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2010-11 Virginia Basketball Postgame Quotes
February 2, 2011
Virginia 49, Clemson 47

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On team’s defensive effort:
“Besides the offensive rebounds that we gave up and some of the turnovers, that was our best half-court defense we’ve played in awhile. When our defense was set, I thought it was very good. It made all the difference in the world.”

“There was good team defense. The guys were in the gaps, poking the balls away. There was a collective effort tonight defensively that was more sustainable than it’s been. I think it really stung after Wake Forest-the breakdowns we had from the defensive standpoint against them. We needed it tonight because we were turning it over at the end. [Clemson was] in desperation mode-really pressing up. You have to make some plays off the dribble then. We were in a little bit of trouble, but the defense was good enough.”

On game’s tight finish:
“I think we turned it over a few times, but they upped the ante with pressure. They’re a very good defensive team. I think they’re veterans, and they’re physical. When they decided to stay off Assane [Sene] and really press up into the ball handlers and zone some other areas, you have to make plays off the dribble. We had a little trouble doing it, but [Mustapha Farrakhan] made a little pull-up and Jontel [Evans] had the big bucket with the drive. We were trying to space the floor and get in there, but their defense was good and we were shaky at times.”

On team’s performance:
“We played a veteran team that I think is one of the better teams in our league. We have some limitations and that’s obvious, but the guys found a way to collectively come together and say, ‘alright, we’re going to do this together on the defensive end.’ Sammy [Zeglinski] got us off to a great start. That was significant for us. The wheels were wobbling a little bit at the end. We’ve been there, but tonight we got enough stops, hit a layup, hit a pull-up, and did enough things well to beat a good team. I’m proud of our guys for that effort. It was quite a scene at the end with all of that stuff going on.”

Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell

Opening Statement:
“I have to give a lot of credit to Tony [Bennett] and his staff. I thought they really had their team well prepared and their kids played with great energy tonight. I thought they were really ready to play. Their pace was outstanding early in the game offensively and caught us on our heels a little bit. It took us a while to get our legs under us. We were impatient offensively and took a few rushed shots early. We were never able to find a good rhythm. They doubled the post some and we had worked on it coming in, but missed a few threes out of it. We just didn’t handle that as well as we would have liked at times. We made a valiant run at the end to give ourselves a chance, but they made free throws and it wasn’t good enough.”

On the play of Mustapha Farrakhan at the end of the game:
“He’s a really good player making a big time play. We all have to have those guys doing that kind of thing; Demontez [Stitt] has done it for me this year but he had a tough night tonight and certainly Farrakhan hit a big one.”

On Jontel Evans’ defensive play impacting the play of Stitt:
“I’m sure that’s part of it; he’s a good defender, he’s athletic and strong – tough kid. I would give him some credit for that but I think there are some shots that Demontez would like back that he feels like he could have made. Certainly I think Jontel Evans did a good job tonight.”

On Stitt missing the front end of the one-and-one:
“It was bad luck. He’s made some big free throws for us this year and if you had told me to pick a guy [to put on the line] I would have probably picked him. It seems like that’s the way it’s going for us this year on the road. We are right there. We find ways to give ourselves a chance, but we were unlucky that one of our good free throw shooters missed the front end that could have tied it back up.”

Junior Guard Sammy Zeglinski

On aggression at the start of the game:
“Coach gave me the start tonight and I just wanted to bring an energy to the game, be a spark plug. So I came out a little aggressive. I was just proud of our defense, in the first half especially, holding them [Clemson] to 13 points. That was big.”

On Clemson’s second half run:
“We knew they were going to make a run. They’re a very good team, so we just had to keep fighting and stay the course. Obviously, we weren’t getting as many open looks, but defensively I thought we played pretty well. It was a battle on the glass and they kind of exploited us a little bit in the second half. Fortunately, we were able to get the win.”

On getting the win:
“It was just important to get a win, any way that we could. It wasn’t pretty in the second half. Offensively we struggled a little bit, but defense was our staple all night and we were able to pull out the victory.”

On preparation after loss at Wake Forest:
“Coach challenged us these practices before this game. Obviously at Wake Forest we let down in the second half and they out-scored us. It was too easy for them. We wanted to come in and be really locked in on the defensive end. I thought we showed a lot of heart and some toughness.”

Senior Guard Mustapha Farrakhan

On veteran heavy lineup:
“Sammy [Zeglinski] had been in those positions before, being sure with the basketball. It was just match-ups. Coach did a great job of just matching us up against the team.”

On win:
“We’ve been up at half in a lot of games, and then just let it slip away. The wheels were falling off, but we just tightened it up at the end. We were fortunate enough to come out with the win.”

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