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Postgame Notes
Penn State 69, Virginia 66

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On managing the end of the game without timeouts:
“We were just using offensive and defensive substitutions. I felt like the first half defensively we played the way we needed to and got good looks, but that four minute stretch in the second half, it was 14 or 15 points that they scored – that’s where we really hurt ourselves. I thought we were such a good team defensive unit in the first half and then that stretch to start the second half, they got to the rim, they got transition baskets, they did the things that we worked on every day in practice that are going to get you and make you lose. I think we got a little more individual oriented defensively to start the second half and that hurt us. Our strength has to be it’s us against the ball. That kid is very good; there is no question with [Talor] Battle and you can see why he is one of the better guards in the country. They can’t get to the lane as easily as they did to start the second half and that was tough. What I told the guys after is that it was a gut-wrenching loss but they fought, they scrapped, they didn’t quit. You have to keep building and when you see something like that, you have to say that’s a step forward in that area instead of just letting it slide. I tried to encourage them with that and then I said we will watch the film and address the areas that were breakdowns.”

On previous coaching experience in this sort of situation:
“If we could have won and sent it to overtime, then I would have said no (I haven’t experienced anything like this before). I wish we could have been in that spot. We dug the hole early. Like I said, that was the one thing I was pleased with. They didn’t die, they kept fighting and some guys stepped up and made some shots. We had a couple free throws that hurt us down the stretch that would have made it interesting, but I didn’t think it was going to get that close. Things lined up and maybe that was one of the first times I had been in it quite like that.”

On the 27-7 Penn State run in the second half:
“In those stretches, your defense just can’t collapse like it did. That’s where we get hurt. Offensively, I thought we got some pretty good looks and guys weren’t making them. Certainly we want Sylven [Landesberg] to get in the lane and make some plays. A couple guys took a shot here and there. It would be nice to be able to just put the ball in a guy’s hand and get it done, but I think Sylven has the ability with his chances to get in the lane, but some of his shots weren’t dropping tonight. Guys got some looks and didn’t make them. We were trying to go inside to Mike [Scott] a lot. I don’t know if we have to develop that or share the load. When the defense slides like that, there’s too much pressure.

On the effects of missed offensive opportunities on defensive play:
“We have had some stretches like that to start the second half in games. As we say, your defense has to hold you and if you’re not making shots all game, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense, but it can’t give up that many quick buckets. It was real good early, but we have a small margin of error and we have to keep trying to eliminate those breakdowns to give ourselves a chance.

On Sylven Landesberg from the foul line:
You want him at the line – he draws fouls. He is a marked man and he’s a second-year. He just has to continue to stay aggressive and I think that really stung him. We have to keep trying to give him looks. We tried to give him a couple post touches, get him some action going to the lane. He played a heck of a game against Cleveland State; I thought he was really complete and did the right things. It just was not dropping for him tonight but that’s part of being a young player and learning how to play through that. That’s why I want him to impact the game in other areas if the shots aren’t going down. Certainly defenses are stacking the deck against him but he’s trying to get some good shots for our other guys.

Penn State Head Coach Ed DeChellis

On the adjustments made at the half:
There weren’t any specific adjustments. We talked about guarding them a little better because they were running around us. We were playing against them instead of them playing against us. I think our defense got a lot better which fueled our offense. We got some hands on some balls and we were able to convert those into baskets.

On Talor Battle’s play:
He’s a really good player. He has not been shooting the ball well from three but he has been working on it extremely hard and I knew he would have a breakout game for us. We needed our best player to step up in a game on the road against a good team like Virginia and Talor accepted the challenge. He was just amazing. In the second half he wanted the ball so we tried to run some plays to get him the ball so he could catch and shoot. That opened up some plays offensively. We got some easy baskets and lay ups because of his penetration.
He’s a special player. He’s very competitive, always wants to win and wants the ball in his hands. Talor can make big shots and he fuels the rest of the team. He is a very talented young guy. He has won so many games for us. There is nobody else I would rather have taking the last shot than him.

On three-point shooting in the second half:
It all started with our defense when we opened the floor up. In the first half it was like we were trying to jam everything but once we opened up the floor, we got some layups and loosened them up a bit making things run a bit more smoothly for us offensively. We were able to get some open shots and knock them down but I don’t think it was anything specific.

