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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On Sylven Landesberg not playing due to injury…
“Sylven was kneed in the thigh pretty severely in the Miami game. He’s been doing a lot of treatment. Today at the shoot around, he wasn’t moving around very well. Before the game, he really wanted to play. We watched him, put him in the back gym, and tried to make him cut hard, but he couldn’t even move. He labored. Thinking long-term, I don’t want him to aggravate it. He was dying to play and he knows we need him, but he just couldn’t go.”

On the loss…
“In a game like this, for us to make it competitive, we needed a number of guys to contribute. I thought we shot quickly to relieve pressure, and I thought some guys were a little nervous. It was frustrating not to have a few of those shots go in. We are not playing well, there’s no doubt about it. All I know is that we need to keep working hard, try to get guys healthy, and try to find some positives from the efforts of guys like Assane [Sene] and Jontel [Evans].”

On Virginia’s offense…
“There were some pretty good looks that just rattled in and out. I was worried about [Duke’s] pressure, but I thought we handled their pressure ok. When you’re not making shots and your top scorer is out, that becomes a problem. Besides Jerome [Meyinsse], no one was lighting it up, really. We just have to keep battling and trying to find ways to win.”

On the team’s effort…
“Assane, Jerome, and Jontel, those guys really battled. They laid it out there. I liked their effort. If there is something positive to take out of this loss, it was the effort of those three.”

On whether the team’s fast start has affected the team’s expectations…
“I would hope not. That’s the disappointing part, that we got off to a great start, and now it has slipped away. That’s the hard thing. At that point when we were 5-2, I was very thankful for our record but knew we had a long way to go, and I still see that. It is disappointing. I wish we were finishing stronger. But we play Wednesday, and we have a couple of practices to prepare for that.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Jontel Evans

On seeing more playing time
“It is tough to get ready to play when you usually do not play a lot of minutes. The coaching staff always tells us to be ready. Today I had a feeling my number would get called, and I just wanted to go out there and try my best.”

On playing without Sylven Landesberg
“We had the mindset that we could still win. We stayed positive. One player was down, but we still had to fight. We still thought we could win this game.”

On guarding Duke Guard Jon Scheyer
“It was a great opportunity. He is a great player and is very intelligent. He does not get rushed, and it was a great opportunity to play against him.”

On finishing the season
“Like Coach Bennett said, whether we win or lose these last two games, we are still a family. We will stick together to close the season out.”

On improving for next season
“I feel like I can be an impact player depending on the type of off-season I have. The coaches always tell me to work hard on my shot during the summer, and I am ready to take the next step.”

Virginia Sophomore Center Assane Sene

On playing without Sylven Landesberg
“He did not play today, and it seemed like we really needed him. It was really hard for us, but we have to keep working hard. We have to play hard every time we are on the court.”

On rebounding from the losing streak
“We have to keep responding, and the way to do that is hit them back. We have to show them that we are still the same team we were when we were winning. We are having a tough time right now, but the only solution is to work hard.”

On playing Duke
“They are all good players. When you play against players like them you have to play hard and give everything you’ve got. That is what I was trying to do. I tried to help my team win.”

Senior Forward Jerome Meyinsse

On leading the team in scoring
“I was just trying to be aggressive. Every time I got the ball I tried to attack the rim and finish strong.”

On more playing time as a senior
“It is a great feeling. It shows that my four years of hard work have paid off. I get better every game, and it has been a great experience.”

On approaching the end of his career at UVa
“I try to play every game like it is my last. I fight as hard as I can. I do not want my career to end, but when it does I am going to go out fighting.”

On struggling team play
“We are having some breakdowns on defense by allowing too much penetration, and on the offensive end I think we are not knocking down open shots. We practice those shots but can not seem to hit them at game time.”

On the upcoming matchup with Boston College
“We are going to have to defend their flex offense, which we have had trouble with in the past. If we can do that and score on offense, we have a good chance at being successful.”
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening remarks…
“I thought our team played very well defensively throughout. [Virginia] obviously missed one of the best players in the conference with Landesberg not playing. Sometimes when that happens, you have to be careful that you do not just assume you will win because it is going to be easy. [Virginia] has kids that can really shoot the ball – they have not been shooting it well, but they have during the season. So I thought defensively we did a nice job against them and kind of a workman-like performance, and won. We are pleased with the win.”

