Virginia 70, Maryland 71
March 5, 2006
MARYLAND HEAD COACH GARY WILLIAMS
I thought our players did a great job the way we started out today with everything that’s going on around this particular game. To hang in like that–Virginia’s good and they’ve only lost once here–to Florida State in overtime and they just beat Carolina and Boston College here. We knew it was going to be a tough game–even when we got up 18 in the second half. To Virginia’s credit, Dave Leitao has really got a work ethic into his team and they just kept working. They didn’t change a whole lot. They worked and we got a little lull there and they got some momentum. When you get momentum at home, that lead goes quick and it really went quick. For us to hang on like that and win the game – that was big.
I think all of the first-round games in the ACC Tournament are going to be really difficult. Those will be some great games on Thursday. If you’re a basketball fan, that may be the best day. The teams are playing for a lot Thursday.
We were trying to do the same thing all day on defense. They (Singletary and Reynolds) are good so you’re not going to get it every time. We were trying to make them throw it to their big guys. Those two guys are a good backcourt tandem. When you look at them size-wise, they might not be that impressive as some. I’ve had a lot of little guys who were my best players and that’s true with Virginia. That’s an outstanding backcourt.
We played Virginia at Cole Field House the last game we played at Cole. It’s a great atmosphere to have all the former players back. We had a lot of our players back too. Just to have everybody there that’s a part of Maryland basketball, Virginia basketball with the heritage that you have in the ACC, there are a lot of teams that have been here a long time. We’re not a young league. That’s great for Virginia that they have a new place and great for us that we have the Comcast Center. This is a special day and it gets more special as you get away from it. I played the first year this place opened. The way I look at it, I out-lived this building.
VIRGINIA HEAD COACH Dave Leitao
I wanted to win for you [the former players and fans] and for our players more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life.
This group before you [the current players], I can honestly tell you, has worked as hard as any group I’ve ever been around.
POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE
It’s an extremely emotional time for me, both good and bad, to try and figure out the whys and the wherefores about today, and from a history standpoint of what being a basketball coach here means. If I never knew, and I thought I knew, I saw it before me all weekend. It continues to be and it will always be a tremendous honor to stand on the sidelines before a group of men who have put forth such great effort to make Virginia basketball what it is and what it will be.
I don’t think we’ve played as well from a totality standpoint as we could, but our worse fears are starting to come true in that the things that we’ve been preparing for and talking about were the things that cost us. I don’t think it was for lack of desire as it was that the body and the mind are not moving together collectively, top to bottom, as well as it should be. We’re doing it, limping to the finish line, because we’ve asked so much of these guys.
For a guy like J.R. to take a game and put it on his shoulders without his backcourt partner there is an example of how truly amazing it is to be around this group of guys.
(On difficulty inbounding the ball) We’ve tried to zero in on our execution. We did not execute on those two five-second calls, and we paid the price for it.
(On reasons for comeback) Two people: It was J.R. and it was Billy Campbell. There was one instance where Billy Campbell just pressured the daylights out of the ball and forced a turnover. I think he grabbed the ball away from Ibekwe, and that really energized the rest of the guys on the floor. And J.R., as I mentioned, put us on our shoulders offensively and stayed out of foul trouble, and I think got the building into it. We all of a sudden woke up and started to believe and chipped away and took the lead, but we didn’t maintain it down the stretch.