On the difference at the half:
I felt like we were okay at the half. It was a couple possession game. I didn’t know if Mike Scott could go six for six again in the second half. They had made some contested shots and I didn’t think they could do it again. I was just hoping to get out there and score some points – I didn’t know we would score 48. We just needed to come back out in the second half and get a quick basket or two to put some pressure on them.

On Sammy Zeglinski’s play in the final minutes:
He just made shots. They banged one in early and then he made a couple real deep ones so give the credit to him. We were trying to guard him, he just made them from really far beyond the line. He made some big baskets for them to pull them back into the game down the stretch.

On winning three Big 10-ACC Challenge games in a row:
We won Virginia Tech at home, then at Georgia Tech and now at Virginia and we’ll talk about for a couple minutes but that’s about it. We have another game on Saturday. I think that coming into this environment and winning a nice game on the road is good. We’re just happy to have the win but we’ll move on.

On Virginia’s team:
I think Tony has done a nice job. They are going to guard the line and try to wall you. We didn’t do a good job of swinging it and driving it in the first half. We really concentrated – though it didn’t look like it – on trying to reverse the ball and swing it to the other side. We didn’t do a very good job at all. I think they’re getting the guys that can score the ball and that’s good for them.

Virginia Sophomore Guard Sammy Zeglinski
On Virginia’s comeback in the final minutes
“We were just trying to extend the game as long as we could. We kept sending them to the foul line to see if we could claw back into the game. We got a shot it just did not go down.”

On taking something away from the loss
“We got beat the first four minutes of the second half. I like the way we fought back though. We did not give up. We tried to pull it out in the end, it just did not happen for us.”

On guarding Penn State Guard Talor Battle
“We have to tip our hats to him today. He made some really tough shots and had 28 points in the second half alone. He did a great job for them. He is very quick off of the dribble and has a great stroke too. He can beat you many ways, and he gets to the foul line. He is tough for anyone to guard.”

Virginia Junior Forward Mike Scott
On defensive improvements
“I think we are playing better defense, even though we did not show it the second half. If we keep playing like we did at the end, we will be pretty good.”

On improving his baseline shot
“I am shooting with confidence. I have always been able to shoot those shots but did not have the confidence. Now I do.”

On adapting to Coach Tony Bennett’s style
“I think we have to play hard the entire game, which we have shown in past games. The beginning of the second half we did not play good defense.”

On fighting back into the game
“I do not think any of us thought the game was over. We just wanted to come back.”

Virginia Junior Guard Mustapha Farrakhan
On the second half
“We were getting some good looks, but some of them just did not go down.”

On guarding Talor Battle
“He was doing a good job. He did a good job of finding his teammates, getting to the basket, and he just had one of those nights. It is tough but we just have to get ready for Auburn.”

On second half defense
“The first four minutes we came out not mentally focused on the defensive end. That quick lapse got us in the hole, and it took us the rest of the game to climb back out.”

Penn State Junior Guard Talor Battle

On the turn from the first half to the second half:
We needed baskets. After I got the lay up, I hit a three. Once I had one three, we just kept going. That’s what we’ve done all season long.

On the run in the second half:
That’s the best feeling I’ve had in a long, long time. This whole week, I’ve sat and talked to coach. That’s what I’ve said. I wasn’t really having fun. Tonight I really had fun. I get to see how much things are different. The team, they feed off me. I’m just happy to have a smile on my face. At the same time, I’m happy we won our third straight.

On short possessions in the 2nd half:
Coach made a lot of great calls. We started getting stops and rebounds, and they were scoring transitions. That’s when we were at our best level. That really helped us get going. Timmy Frazier made some great shots.

On playing with Tim Frazier:
I already love playing with the kid. We’re going to try to get him back in here as much as possible. He’s such a great defender, and at the same time, he relieves a lot of pressure off of me because he attacks baskets, as well. He continues to grow.

On making a statement after losses at Charleston Classic:
It was big. We went down there and we were disappointed with our efforts. Then we had the Sacred Heart game. We still weren’t really clicking and playing well. Then we beat a quality team on their home court. Now, we’ve got to come out ready to play Saturday.

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