're going to learn from this one. We came here to win this tournament. I really believe that we were good enough to win this tournament. And we have got to learn what we need to do better, and we will, and then we will definitely look back on this season and be proud of what we accomplished. I'm very proud of these guys, all of our guys. It just, you know, it just hurts at this time.

Could you talk a little bit about overcoming Curtis not being in the game playing a physical team like North Carolina what were you going to have to do the beat them without Curtis? Well, we really, you know, like the guys said, nothing changed. That's something we talk to them about all the time. We really didn't play any differently than we always do. We did want to just be smart about pushing the ball up. We like to run. We were going to be smart about when we got opportunities we were going to take them, and if not, we wanted to make them play defense for a little while. And that was about it. You know, the reason the guys say nothing changes is that we try to talk to them all year about whatever the environment is, no matter what is going on around us, no matter who is hurt, there is basic things that are Villanova basketball that are always going to stay the same.

It looked at the end of the game, maybe two or three minutes left your legs were finally gone, your guys had nothing. How do you explain the last two minutes and you give yourself a chance to win the game? I think they were tired. I think Carolina was tired too. I think, you know, we had a couple of guys foul out. They did. I just think this team has great heart. I think they are in great condition, that's a big part of what we try to do. We also try to keep fresh legs at this time of the year. I thought that worked for us. And I think basically just talking about heart. You know, I think guys really dug down deep and that's something we talk about all the time. There always come as point in the game where the other team is tired, you're tired. Somebody is going to dig down deep and suck it up and I think our guys did.

You said earlier this week that you were rolling the idea of four guards, starting four guards. When did you actually come to that decision, and what was it based on? I actually asked Jason what he wanted to do. Because he had come off the bench all year and we thought about starting him and we knew he would play both ways. We knew he would play with Jason, three guards and four guards, so it didn't matter to me and he said he would feel more comfortable coming off the bench. So we just we went with it.

We've seen you lose many games this year on last second calls. When you hear that whistle after Allan drives in, what do you think? What are you thinking? Well, when I first heard it, I was happy. I thought we had a three?point play. And then when I saw it was a traveling call, really, you know, for a second there, you're mad and then you just have to go onto the next play. We had to press and foul. So it happens really quickly. You know, your emotions go high, low, and then you have to go on to the next play. So, and we have had a lot of those. It is amazing. I've never been through a season like this, but I really just think that's what sports are all about. Its mostly about kids learning to deal with this, in the right way, and I'm more proud of the way our players have handled all of these types of losses all year, all of these situations. And I think that's what college basketball is all about is; these kids learning to do that because it's going to pay off for them in life. And I wish they didn't have to learn it this way but I'm really proud of them.

Have you seen a replay of that and did you think that he traveled? I didn't. I haven't seen it yet. And, do you know what? I didn't think he traveled but it doesn't matter. You know, there were probably other calls during the game where we got a break. Again, that's just sports, you know. I feel like those things even out. Maybe next year we're going to get all of those. We didn't get any of those this year but maybe we well will. As I said, I look at all of these as an opportunity for these young people, our young guys to handle it properly and to make a positive out of it, and our guys do. And I think we're lucky at Villanova to get the kind of kids that understand that.

I know you touched on it before, but how similar was this loss compared to the one in the Big East coming down to judgment calls with just seconds left? This one wasn't, believe it or not, as bad. We actually had two this year. We had one against Georgetown and one against West Virginia where there was a call with .2 seconds left. We had two of those. And then this one so this one wasn't as bad. I mean, when I said bad, I mean believe it or not it wasn't as hard to take.

I asked you the other day about comparing your wing guys to Duke's wing guys for a reason because Duke's guys had given Carolina a lot of trouble. Did you feel with your quickness with your guys that you could really cause them a lot of discomfort? Yes. We have great confidence in our guards against anybody in the country. And I think we're very fortunate at Villanova to be, you know, in the Northeast where a lot of great guards. And we certainly have them. And when we go into any game, we just are feeling that our guards can create shots for themselves, and they can create shots for their teammates at any time. And that's a very valuable weapon.

You told the team nothing changes, but as you got into the second half, you still have a four or five?point lead. Did your thinking about how you were going to manage the game change? There was a point where there was ?? at the end. I was concerned about keeping us fresh, and making them play, making them play defense for extended periods. But there was that period where we committed five or six consecutive fouls that it stopped the game, which allowed us to remain fresh. But they scored, what might have been like ten consecutive points. I thought that was the back breaker for us because, you could feel it getting away you we had good shots we didn't make them. They came down and we fouled. We didn't use timeouts because I thought we got the stop and we got to talk during the free throw, and that's kind of, I think, where it got away from us a little bit. And all we had to do from that point was just try to manage. I think we just had to manage that, which we did a good job of, but it was that stretch where I think they hit ten straight free throws, and we didn't score and we got great looks.

Villanova Players

Allan Ray

If you could describe the play where you drove to the basket and you thought you got fouled and they called traveling. He kind of overplayed me, and I just drove to the basket, and I thought that the ref called the foul, but he called the walk, but, I feel we should have never put ourselves in that position anyway. I can't say that's the reason that we lost because of that one play.

