"I think he knows that I honor him," said Williams, a former Smith assistant. "And knows that for 64 years I've tried to make him proud. That was just a way of Roy Williams saying, 'Thank you.'"
Williams said the team walked through the play Friday, but only after making sure no one was around to see it.
"I wanted it to be something very sincere from our team ... to coach Dean Smith," Williams said. "So we didn't want anybody sending out a daggum Twitter or fax or whatever the dickens we go on today. I wanted it to be something from my team to Coach Smith and that worked out great."
Hall of Famer Smith, who retired in 1997 as the winningest coach in men's Division I history with 879 wins, died two weeks ago, but this was UNC's first home game since his death. Smith was known for using the Four Corners to spread the floor and work the clock, which ultimately helped lead to the implementation of a shot clock in college basketball.
UNC also held a pregame moment of silence for Smith and will hold a public memorial service for him Sunday in the campus arena bearing his name.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.