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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett Quotes

On Mustapha Farrakhan’s defensive effort
“I thought he was complete offensively too. Morrison had a career high with 31 points against Stanford and Mustapha took that challenge and made him earn as much as possible. He was constantly in front of him – making him make shots over the top. Certainly he made a few shots but most of them were contested and I thought the other players did a good job with helping Mustapha to plug the gaps.”

On Zeglinski’s three at the beginning of the second half
“When we got the ball rotated from the side to the top to the side it seemed like we were getting the kinds of looks we wanted whether they were rhythm threes, post touches, or creation off the dribble. When the ball got rotated I think we certainly got better looks. We missed some block outs early but I think we got a bit better defensively as it wore on. I always have to look at the tapes and see if they were just missing or if we were the cause for that and my hope is that we were a little better than the start.”

On cracking down on three pointers later in the game
“Hopefully it was that we got a hand in their face and were more alert. It was almost like we were daring them to shoot. We got stuck on some screens early and we had to be more alert helping so I think we fought through those screens a little better and got to shooters more quickly. We were peskier on the ball and that’s important in our defense.”

On Stokes hitting shots:
“We weren’t planning on him hitting them like that but then you just have to honor him and get to him on shots. Those things happen but again, they had 12 offensive rebounds – too many. I think that’s where Assane helped us because we didn’t have to trap the post. We could play a little more one-on-one in the post, stay at home on the shooters and rebound a little better in the process.”

On Assane Sene’s play in his first game of the season
“He was forced into duty because we had some foul trouble and we thought we needed him but I’m glad he could last that long. He had 13 minutes, eight points and seven rebounds so he was productive. I think defensively we did better because we didn’t have to double and instead we could spread out and make the opposing players make shots over the top.

“We have to get him to play with his feet instead of his hands and play in proper position. That certainly was the case. Our defense is such a position-oriented system that if you’re in the right spot you shouldn’t be reaching. That is why I got mad at Will a couple of times – he had some fouls he didn’t need to make. There is such a temptation to slap down on the ball so we work a lot in practice on making guys make plays over the top. We will be working on that with Assane but this is his first time and this is the fourth game of the season. He also didn’t get to scrimmage against St. John’s so I think being excited is a normal thing.

“He is very vocal. He is an energy player. Assane with his activity – whether it’s a blocked shot or a rebound – is a very good help defender. Obviously he adds some size and depth on the front line. I think his teammates thought he had a pretty clean block and shouldn’t have fouled on that but that is neither here nor there. He is a likable guy and he has a good voice on the team.”

On the Cancun Challenge and the possibility of facing Kentucky with a win over Stanford
“All we are worried about right now is Stanford. I’m pretty familiar with Landry Fields. He is terrific. I watched the Stanford game and they were a bit off in that game that I watched but they’re capable. They’ll be solid. They’re used to playing against good teams and hopefully we’ll play a solid brand of basketball. It is our fourth, fifth game in as much time so I almost feel like we’re an NBA team with our schedule so we won’t have had a lot rest. We still need to be energized when we come out though and I hope we continue to establish the right kinds of things – some soundness on both sides of the floor. At one point we were moving a little quick so that is when I took those time outs just to tell the guys ‘hey, let’s calm down.’ We also took a couple of quick threes that hurt us so when we play against bigger teams, we are going to have to bring it from the start. We can’t afford to be soft on the glass. We can’t be sluggish at the start. We’re going to need to play closer to forty minutes than maybe we have.”

On the progress of the team over the last two games
“I hope we’ve progressed. It’s baby steps. I thought we reeled them back in that second step because at first we were just exchanging baskets. We weren’t really making any stops and we had too many breakdowns. My challenge to them though is just don’t go back down to ground zero. There might be some setbacks but let’s make sure we just keep knocking and maybe eventually we’ll be able to push that door open. As I said after last game, there are steps and it will take time but this was a good win for us.”

On spreading out the ball among multiple players on offense
“The more guys you can get touching the ball and scoring, the harder you are to defend. I’ve coached teams that have maybe one or two dominant scorers but I think we can spread it out with this team. I think it is much better to have a balanced attack so I hope it will stay consistent. We are also using a more traditional lineup, going with two big guys, so we got a few more second chance points.”

On having such a busy schedule so early in the season
“It’s just the way it is. It is a lot of games in a short amount of time so our prep time isn’t as great. We really just need to work on establishing things because once we start playing we have to make changes on the fly. We just have to make the most of it. I thought the guys took a step in the right direction tonight. I think in each game we have made little steps and I think we will be tested now as we travel. I think the break will be nice but it’s also a good opportunity for us to go out and play against some solid competition.”