Empathizing with Tony Bennett’s position in his first season at Virginia…
“Well he has won a lot more than I did early on. Tony is classy, smart, and he is perfect for Virginia. He is just a really good coach and a good man. He wants to build a program. So whatever decisions he is making – I am not following them on a day-to-day basis – just knowing him, I know that the decisions he is making are not just short-term, they are long-term. They are principled decisions, value-based decisions. Because that is the only way to build a program, is on that type of a foundation. He will do that. His kids could not hit a lot tonight and then his best kid is out, but in this losing streak they have had, they could have won two or three of them. It is not easy, but as long as he has the team effort of everyone here, it will work out – because it is a great school and it has some really good tradition, and he is terrific. So I do not see how it won’t work out, it just won’t work out overnight.”

On Jon Scheyer’s diving effort in the second half…
“That was a huge play. I am glad you pointed that out. And you need that – he is probably the kid who has played the best for us all year. You get excited when you see your guys making those plays. We were able to play some guys a few more minutes than we have, and that was good. I thought the Plumlees put together another good game in a row, Andre [Dawkins] defensively was good and he hit a couple buckets. We have to keep building, trying to get better as the regular season comes to a close.”

On the possible No. 1 seed and whether Duke is under the radar at the national level…
“[The No. 1 seed] is not even on the radar. It is not talked about for one second – we have Maryland and North Carolina coming up. I think over the years, after we have had some success, we are not talked about when we are good, it is only when we lose. It is not that we are under the radar, it is just that the radar only shows up when we get our butts kicked. I am not a paranoid person, but I have just learned that over the past decade, that that happens. People know who we are – we are not a great team, we are a very good team that has won a lot of games. Maybe that is why we do not get that type of recognition. We are not going to just go out on the court and [have the other team say], ‘wow, they are going to kill us.’ We have to work together to make it happen, and that is why I like my team so much, because they have done that all year long.”

On being a teacher…
“I am more interested in the full body of work. If my student really gets it at the end, I will give him an ‘A.’ I believe that – some people get it right away – I do not want to get too philosophical here, but if I am a teacher [I just want my kid to] get it at the end. Someone who only gets it at the end might have had to work a heck of a lot harder than someone who got it at the beginning and did not have to show up for class.”

On resting players in between games…
“I rest my guys in practice. Playing time in games is really irrelevant. It is what you do in between games. Our practices this week were, team-wise, no more than 50 minutes and then we had some individual work for some of the guys afterward. Every practice we had this week was under an hour. That is how you take care of your guys. Guys want to play – our guys are not tired. That is what I have learned over the years.”

On talking about winning the regular season…
“Yes, we talk about the regular season. Absolutely, that is what we should be talking about. We did not talk about it until we got eight wins and we thought were qualified for the NCAA tournament with eight and twenty and our strength of schedule. We just take it in order. So we have a chance to win a regular season championship and we should go for that. So that is on our plate, definitely. The game [at Maryland] on Wednesday will be a big time game.”

Duke Senior Guard Jon Scheyer

On attacking loose balls…
“That’s just a play that I would make at any point in the game, whether it’s a 20-point game or a 2-point game. That’s just something that Coach [Krzyzewski] has always talked about. Playing a loose ball is just as big as scoring a bucket. That type of play is a play that I love to make.”

On Duke’s dominance throughout the game…
“It was a good effort, obviously. They were missing [Sylven] Landesberg; they weren’t at their best. But for us, I thought we did a good job. Our defense was pretty good. We gave them some open looks, though, and they’re a team that is capable of hitting those. Overall, we did a good job, though.”

Senior Forward Lance Thomas

On the upcoming week where Duke will face Maryland and North Carolina…
“It’s going to be hectic. We have a crazy week ahead of us, but we’re ready for it. We’ve worked to get to this point and we want to finish it off right.”

Junior Guard Nolan Smith

On how Duke matches up against other top teams such as Kentucky and Kansas…
“Those teams are definitely very good, but we feel like we can play with anybody in the country. We defend; we rebound with anyone in the country. Athletically, we definitely feel like we can play with anybody, we have a very confident group.

On Duke’s upcoming matchup with Maryland…
“We’re definitely ready for it, we’re a very confident group. If we keep playing like we’ve been playing, with defensive rebounding, our offense is going to come from that. We’re ready for the test…There’s a lot at stake in this game, coming up, and I’m ready. The team’s ready.”

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