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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

Opening Statement…
“I want to say thanks to the fans that came in the weather. That was unbelievable, that meant more to me and to our team than you will ever know. I am beginning to understand more and more what Virginia fans are about – that they would come out and support us in that weather and cheer like they did, it was a home court advantage because of them. So I say thank you to them, and sorry that we did not do our part. We battled hard, there is no question.”

On the slow-down in Virginia scoring in the second half and OT…
“That was a hard-fought game, defensively there was a lot of slugging going on and there were not easy shots to come by. We got some good looks, especially at the start of the second half. We ran a little set to try and take advantage of their foul situation, and we got a little stagnant early and had some breakdowns. Sylven [Landesberg] was certainly terrific with his ability to score, but they are really stacking the deck on Sylven. When he is making that next pass we are getting some looks and some inside touches, but it was not enough. Then I look at the second-chance points – with what [Ishmael] Smith did and the way they got on the glass late in the game – that was the difference.”

On Wake Forest’s performance and whether he sees his team playing similarly in the future…
“Defensively, they are tough. I thought we were much better this time than we were the first time defensively. We played the way we needed to for the most part. We could not keep Ish [Smith] out of the lane late, and then we did not get bodies on people for their shots. I have seen them do it to everyone in the league. We did a good job on a few possessions to get the shot clock down, and then either a foul or a play was made late. I need to look at the tape to really look at it, but yes, what Wake did defensively and what we did for the majority of the game is what I envision. And then continue to try and get the good shots – you need to make some shots. To play defense against a team of their caliber, you have to win it with both [defense and shooting], there has to be some balance.”

On the defensive strategy to stop Ishmael Smith…
“We fouled him that one time, we were getting close to getting a stop. But when he did miss he just put it back, and they were climbing the glass. Again, we fouled him the one time but it was either going to the zone or fouling him. He is so clever and so quick. That flat ball screen gave us some trouble – we were good early against it, but they went to that the majority of the time in the second half. When Smith did miss, we did not capitalize and get our rebound. So it was a double-edged sword.”

On the last Virginia possession…
“We drew up a play, but our timing was off on it. We were looking for a three, and then if it was not there to attack and get a score. Will [Sherrill] made a great hustle play and lost track of the time and we did not have any time outs left. I was trying to use our time outs to get Jontel [Evans] in on defense to handle that ball screen because I thought he did a good job, and then Sammy [Zeglinski] in offensively. I wish we had gotten a cleaner look. Certainly we will learn from that. We did play better, and I told our guys, ‘keep your head up, it is about the quality,’ and it was a better performance. I really challenged them hard to not let them do what they did at their place, and I thought for the most part they did not. But the second half defensively was a struggle and we missed some easy ones, too.”

On five of seven losses by five points or less…
“You cannot leave points on the board. On the front end we missed a few free throws, we were 12-16, but I have said before that in order to win you have to eliminate losing. And what will get you beaten? Second-chance points, silly turnovers, giving up transition baskets, which we did not do, but looking at those second-chance points I see 18-5 and that hurts. The games we have won we made our free throws and have been solid and tonight we had a chance. When we were down we fought back – it was an emotional game. Mike [Scott] had such a great first half but they did a great job defensively and you have to earn what you get against them. For this game it was two pretty solid defensive teams going at it.”

On the differences between the first and second games against Wake Forest…
“I thought we were a little bit on our heels against them the first time. I think we were more aggressive in terms of how we attacked, and how we ran our offense to score early. Certainly some guys made some shots – that always helps. But I thought we had better positioning – they had so many inside touches on us the first time but we worked hard on that leading up to this game to make it hard for them to score inside. We did a good job until that action happened late with the ball screen. That was hard for us, but I told the guys this was much better and to learn from it, and keep being about quality. We have to play on Wednesday, this league is so good; it is time to learn from it and move on.”

Virginia Sophomore Guard Sylven Landesberg

On the loss
“Wake Forest is an elite team in the ACC, so we knew it would be a tough game no matter what. I think we came out, competed, and gave it our all. Unfortunately we just did not get the result we wanted. We cannot hang our heads on this one. We have to learn and get ready for Wednesday [at Maryland].”

On facing Wake Forest Guard Ishmael Smith
“He is so fast and is able to get anywhere on the court. He is very unselfish. He tries to give the ball to an open teammate on every play. He can score and find the open player. Everyone on the team can score, so he makes it really tough.”

