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2010-11 Virginia Basketball Postgame Quotes
November 15, 2010
Virginia 74, USC Upstate 54

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On change in play from the first to the second half:
“I thought that they could get whatever they wanted on us in the first half. We were very easy to score against with breakdowns defensively. We were lackluster offensively. There wasn’t a sense of urgency and we were certainly out of sync. The team got hot and then got some easy ones. We sort of gave them what they wanted and didn’t impose our will at all on them from a defensive standpoint first, but even offensively. I think we just have to get it to Mike [Scott] and we just tried to force it in and they were loading up on him. We looked pretty stagnant and ineffective certainly in the first half. The second half was better. I think they hit some tougher shots in the second half and we started moving the ball, penetrating, and being more aggressive with better decision-making. We are certainly a work in progress and we have to keep battling.”

On the play of Billy Baron and Jontel Evans:
“Billy has been very solid. He has a nice feel for the game, a physical kid. I like what I’ve seen. I hope he’s a gamer and it appears to be that he is. He is certainly a threat from deep. He has composure. He doesn’t get rushed out there. He lets it come and got his hands on some balls which was important. Obviously he got his hands on some balls in the last game, stretching it with his shooting was big. Tonight he had a nice presence out there. Jontel has the heart of a lion. I love Jontel’s competitiveness. You can just see that. He wants to do so well. At times he’s trying to change the game defensively he might get caught trying to get a steal and get us an easy bucket and maybe they snuck some easy threes, but his heart and his effort are great. Offensively, he’s worked hard on his pull up shot, his shooting, and he’s so quick that he’s given us some good things. He and Billy have been out there a lot and I have two point-guards, which isn’t a bad thing. I’m really happy for Jontel because he’s certainly worked hard on his game and he wants it badly.”

On responding to opposing offenses trying to stretch the defense:
“I told Assane [Sene], ‘One of these games you’re not going to have to guard out at 25 feet.’ I think Assane in the second half – the way he was aggressive with that ball screen defense making the ball handlers go out helped us. He was very active. We had trouble with the guard-on-guard screen. They were spreading us out and when the guard-on-guard screen would happen, our guards aren’t used to helping as much for each other. They are used to beating screens a lot and they face cut us a lot and I think they got us really stretched out. Defensively we are trying to be on the ball and as active as we can, but when they’re out there we start inching closer and closer to our guys. They stretched us out. Ideally they don’t get to the lane, they don’t face-cut us, they have to hit contested threes the whole game, but we were stretched out and they ran us inside. They beat us inside and there wasn’t help to be found. Some of it was individual, on the ball defense that was tough. They did make some tough shots. I think when they stretch you out you can’t get lured into stretching with them. We did have trouble with their dribble handoff and guard-to-guard action. We were running into that stuff or not helping. That gave them some of the clean looks and they certainly shot it well. Dukes was five-of-five from three and he made some tough ones, but they were stretching us. “

On facing a six-game road stretch:
“Certainly the competition steps up. That’s no disrespect to the two teams we’ve played, but we will have to be ready. You can’t afford to come out sluggish. Will we be perfect? That’s probably not the case, but if you come out and you’re not alert or they’re getting easy baskets and owning you on the glass and you’re a little stagnant, it will be very difficult and challenging. We are going to learn a lot about ourselves coming up in the next games. This stretch is impressive for anybody. It’s a lot of road games, actually none at home, so it will challenge us but we will keep learning and try to prepare and see where we’re at when we go against some bigger bodies and some athleticism that will be a new thing to some of our players.”

On the play of Akil Mitchell:
“You can see his athleticism and his bounce. I think he did a good job defensively. He was kind of like Assane, showing on those ball screens. People couldn’t get by him. He got four rebounds in limited minutes. I like his athleticism. He really is quick to the rim. If he has it on the wing, he can put it on the floor and he is quick to it. He gives us some needed athleticism at the forward position. I was happy for him and anytime we can get experience for those guys, it is good for them.”

