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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the Cavaliers’ defensive effort in the second half…
“I was proud of how we stepped up and defended. We were way too indecisive in the first half and gave up way too many points in the paint. We did not have a sense of urgency. At halftime I really challenged them hard, I said, ‘that’s not who we are or who we have to be.’ They worked a lot harder and were more together defensively in the second half, and I thought that with some of the guys being a little cold tonight, that second half defense won it for us. I like to see that, it was good how much they battled.”

On Sylven Landesberg’s lowest scoring game in ACC play, off-set by his nine assists…
“They are really stacking the lane on him, and at times that is why I went with Calvin [Baker] and Jontel [Evans]. I thought we had a good rotation and a little bit more of a threat from the outside. Sylven did a great job of making the next pass. He got guys wide open looks – he had nine assists, six rebounds, he made his free-throws – he was solid. I liked what I saw in him.”

On Mustapha Farrakhan’s contribution tonight, following some off-games…
“With our team, I wish I could always know which guy was going to be right. That is why I give guys looks in the first half to try to get a feel for what is going on. I thought he did a nice job defensively, and he hit two threes – those were big. He has been a little cold the last couple games and I was teasing him that maybe someone was leaving the door open on a couple of his shots. But when we got back he really worked hard tightening up his shot, and trying to really let the game come to him. Obviously he got the crowd going with that terrific dunk and he really energized us.”

“I thought he let it come. Sometimes guys will press if they make their first shot, but he really was patient. I thought he played within himself, and the looks he got, he took. He has worked hard on his shot these last two days – really hard – and it is good to see him make that. I thought he slid his feet really well. He is a nice weapon.”

On NC State’s points in the paint in the first half…
“They scored in the paint way too much. Sometimes we put our trap on and sometimes we did not, but we were indecisive. Either we came too late, or we trapped out too far on the floor. We did not have good rotations on the weak side, we had poor vision, we were just really reactive. Against good post players and good teams, you cannot be reactive. You have to anticipate, as we say you have to come in high and hard and close the door. Those things were really absent, and I was disappointed in that. We worked harder in the second half and clamped down a little better.”

On responding to foul trouble tonight and putting in Assane Sene…
“They had two bigs on the floor, and I was matching up with them on the glass in case we needed our trap. We can do it at times with Sylven but it is a little harder. I thought Assane did a good job against North Carolina in limited minutes with his size, and I thought that was the decision to make. We were obviously in foul trouble with our bigs and I felt comfortable going big. We needed to match up that way.”

On being tied for first in the ACC…
“The kids have responded. It is still very early, but the kids have responded and bounced back from a tough loss both times and have battled. It is a good place to be in, but by no means does that mean that we have arrived. I just want them to keep improving. I thought they won in a way today that they haven’t before in the second half. It was with our defense and with some of our key guys not shooting well, so that is a good sign. We won with some foul trouble and cold shooting, but the defense clamped down, and we will take it.”

On Jerome Meyinsse’s performance this season and tonight…
“He was a little out of sorts early defensively and offensively but he responded at halftime. That was good to see because I thought he was defensively settling behind. He was not in sync, and it has been a strength of his until now. He had a little fumble-itis a couple times on some baskets but he cleaned it up in the second half. He has given us a great lift, he really has – just as Will [Sherrill] and Assane [Sene] did, and Calvin [Baker] and Mustapha [Farrakhan] gave us a nice lift, too.”

On Tracy Smith’s game tonight…
“After he picked up a couple fouls we said we could do a few things to take advantage of that but he is a heck of a player offensively. They have shooters on the outside, and they were cold, fortunately, from three but he scores on you one-on-one even when you make him earn it. It is a little bit of a catch-22, so you have to hopefully gamble right.”

Virginia Senior Guard Calvin Baker

On second half play
“We could see that they were really flooding Sylven [Landesberg], so we wanted to execute our offense and let the offense score points. We did not panic, we were patient, we worked the clock, and we worked to get good shots.”

On Mustapha Farrakhan’s dunk
“His dunk was crazy. I walked up to him and showed him the goose bumps on my arms. We see him jumping in practice, but a lot of people do not know how athletic he really is. I would give him a 10. He actually did that to me over the summer. Maybe that was why I had goose bumps. I guess it gave me a flashback.”

On the win
“We got a big win against North Carolina, but we knew that North Carolina State is a good team. We knew we had to play as hard as we could to come out and get the victory. Now we have to put this game behind us and get ready for Wake Forest on Saturday.”

On a 5-2 ACC record
“I am really not surprised because if you look back at last year there were a lot of close games. Our team chemistry is so much better this year. Everybody is older, and we are more of a veteran team under good coaches. Everything is happening the way it is supposed to be.”

Virginia Junior Guard Mustapha Farrakhan

On his dunk
“I think that dunk gave us energy, and we were playing well in the second half. I have not seen it yet, but it felt great.”

On better play in the second half
“We have to try and play the full game. We had high intensity in the second half, and we just have to be mentally strong from beginning to end.”