On lower second half scoring
“They practice the same type of defense we do, so we know how difficult it can be to score against that. Plus, I do not think we were executing too well on the offensive end in the second half.”

On his final shot in overtime
“I probably could have pulled it out and got a better one, but I was afraid the shot clock was going to run out so I hoisted it up. I thought I had a pretty decent look and that I should have made it. I didn’t and we got a good rebound, but we just didn’t have enough clock at the end.”

On preparing for Maryland
“Maryland is a great team in the ACC. They are dangerous. We have to prepare for them like we would any other team. I think we will be a lot hungrier for that one than we were for the one we just played. Coming off a loss we just want to get back in the win column.”

On fan support in bad weather
“Even though we did not have a lot of fans here due to weather, I think the people who did show up did a great job. It felt like the arena was sold out at some points, so I want to thank all the fans for showing up.”

Virginia Junior Forward Mike Scott

On crowd support
“We had a great turnout. People came out, supported us, and gave us a sixth man.”

On improvements against Wake Forest
“We got more aggressive on defense and got more offensive rebounds. We just had some defensive breakdowns that hurt us at the end. Coach Bennett told us not to keep our heads down. We lost to Virginia Tech then went on to beat North Carolina, so we are looking towards Maryland.”

On playing Maryland on Wednesday
“We have to watch some film, hit the gym, and work hard.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Jontel Evans

On preparing for Maryland
“We have to bounce back quickly. We have to focus in after a day off tomorrow to get ready for the Terrapins.”

On lower second half scoring
“We moved the ball and took good shots in the first half. In the second half, it felt like we were going down and trying to hit the home run by taking a lot of quick shots.”

On guarding Ishmael Smith
“It is difficult. He is a great player with a lot of experience. He is quick, he has good vision, and he can slice through the defense. He does everything and has experience to go along with it. He is a good player and knows what to do on the court. This time we pressured him to see what he would do, but he did the same thing he did at Wake Forest so hats off to him.”

Wake Forest Head Coach Dino Gaudio

On the overtime victory
I thought it was a really hard fought ACC game – we are very fortunate to win. I thought Virginia’s kids played really hard, I thought our kids played really hard. Coin toss anyone could have won that basketball game, we are fortunate to win.

On how important Ishmael Smith is to the Wake Forest team
He is the straw that stirs the drink for us – we just try to put the ball in his hands at the end of the game and most of the second half for that matter – he just made plays. I am going to tell you something – Jontel Evans is as good a defender as we have had on Ishmael Smith in a long time. That kid can really guard, he is a really good defender.

On how important Wake Forest’s rebounding margin was
That is important for us -Tony’s kids are a terrific box out team. They don’t give out too many second shots. Tony Woods came in and gave us really good buckets off of second shots. We have our shortcomings, we are not a great free throw shooting team as was evident today – we are not a great shooting team, which was evident against Miami on 3-of-12 from threes. We just find a way to make up for that, it needs to be on the backboard – it needs to be with our defense and I thought those two things were strong points for us today.

Wake Forest Senior Guard Ishmael Smith

On the difference between this game and the first meeting with Virginia…
“We know that Virginia is a really good team, they weren’t number one in the ACC for no reason…I feel like we did a great job of playing pretty good defense and weathering the storm early because they got up eight a couple of times. But obviously, ACC you go on the road, it’s going to be tough.”

On the atmosphere in John Paul Jones Arena…
“The atmosphere was pretty good. It kind of bugged me, kind of made me mad when the announcer said that everybody could come down, because that made the crowd even more raucous. But it was a great atmosphere.”

On going into the overtime without Chas McFarland and Tony Woods…
“It always hurts when you lose the key components to your team. But we gutted it out and we got a good win.”

Wake Forest Freshman Guard C.J. Harris

On the overtime win…
“It just shows how tough we are. We came in at the end and played great defense, finished the possessions off of rebounds, and just did a great job of getting to the basket.”

On Wake Forest’s defense…
“We just locked into our game plan, focused in on the shooters. We wanted to make the shooters drive and make Landesberg take the toughest shots he could.”

On Wake Forest being 4-0 in overtime games…
“We’re tough and we’ve got four seniors on the squad. They’ve been through everything, so an overtime game is just another game for them.”

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