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Dec. 30, 2014

Recap | Final Stats | USATSI Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
Opening statement…
I am really happy with how we played. I thought our mindset was very good in practice coming into the game, and I thought we went out and played the game the right way. We had some turnovers in the first half away from the ball, those cannot happen. We had turnovers when we were throwing it to guys, and instead of just fending off with their bodies, they were grabbing the defender to try and keep him away; you cannot have those turnovers. I don’t know why we had them, we have not had them all year but we had them today. But again, 20 assists, that means you have guys playing through your structure. We can make the extra pass, and then obviously you can make all the extra passes you want but the ball has got to go in the basket for an assist to register, but we have some guys that are making shots.

On Shamiek Sheppard playing vs. North Carolina A&T…
It was great, I met with him an hour before the game, he went through practice two days ago, he went through practice yesterday. After shooting around today I went in to work out, I got a text from him, he said `I need to see you about playing’ and I said `give me thirty minutes.’ We met, and he was great. He said that he felt really good and he wanted to try and go. And I told him the original plan with him not being healthy untill the end of January, I was going to be against him playing, but with him having 20 games in front of him, that’s a lot of games. Now it is my job to integrate him into what we do using his talents with out disrupting our team and the chemistry that we have created. That is my job, I have to figure that one out. He has to get in better shape and he has to learn what we do better. So that I can take a smaller sample size of all the things we do and find a little package of things that we can utilize when he is in there. But the first thing I said to him was, `remember in June, when you were down, you thought the end of the world was coming; you see sometimes things go wrong and they are not as bad as they seem. You kept your head up, you got through a difficult moment and now you get to go home and play in front of your family.’ I am happy for him for that.

Junior forward Mindaugas Kacinas
On the post game flourishing…
It feels good, because we have been working so hard. All summer everyone stayed here, and in the preseason everyone worked so hard so obviously we got stronger. It is our time because everyone is stronger and now they are just hungry to play the game.

Freshman forward Shamiek Sheppard
On getting back to playing…
I am just excited to get back out there on the floor. Like I said before, I am surrounded by a lot of support and it has just picked me up the whole way. I am just glad to be here.

North Carolina A&T Head Coach Cy Alexander
Opening statement
We got off to a very poor start and that’s what we were afraid of. We wanted to get off to a good start, but South Carolina is a very good defensive team. Their defensive intensity took us out of anything that we tried to do. It was hard to simulate in practice how they take away passing lanes. We tried to use a lot of dribble entry action to get our offense started, but it took us awhile for us to figure out what we could do. We had a chance to cut into the lead and we had some missed lay-ups and some free throw opportunities. All we talked about in the locker room was to go out there with Aggie pride and fight in the second half. I thought we did that and made it respectable. They scored 44 and we scored 38. It was the first half that got us in the hole that we were in.

On South Carolina’s defense and rebounding…
South Carolina is a very big team. Physically they dominated us on the boards, 41-20. That was something that I was really hard on my bigs about because this is the type of competition that you have to learn to play against. It was like men among boys, so to speak.