Virginia Player Quotes

Sophomore Center Assane Sene
On his return to action
“I am very excited and happy I could help my team win. I was so excited to come back and play with my teammates. It was really tough to watch them play while I sat on the bench, so I just wanted to come back and help my team win.”

On the fans’ response to his return
“We feel like the fan is our ‘sixth man.’ They always motivate us to do well, and I felt like I had to get out there on the court and pay them back. They motivate me and get me excited, so I want to pay them back by getting offensive rebounds and scoring.”

Sophomore Guard Sammy Zeglinski
On the team’s second half play
“We made some good adjustments, came out in the second half, and limited their points. We definitely turned it around at half time and we feel good about that.”

On the team’s overall play four games into the season
“I think we are playing well. Defensively we are making strides every game, and having Assane [Sene] back will only help that more. He helps cover up some of the mistakes by being in the lane and making some nice defensive plays like he did today. I think we’re going in the right direction. I think our shot selection was better today. We still need to get the ball moving and rotated inside-out, but I think we will just keep getting better.”

Junior Forward Mike Scott
On upcoming match-ups with other ACC big-men
“I am more hungry than nervous. We all want to compete, and I look forward to it.”

On his post play
“If I do get the ball I do not try and force any shots. I look to pass and take my time in the post. We do a lot of work in practice on my post game, and I just try and take my time down low.”

Sophomore Guard Sylven Landesberg
On controlling the offensive and defensive sides of the ball consistently
“At times it is tough and we might tend to get a little sloppy, but that is something we are able to turn around very quickly. A few words from Coach Bennett or in the huddle are all we need to turn that around. Knowing that we need to take better shots or move the ball around more changes our mindset for the better.”

On the return of Assane Sene
“It is great. He brings so much energy to both ends of the court, and he is a lot of fun to play with out there. You never want your man to get by you, but if he does, it is a lot better to have a seven-foot center to make it tough for him to make the shot.”

Junior Guard Mustapha Farrakhan
On his play versus Oral Roberts
“I was trying to be aggressive and find the open man. I knew that if I saw an opening I was going to pass it, and if I had my shot I was going to take it. Coach [Bennett] emphasizes taking care of the basketball and sharing the ball. It’s great to see that coming together in the game.”

On defense in the second half
“I feel like we picked up the intensity. We came out with good energy in both halves, but it felt like we were forcing them to take tougher shots in the second half. We executed better and made them run.”

ORU Head Coach Scott Sutton

Opening Statement
“I was really impressed with [Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett’s] team. When a new staff takes over, a new head coach, it takes time to implement his system and his philosophy. It seems like they really picked it up well. I think that Tony is one of the best coaches we have in this country and they play excellent defense. They put you on defense for 25 or 30 seconds and it eventually wears you down. I think that’s kind of what happened tonight. I am disappointed we didn’t make it more of a game; I really thought we would. Obviously the first half kind of went back and forth and then when [Roderick] Pearson went out, it really hurt our offense. One time I looked down and we were 2-15 from the field in the second half. We were probably fortunate to score 55 points.”

On Roderick Pearson’s injury
“I don’t want to speculate, but it looks severe. Could be a severe injury [to his] left [knee]. We had two kids go down the same day a few weeks ago torn ACLs in the same practice. This would be our second point guard to go down; two guys who I thought would have a chance to start, but injuries are a part of the game. You have to overcome them and try to move on.”

On Virginia’s defense in the second half
“I think they probably did a better job of trying to find Kyron Stokes. Going into the game he has really struggled shooting the basketball and he is a very capable shooter. I guess he hit his shot, got his own rebound, and stepped out and hit the three. I guess that got his confidence going and he was kind of in the zone for the next four or five minutes. They make it awfully difficult for you to get easy points and when we had opportunities, I thought we missed some easy shots early in the second half that could have gotten us some momentum and kept us in the game. Then we were bad from the free throw line as well. In a game like this on the road against a good team, you have to capitalize on all of those opportunities and we did not do that tonight.”

On the match up between Virginia and Stanford
“I think Virginia has a lot more weapons on offense: [they are] a lot more athletic, [they have] a little bit more size. That’s one thing – I thought their size hurt us tonight. [Mike] Scott and the big fellow who came in I thought played pretty well for his first time out.”

On the containment of Dominique Morrison
“I thought he got some good looks and I thought the other night against Stanford he made some shots early and we were able to post him up. We tried to do that again tonight and they did a nice job. I think it goes back to the type of athletes that they have; they have a little bit more size than Stanford had.”

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