You almost got that inbounds pass with two seconds to go. Would you talk about that play? I was reading Sean May's eyes while he was taking the ball out and it was almost down to like four seconds on the five count, and he lobbed up the pass in the end, and I kind of anticipated but I didn't really get any hands on it. And it went out of bounds but I pretty much anticipated that pass but I didn't get a good grip on the ball.

Randy Foye

Your coach said a moment ago that he felt that you were good enough to win this tournament. Do you feel that way and talk about your 28?point performance tonight and how big an effect that was? I thought that we were good enough to win this game. But we didn't, so I can't complain about that. But my 28 points don't matter because we lost. And the biggest thing is winning the game no matter if I had two points, I would be happy if we win the game.

Kyle Lowry

Kyle, how were you guys able to slow them down. You held them to more than 20 points below their season average and obviously disrupted their offense, even though you played very small against them. You know, the coaching staff did a great job in preparing how we were going to get back on defense, and how we were going to play them. And after we made shots, we recovered back to the rim. So, I mean, coaches did a great job in preparing us in practice to get back to the rim. And that's the only reason we stopped them because we got back to the rim and we played great team defense.

Randy Foye, Kyle Lowry, Allan Ray

For all three players, you guys obviously had to go four guards for a lot of the game. Did you feel like you were the attackers throughout most of the game is my first question and my second question is, people around the country who watched this game, what do you think they learned about Villanova tonight?

Randy Foye

We always wanted to be the aggressor when we're out there playing. We never want to be back on our heels and let them strike the first blow. We always want to be on the move. But, for people watching us across the country, I just think that they saw a team go out there and play their hearts out and give it all up for each other.

Kyle Lowry

Coach tells us nothing changes. Were always going to try to be on the attack. We're always going to play smart. We're always going to play hard together. You know, for the fans, that are out there watching us, like Randy said this team gives it up for each other. We just play for each other. Just go out and not prove to the crowd and the fans, don't play for them, you know. Just go out and play for us, for the Villanova and these 13 guys in these uniforms and the five coaches. Go out there and play for them.

Allan Ray

I just feel that as a team, you know, the nation got to see that Villanova is back on the map. Got to see a good group of guys that goes out and plays hard. Doesn't back down from anyone. And just a great family atmosphere. We feel like a family out there while we're playing on the court. And I just think that that's what the nation saw today.

Kyle Lowry

Kyle, coming back to start the second half, what was the mindset as you got ready to play the last 20 minutes? Twenty minutes of Villanova basketball. Just come out and play hard and together. Let's go out there and stay focused and when they make their run, just keep a positive attitude, keep a great Villanova attitude that we had the whole game. It was just go out and keep playing. Play hard, you know. Nothing spectacular. The coaches say, nothing changes. We just go out and play.

Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry

When the game ended, Allan and then Randy, the overwhelming sentiment in the building was booing. Some guys threw bottles on to the court, what did you take that to mean?

Allan Ray

It wasn't really worried about the crowd and what was going on. It was just, we knew that we lost, our time was over, but we felt that we played hard. We gave it our all out there. You know, we didn't give up. We kept playing hard. You know, we even put ourselves in the position to win out there at the end of the game. We just took that loss, just, I don't know. We kind of just felt kind of sad after the game, I guess. I don't know.

Randy Foye

I really didn't pay attention to anyone throwing any bottles the fans booing. I was focusing on my teammates when we were walking in the locker room to make sure that everybody had their head up and make sure that we were going into the locker room as the team and keep our pride up. And to know that we're playing for each other and not the crowd.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams quotes following their regional semifinal win over Villanova

Opening Statement: Well, needless to say, I feel as fortunate as we can possibly feel. It was a hairy game there at the end no question about that. On the play, Bill (Rafferty) told me that he clearly did walk. They always look like walks from our end when their players do it, but I can't say enough about our kids. Melvin (Scott) being able to come in there and handle the point during that time period when Raymond (Felton) was out, and Rashad (McCants) and Marvin (Williams) making free throws, Melvin making free throws for us. It was one of those times that basically, we talked about at halftime Coach Robins said, Let's find a way and that's basically what we did. It's late and I'm going to shut up and let you ask questions quickly.

No way am I trying to say that you could use this as an excuse because both steams had to go through it but how hard is it to prepare for a game that starts after 10:00? Part of it you answered because we can't use that as an excuse because it was that way for both teams. But it was difficult, there's no question about it. Sitting in a hotel room, we came over and shot around, we had two meetings. Marvin said today at, I guess his pre?game, maybe we should just play bingo. And I'm just ?? that's exactly what he said because it was hard sitting around there, but I don't think it had anything to do with the way we played. I think that Villanova losing (Curtis) Sumpter, I thought they were so enthused, they went small early, they were more aggressive to the loose balls. You know, the first possession on the defensive end we think we've got it and Raymond (Felton) just sort of casually gets it like he's going down to the end of the court and their guy hits it and it hits Raymond and went out of bounds but I think they were more aggressive to it than we were. And, you know I don't think that you can count the time of the game as the reason for that. But I think Jay (Wright) did a better job with his team today than I did with mine.