Virginia Sophomore Guard Sylven Landesberg

On having more assists than points
“I was able to read the defense early and I was being aggressive on the offensive end. I forced some bad shots, but then I was able to adjust to the defense and use what they were doing against us.”

On breaking his streak of double-digit points
“I was told about it earlier in the week, but we got the win. That is all that matters.”

On Mustapha Farrakhan’s dunk
“It was nasty. I thought he was just going to lay it in, but then he just took off.”

On a 5-2 ACC record
“I would not say it is too much of a surprise. Every one on the team knew we were a lot better than we showed last year, and I think we are more mature with a year of experience in the ACC.”

“I just want to thank all the people who voted us to be in last place. Thank you for giving us a lot of motivation. I still have that preseason poll posted up on my wall, and I look at it every day.”

Virginia Junior Forward Mike Scott

On Mustapha Farrakhan’s dunk
“As you can see, the kid has hops. And he can also shoot. If he gets that confidence going, no one can stop him.”

On seeing Calvin Baker back on the court
“It feels good. He is a captain, a leader, and he has a lot of experience. Having him controlling the team is good.”

On the upcoming game against Wake Forest
“Personally, I do not think I was in the game mentally last time. We did not play good team defense against them last time. We just have to come out and play hard.”

NC State Head Coach Sidney Lowe

Opening Statement:
“I think that the difference in the ball game was the run that [Virginia] made in the second half when Tracy Smith came to the bench because of foul trouble. They made a little run and we had trouble scoring even when Tracy came back in the game. I thought Richard Howell did a good job of helping him but other than that we didn’t have much help. They hit big shots and we missed them. I thought we were playing well in the first half. They only scored 59 points when they average 71 so I would have thought we’d have a chance but our perimeter just didn’t play well.”

On his feelings going into the locker room at the half:
“We had a lead in the first half and we had a chance to stretch that lead – we didn’t do it. Towards the end of the half they made a little run and went into the locker room with the momentum and when the second half started Mike Scott started pounding the boards. Mustapha Farrakhan’s shots were big. We lost him and that is very disappointing. Once again, our perimeter guys weren’t focused and didn’t get the job done.”

On Sylven Landesberg’s nine assists but only seven points:
“He is a good basketball player. I certainly want to give our guys credit for holding Landesberg to only seven points. They did a good job on him but he still made the right plays. What makes him so tough is that he is big and strong and can see over the defense. He’s a very good basketball player. There aren’t many teams in the country that have a player that can control the game in so many different ways; if you take away his scoring, he’s going to do something creative for other people.”

On Virginia’s win at N.C. State earlier in the year:
“I absolutely think that their win against us in the first game of ACC play on the road gave them confidence. Any time you win on the road it should give you confidence. They have the mental toughness, discipline and desire to win. They play with intensity, they don’t make a lot of mistakes and are physically tough. They’ve had some great wins. Like I said, anytime you have a player [like Landesberg] that can do the things he can do with shooters all around him, it makes it tough. I also think that Mike Scott doesn’t look like a physical presence but he’s aggressive and active. He’s going to bang you and push you and hold you but I mean that in a good way – I wish my guys would do more of it. They all play well together. They play with a swagger and an intensity that you like.”

On their play in the second half:
“I don’t know what is going on other than that we are missing shots. We are missing layups and that just kills you. Perimeter wise, we’re not scoring. We knew that it was going to be tough but I thought that with some of the looks we’ve been getting, we’d be hitting more shots. We can’t rely on Tracy to carry us. I think Richard Howell also did a good job in there tonight but we still need perimeter play.”

On their strategy against Landesberg:
“We were just trying to watch him and let our guys know where the help was. I thought our guys did a good job from that standpoint. We really just wanted to let Landesberg see the entire defense and let him know that we were there.”

NC State Senior Guard Farnold Degand

On trouble with second half scoring…
“We’re just not making our shots. We’ve been having good looks, we had a few layup opportunities, we just haven’t been making them and it’s been hurting us down the stretch…It’s definitely frustrating after playing defense for a long period of time, you’re working on the other end to hold a team to low point totals and you go down the other end and you’re not scoring, so it’s frustrating. But we’re going to work on it and we’re going to get it right.”

On holding Sylven Landesberg to single digits…
“We just tried to make all of his shots tough. We didn’t want him having a few easy ones and get going. Once he gets going he’s hard to stop, so we just made a conscious effort to try to stop him from getting easy buckets and made him work for everything he got.”

On how to fix their scoring problem…
“We’ve just got to make our shots. We’ve got to come out with positive attitudes the next game and we’ve got to know that we’re going to make our shots. We’re going to try to look forward and not look back.”

NC State Freshman Forward Richard Howell

On frustration with low second half scoring…
“It’s very frustrating. Most of the time the guys are just looking for the contact and going up and finishing strong. We’re missing a lot of layups now; we’re missing jump shots. It’s something that we’ve got to just work on as a team.”

On the NC State guards holding Sylven Landesberg to single digits…
“They did a tremendous job, that was one of our main focuses coming on the court, just to stop Sylven Landesberg. He had some key points in the last game that we played against them. Our guards just did a terrific job.”

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