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Postgame Quotes
Virginia 78, NC State 60

Virginia Head Coach Dave Leitao

On Virginia’s defense:
“At the very least for this year, if not for the previous two, for the first 20 minutes that was as good a defensive display against very talented players as we’ve had. To give up 18 points and to get that many steals and turnovers was pleasing. Our hands were all over the place. We were pressuring the ball without fouling. We were putting a lot of pressure on the interior guys. We were rotating on the backside pretty well. We did a really good job of being in the right position without getting caught and having to foul.”

On the second half:
“What happens with a lot of teams is that mentally you let your foot off the gas pedal a tad, and they started going inside and made it a little more interesting, but overall to win is very pleasing, and it shows that our practices over the last 10 or 12 days have been better.”

On Sean Singletary’s defensive ability:
“He has the tools to be a really good defender. He’s got quickness, he anticipates well, he can go laterally extremely well. But in order for that to happen (be a great defensive player), then he would have had to have a little less responsibility for other things. …He’s got to conserve himself a little and manage his way through 30 minutes.”

On the importance of Calvin Baker’s 3-point basket with 7:59, extending Virginia’s lead to 59-42, after Trevor Ferguson missed the front end of a one-and-one for N.C. State:
“I don’t know if that was a turning point because they were coming back at us. More than anything, Calvin had gotten tentative and we had a pretty one-way conversation about it. He might have passed that shot up, but Sean made a heck of a pass to him off of penetration, and as Calvin has done for most of the year, he put the ball in the basket. It gave us a little bit of a cushion, and it made the game a little more manageable.”

Sophomore Guard Calvin Baker

On whether the first half was the best Virginia has played all year:
“Definitely, especially on defense. We were active on defense. We had a lot of deflections and a lot of steals. Everybody knew his role. Coach Leitao said that was the best defense he has seen Virginia play in his three years here.”

On what caused the spark seen in the team tonight:
“We have been getting after it in practice, and that rolls over into the games. That is what Coach (Leitao) has been preaching to us all year, and I think that everybody is finally starting to fall-in.”

On the impact of the number of turnovers by NC State:
“We are a transition team, and when we get turnovers and steals, it gets us going on offense. As a result, we play good on defense.”

On the changes in the starting lineup:
“We are just doing whatever is best for the team. If me, Mamadi (Diane), Lars (Mikalauskas), and Jamil (Tucker) coming off the bench with energy is what is going to help our team win, then we are happy to accept that role. We are just trying to do whatever we need to do to win.”

Senior Guard Sean Singletary

On how the freshmen seem to be improving:
“They are coming out to play every day, and their practicing has been getting a lot better. Since I have been here, I have always been a big fan of practice. I think that if you practice good habits, then that should show in the game.”

On the fan turnout tonight:
“Everybody has been questioning us, and a lot of people have been counting us out. I really appreciate the fan support that we have had with us throughout. A lot of fans came out to support us, and that was big. The energy and the crowd were electric, which was great.”

On the team morale:
“Everybody really wants to win. I know that a lot of people on the outside say that our players are not playing that hard, but there is a learning curve. I think that our guys are getting it, and we are sticking together.”

On the importance of coming out strong in the first half:
“It was necessary because it is the end of the season, and we need to develop confidence and continuity. We did that in the first half, and even though we were not as good in the second half, we still got stops when we needed to.”

NC State Head Coach Sidney Lowe

Opening remarks:
“I guess it is very tough to win a game when you turn the ball over 25 times, especially in the first half with 17 turnovers. We did not take care of the ball, [Virginia] was very aggressive, they played really solid aggressive defense, and smart defense because they only had two fouls with six or seven minutes left in the first half. So they were playing very good defense, aggressive and active, and we turned it over 17 times. That was really the difference in the ball game.”

On turning around his team’s play:
“We have to be smart about it. We have to make some shots and we have to have guys not turn the ball over so much. I have said it before and I will have to stand up every time but we are not a running team. We cannot run. We do not make good decisions on the break, and with that we do not give ourselves an opportunity. We need to pull it back and execute our stuff and try to take advantage of match-ups and situations. I thought we did that well in the second half, punching the ball inside to Ben [McCauley] and just playing off of that we got wide-open shots. We just worked really off of two sets, and executed and that is who we are, and that is what we have to do. That has been my message, sometimes I cannot stand up quick enough to whistle and tell them to slow it down then it is too late and they have already turned it over. This team [Virginia] playing aggressively, they got their hands on a lot of balls.”

On Sean Singletary’s impact on the game, and playing against NC State’s young players:
“There is no question about it, that had an impact on the game. He is a very experienced player along with being extremely talented. That first half, from a defensive standpoint, he took us out of a couple plays we were trying to run just by pressuring the guys and being up on them just being aggressive with it. He can affect the game that way, from a defensive standpoint and an offensive standpoint.”

On Virginia’s defensive play against J.J. Hickson:
“They trapped him, they came down on him, they were sinking in on him. Give them credit, they obviously know where they are trying to go. But we have to be smart as well, and just kick the ball out, as we did in the second half. We are not patient enough yet at the beginning of the game to understand that teams are doing that and just kick it out to give our perimeter shooters a chance to make some shots at the beginning of the ball game. We do not seem to be experienced enough to understand that. We are trying to get it all in one swoop, and that is not the way you play the game.”

Forward Ben McCauley

On the loss:
“The past couple of games we’ve come out strong in the first half and I’m not too sure what it was. I’m really at a loss for words because we were really excited about this game, we had a great week of practice, and the team was ready, but we didn’t really execute. Coach has talked in there about executing and taking our time and not trying to force anything, and unfortunately we forced a few shots in the first half, didn’t play great defense and they got a lead we just couldn’t get back.”

On the high number of turnovers:
“That’s trying to do too much and not executing. We kind of rushed things, and as you saw in the second half, we need to take our time, go inside and really run our offense. We’re a pretty good team but unfortunately we didn’t do that in the first half and that led to turnovers and that led to their getting a big lead.”

Has this team forgotten how to win?
“It may seem like it, but we’re still trying to. We’re definitely trying to. As you saw in the second half, we’re not going to quit, and we’re going to fight back as hard as we can. I don’t think we’ve forgotten how to win, I think we’re just one step behind. We’re almost there. We just need to put two halves together and I think we’ll get ourselves some wins.”

Forward Brandon Costner

Is this team capable of turning the losing streak around?
“I feel like we are, but we just need to come out and prove it.”

What will it take for NC State to win?
“Everybody on board and everybody focused on what we need to do. Everybody coming to play.”

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