March 9, 2006
ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament
#7 Virginia 60, #10 Virginia Tech 56
VIRGINIA COACH Dave Leitao
LEITAO: I’ll repeat what I said to the team with about six or seven minutes to go. I said that this game was going to be won on guts, and true to form, it was. We didn’t play really well, but we were able to tough it out. We bent in a couple of situations but did not break. Thank goodness we have these two guys (J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary) because they played their hearts out as they have all year long. J.R. continues to play lights-out basketball, not just offensively by scoring – he made some really good plays for us – but what goes unnoticed is his floor game. He played terrifically like that. And Sean is not at full strength, but still is one of the gutsiest guys I’ve ever met. He didn’t let that get in the way of playing as many minutes as he played and being a major contributor in the game. As I’ve said, we had to get other contributions. I thought Laurynas (Mikalauskas) gave us that today in his energy, his rebounding and getting to the free throw line, which we really, really needed at real critical times in the game.
On starting Mikalauskas today
LEITAO: I just wanted to have a little bit more of a physical start without getting him in early foul trouble. That’s why I pulled him out early with one foul. I didn’t want to have him sitting there for the rest of the half. I decided to start him a couple of days ago, again just to give us a little bit more of a physical presence because (Coleman) Collins, although he hadn’t played as well as he’s capable of in the first two games, I thought he might have a breakout game and I wanted to prevent that.
On what you have to do against North Carolina
LEITAO: Obviously we wanted to get through tonight because if we didn’t there would be no tomorrow. We played them well up at our place and really laid an egg down there. I told the guys after the game we didn’t have a lot of fun doing anything up there and tomorrow if we can promise each other one thing, it’s that we’re going to have a lot of fun and see what happens. You can throw all the good things or all the bad things you’ve done during the season out the window and now it’s possession for possession. You win the game because you’re better for that day. You don’t have to be better for a month or better for a week, you have to be better for that day. We’ll try to get some rest and be better for tomorrow.
VIRGINIA JUNIOR J.R. Reynolds
On being team leaders
REYNOLDS: We try to be positive and tell them that we’re going to get a stop or a basket. We try to get them to believe in us and as a team. If we need a basket then they know that me and Sean (Singletary) are going to be able give it to them.
On Virginia Tech Rivalry
REYNOLDS: Every time we play them, they bring it.
VIRGINIA SOPHOMORE Sean Singletary
On being team leaders
SINGLETARY: We are positive with them and tell them to keep a level of focus. We tell them to play with more heart than the other team and try to outlast them. Whoever plays with more heart will outlast the other one.
VIRGINIA TECH HEAD COACH SETH GREENBERG
GREENBERG: It was kind of like a microcosm of our season, that game. We couldn’t come up with a rebound when we needed to, we missed some opportunities from the free throw line, and I thought we were in pretty good shape in the bonus early. But, then we couldn’t seem to get back to the free-throw line.
I thought we played hard, I thought we competed hard on the defensive end, but we couldn’t make the play when we needed to. We had two great looks down the stretch. We had chances, but we just let the chances go. I always say that there is a very fine line and we were not able to cross that line today.
On Shawn Harris and the decision not to play him late in the game
GREENBERG: Shawn Harris was magnificent tonight. They went with a smaller lineup – three little guards – and it was harder to find a match-up at that time. He took himself out at the seven-minute mark and we had a good lineup on the court. Obviously, I think you want Zabian (Dowdell) and Jamon (Gordon) on the court. We thought that Markus (Sailes) was our best on-ball defender left in our lineup. When we needed to score we thought A.D. (Vassallo) was our best catch-and-shoot guy on penetration and kick. That was a situational substitution. If I was Kreskin and I could predict the future and knew he would make a play, I would’ve put him in.
On stopping Virginia’s Sean Singletary
GREENBERG: I thought Jamon (Gordon) did a really good job of keeping him in front and making him score over (the defense). I thought we had pretty good help on the ball screens. We didn’t do a good job on J.R. (Reynolds). He came off of screens, made some big shots, and we have to give him credit for that.
The game came down to two free throw situations where we didn’t rebound the basketball … They came up with two big rebounds and got extra possessions and that was like a microcosm of our season.
On the team’s emotion coming into the game
GREENBERG: I think that the stress of the season and the emotional tear on the season has left a lot of scars in that locker room right now. Some of our guys will now have a chance to grieve and they probably need that. Coleman’s (Collins) not doing very well right now and I think he needs that. He’s kept that inside him for too long. I feel good that he’s letting it out finally.
VIRGINIA TECH JUNIOR ZABIAN DOWDELL
On Virginia Tech not scoring down the stretch
DOWDELL: I think we did a good job. I think we had some wide open looks, and we just couldn’t make them. I think Jamon (Gordon) had a wide-open 3, A.D. (Vassallo) had a wide-open 3, and I had a runner down the lane, that we just couldn’t convert.
On Shawn Harris
DOWDELL: Shawn’s a great guy. He’s a hard worker. When he comes in the game you know he’s going to bring that toughness, and he gave us some big minutes today.