How did they slow you guys down? They are a good basketball team. We like to win 90s and 100s but the other team has something to do with it. They are very good and it is easy to see how the teams slow down in some ways because they take a lot of time on the offensive end of the floor and they kept getting offensive rebounds. There were three different times where we played defense for about 30 seconds. They got a rebound, we played for about another 30 seconds. And you slow people down with the way you play on the offensive end. I've never in my life thought it was any great statistic when the other team gave up a few points if they controlled the ball in the offensive end of the floor. They're good. I mean, they were 24?7 and only had one game that -- didn't have a chance to win within the last minute of the game. They give scholarships too.

What was your thought process in inserting Quentin Thomas, pulling him out after the charge and you what did you tell Melvin Scott when he walked back? You know, it's something that I've told him all season. It is not okay to turn the basketball over. It is not okay to not get your dang-gone boxouts and one play is extremely important. And I'm not going to pick on Quentin or anything but we practiced not flying in and running into people. And one possession, one turnover. I decided to go with the guy who had more experience and that was Melvin.

Is there a point in the first half where you got a flashback to like when guys like Mobley and Tyson Wheeler in past games had huge shooting nights and these guys were doing the same? They did make a bunch of shots early and I told the guys at halftime, I felt as fortunate as you can possibly be. We were really lucky. We were only down four, I think it was, yeah. And I felt very fortunate to be that way. And but no, I didn't have any flashbacks. I have got enough trouble remembering what happened this morning. What you're trying to do is as a coach is just coach the crap out of each possession, and we were trying to do that, we tried to get in the half. We had Raymond with two fouls, Marvin with two fouls, Sean with two fouls, we went zone six times and they scored eight points off it so that was a great decision I made too.

When does it get to the point where you realize it's going to be the game of attrition with fouls, how does that change the way you go about coaching? We did play more zone trying to protect some guys because most of the time you don't foul but Raymond's last two fouls were about as weird and I'm not saying anything about the officials, they were just weird fouls. You don't expect that, but we can try to play some zone to try to keep some guys in the game a little longer. But, still, I go back that one stretch in there where Raymond goes out and Rashad made a bunch of free throws, Marvin made a big three for us early in the possession or stretch and what you do during that time period is gave us the cushion and then, there was more of a panic after Raymond fouled out. When he went out the first time, there wasn't a sense of panic, there was a sense of calmness out there I felt. But at the end, we're making cross court passes, 30 and 40 feet, and at that point, it wasn't as calm as I wanted it to be.

Sean May

Could you talk about survive and advance? Every national champion or a lot of them have a game like this where they win, that they maybe should have lost or came close to losing. Talk about surviving and advancing. Coach said just find a way when we got in the locker room. First thing I said, it's all about survive and move on. Of course we would have liked to have won by 20. Everybody played well, we knocked down a lot of shots, holding them to 20% from the field, but it wasn't pretty. It was ugly. They made shots and everybody is here for a reason. It's all about finding a way to win. And we did that. And we're moving on. And we're going to break down film and find out the things we did wrong. We have a lot of positives to take from this because we're still playing.

What happened on that last inbounds play? Did the ball slip out of your hand or did someone not come back and meet it? When he tipped it out everybody was kind of just going back. I tried to throw it up and Allan Ray made a good play to get his hands on the ball but Jackie (Manuel) was on the opposite side. I thought it was too risky of a pass and I was about to get a five second call so luckily it went in our favor.

Rashad McCants

Could you talk about how you took control after Raymond (Felton) went down? It was kind of unexpected. I didn't think that Raymond was going to get five that quickly. Once it happened, I immediately knew that I had to take the ball handling into perspective and take the game over, drive in and get those guys in foul trouble early.

Did you feel like at some point either during the year or after the regular season that you would have a game like this in the tournament, that you would have to find a way to win, that you would have to prepare for this kind of game? Most definitely coach has been telling us all the games aren't going to be blowouts and we have to get prepared for groundout games where there's not going to be a 60-point game and we find a way to win and we did that tonight.

Coach Williams said that he wasn't sure whether it was a walk or not until he heard it from Bill. When you hear the whistle blow what are you thinking? I knew I didn't foul him. I felt like when he drove he wasn't expecting anybody to be there. So I just wanted to make a defensive rotation, without a foul, and just make him be as surprised as possible. And he didn't know what to do. So he traveled. I knew if it was going to be a foul call that it was probably going to be one of the worst calls of the game. I did think that it was a travel at that point. I didn't wait for him to tell me. When he blew the whistle, I was hoping that was what he was going to call but I didn't know.

Raymond Felton

Can you assess how Melvin (Scott) played after you went down? Melvin did a tremendous job. He stepped up to the plate, got the job done and knocked down big free throws. He took care of the ball down the stretch. He did a wonderful job. That's how deep our team is.

What did Villanova do to slow down your break? I would say they slowed down the break but they did a good job of getting all the guys in the paint where we couldn't get any penetration. I think we bothered them a bit by keeping them running the whole game.