USC Upstate Head Coach Eddie Payne

Opening statement:
“From our perspective, we improved from the first game to the second game, which is usually the time you improve the most. We did a lot of good things, but we had a lineup in the game that caused us to give up 10 points in a matter of four minutes in the second half, from the 13:00 mark to the 9:00 mark. Perhaps that was my fault. From our perspective it was a good learning experience and a good game. Virginia also has a lot of young players. One thing that Virginia does have, and takes advantage of nicely, is a low post player in Mike Scott. At this point in time, he’s young and looks like he’s going to deliver. He’s a very mature and smart player. I think he’ll continue to get better but at the same time, they have a long way to go.”

On Virginia’s inexperience:
“From an athletic standpoint, Michigan and Virginia both have great shooters. They are similar teams, but the experience factor probably helped us a bit. We also played a bit better as well. We got deeper into possessions and we did things quickly tonight, which is something you have to do when you play teams that are more talented than you. I think in this situation, their inexperience helped us.”

On Tony Dukes’ success from the perimeter:
“Tony had a very nice game. He led us statistically and in hustle plays. He was probably our player of the game. His intentional foul on Billy Baron probably gave them some momentum, but he’ll learn with time.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Billy Baron

On first half adjustments:
“They hit some tough shots there in the first half, but we started to rebound in the second half. We have to lock down more, but we will work on that in practice this week and get ready for this upcoming road trip.”

On playing with Jontel Evans:
“I love playing with him. He gets it out and goes. We feed off of each other defensively. He can penetrate so well that I know he can find me and that really helps to open up our offense.”

On adjusting to the college game:
“I felt a lot more comfortable out there today. I still need to loosen up some more and I know that will come with time. I think this road trip will be a great learning experience for me as a player and for us as a team.”

Virginia Sophomore Guard Jontel Evans

On first double digit scoring game of career:
“It felt like I was in high school again, but that is not my focus. My main focus is being a leader and taking care of the ball. I want to really get the ball to my teammates and be a great team player.”

On playing with Billy Baron:
“He makes it easy on me. He is a great guard, all I have to do is drive and kick it out and he will hit his open shots.”

On tonight’s game:
“They came out and hit their shots, but we knew what we had to do. We had to come out and execute in the second half. We are a defensive team and we have to do the little things to win, which all comes down to playing great defense.”

Virginia Senior Forward Mike Scott

On energy tonight:
“We should always come out aggressive. But we were a little bit dead in the beginning and that allowed them to stay in the game early on.”

On upcoming road trip:
“It is all going to come down to how we practice. If we practice well these next few weeks, I think we have a great shot at playing well and getting some wins on this upcoming trip.”

USC Upstate Guard Sophomore Tony Dukes

On game:
“It was a big step from the other night [against Michigan]. We recovered really well. I thought we came out with a lot of intensity. We came out short in the second half though. They came out and hit some shots in the beginning, and we could never bounce back from it. But it’s a big step forward for us as a team collectively.”

On improvement from previous game against Michigan:
“Defensively, we were much more intense. Offensively, we ran our sets a lot more effectively, got a lot more open shots, and knocked down open shots.”

On number of fouls:
“There was a big size difference. They were bigger than us down low. We had to do what we could, but it was tough.”

On what team can take from performance against an ACC school like Virginia:
“We can take a lot from this game. It’s not all about the winning or losing. We actually take tonight as a win, so we can go back to practice and go back to Spartanburg and work on some things. You never know-we’ve got some more big schools and then we’ve got our conference play. We can do big things.”

USC Upstate Junior Guard Carter Cook

On game:
“I thought we played good for about 35 minutes, but they pulled away there at the end. They’re an ACC team. All of our games at the beginning of the season are against tougher teams, but I thought we held our own out there tonight.”

On improvement from Michigan game:
“We ran our stuff against Michigan pretty well-we just couldn’t knock down shots. Tonight we knocked down some more open shots, but it wasn’t enough.”

On what team can take away from the loss:
“I think everybody’s confidence is up. After we played Michigan-we have a young team-and a lot of guys dropped their heads, but we told them to keep on playing. I think tonight helped them a lot and helped us a lot as a team.”

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