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2010-11 Virginia Basketball Postgame Quotes
February 16, 2011
#5 Duke 56, Virginia 41

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

Opening Statement:
“Let’s call it what it is-you’ve got to be able to make some baskets, you’ve got to be able to make some shots. I thought there was a stretch in the second half where we got some good looks and the ball just wouldn’t go in. You can’t be in a game if you’re shooting that percentage or struggling offensively like that. That was frustrating. I thought we had some breakdowns that hurt us in the first half. I told the guys, ‘I believe you’re better than what you showed.’ All the credit to Duke-that’s a team that doesn’t beat themselves. When they need something, [Nolan Smith] kind of flexes. We showed some toughness physically in the second half, but all that aside, that’s tough because I thought we would be better than that.”

On poor shooting:
“We got some [shots] at the rim, but we couldn’t finish. We work hard in practice on finishing. You have to shoot a shot with confidence. Before the game, I said, ‘Listen, if you get a shot, shoot it with confidence.’ You have to be able to trust yourself to shoot it. A couple of times, I thought we didn’t shoot some that we should’ve caught and shot in rhythm. Instead, we hesitated and forced some. We were a little quick at times. At least they battled defensively, but as I said, I was frustrated because I thought we could do better than that.”

“You have to keep trying to get good looks. I don’t like the turnovers. There were too many turnovers for us. A couple of times, we had some careless turnovers. I wanted them to get shots in rhythm. Certainly they’re running at [Mustapha Farrakhan], and they’re making it hard on him. He didn’t settle for the three against Florida State-he actually got into the lane, got to the rim, and some of the finishes were in-and-out and he missed some. When that happens, you’ve got to try to create for your teammates more and try to find them some rhythm shots.”

On Duke’s scoring inside:
“Some of that is ball pressure, and some of that is vision. As I said, a couple of times in the first half, we were a little un-alert. We left a guy alone in the post. Joe [Harris] and a few of them when we were supposed to be trapping. There were a few miscommunications in that first half that I really got after them about at halftime. [Duke is] a hard guard because they have the size, and they can spread you out. Again, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler can hurt you when they need a bucket. They can create their own shot.”

On shooting droughts:
“It’s been horrible. When we get a little cold from the outside or we’re not hitting shots, it’s a struggle for us to score points. We try to get some if we get a guard rebound and can get some in transition. We try to get them by driving and kicking. But when the three-point ball is off or if we can’t get more than three guys in double-figures, it becomes a real strain on us offensively.”

On play of Akil Mitchell:
“In the first half, he was very active and gave us some good minutes defensively and did some things. Hopefully he’s really growing up as he’s getting these minutes in these spots. His activity is good, but he’s got to keep continuing to improve offensively. I think it’ll be a big offseason for him. He’s giving us some good minutes, and without Will Sherrill being able to play, we were down to a seven-man rotation in this game. That puts him in a spot to learn and grow, and hopefully he’ll make the most of this experience.”

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening Statement:
“We won a defensive struggle tonight; points were hard to come by. Their defense was good but I thought ours was a little bit better, and Nolan [Smith] was a huge difference in the game. To get 22 points in a game like this, that’s a lot of points. I thought it was Ryan Kelly’s best defensive game because he had a difficult matchup and did a really nice job. Our defense of the three was good; we turned it over too much, but they play good defense so they make you turn it over. They can make you play a certain style, and I think it’s a good style. But you can get anxious sometimes, and it’s not just your defense but your anxiety to score a little bit quicker than what the game allows you to score. Those two things blend sometimes so that you lose, but tonight overall, the job we did defensively was terrific.”

On Kyle Singler’s performance:
“He’s a human being. Kyle’s won 117 games as a player; he’s 117-20. He’s entitled to not playing as well every once in a while. In other words, he’s a champion. I’m OK with Kyle.”

On the evolution of Ryan Kelly:
“He’s had a terrific year. I think it’s an example for a lot of kids in the league who don’t get to play as much early on. He hardly played last year, but he put on 25 pounds, he worked really hard and he started. He’s a key player for us in his sophomore year. I’m not sure anybody in the league has improved more than Ryan Kelly. He’s a very good player, and he’ll keep getting better because he’s smart and is a hard worker, and he doesn’t play outside of himself.”

On the growth of the team:
“You always want to play better. They had something to do with us not playing as well because they’re good, they’re well coached. They’re building something really good here. We started off with a great win and then went into two road games with that type of atmosphere and are able to win, that’s a good thing for our team. I’m proud of them.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Joe Harris

On the team’s performance:
“It’s tough. I thought we battled and played hard. The team did pretty well defensively, we held them underneath their average of 80 points a game. We held them to 56. But it was just one of those nights, the shots weren’t dropping for us. I felt like we were getting some decent looks, but Duke is obviously a great defensive team as well.”

On the Duke defense:
“They were satelliting on Assane [Sene], shaking off him and forcing [Jontel Evans] to drive and trying to make him finish. Then they were sticking on all the shooters. It’s tough, but when you’re stagnant, like we were at times, it’s tough.”

On the pre-game expectations:
“Coming in, obviously we felt pretty confident. We knew we played tough with them at their place and going in we knew what we needed to do to win. Coach gave us a guideline, talking about if we have less than 10 turnovers, keep an eye on the paint and knock down shots, he felt like we had a really good chance at winning the game. But we didn’t shoot the ball well enough to beat pretty much anyone, much less Duke, the fifth best team in the country.”

Virginia Sophomore Guard Jontel Evans

On facing Virginia Tech next:
“It was a major loss tonight. So our guys need to step up, because we are a different team from the last time we saw them in December. With Mike [Scott] being gone, we were playing inside to out, but now we are playing outside to in. Guys on the perimeter have to make plays, since we don’t really have that big time presence down low.”

On moving past the loss:
“As soon as the buzzer rang, we had to forget about it. That game is done with, we can’t go back now. We just have to focus on Saturday against Virginia Tech. We need to come in with a different mindset and be ready to play.”

On his shooting game:
“That is my type of game, taking it to the rim, since I’m not such a great shooter. I work in practice on going to the rim, and we do a lot of finishing drills. Tonight, they just gave the opportunity for me to drive, to get in the lane and to make a couple plays.”

Duke Senior Guard Nolan Smith

On the pace of the game:
“We were definitely prepared for the pace of the game. We tried to speed it up, but they’re going to play their game and we’re going to play our game. We stopped them from getting three-point shots and just played team defense.”

On his role on the team since Kyrie Irving was injured:
“My mindset was that I had to control the team, make plays, be a point guard. After the first game, coach was just like, be myself. Scoring is something that I can do very well, and at the same time make plays, get assists, and get my teammates involved. Just doing that and staying in an attack and aggressive mindset.”

Duke Sophomore Guard Seth Curry

On his focus for the game:
“The biggest thing was defensively, trying to guard bigger guards. That’s the biggest thing, and that’s kind of where I have made my mark this year.”

On his increased playing time since Kyrie Irving’s injury:
“It’s been up and down throughout most of the season. The last few game’s I’ve really been able to get into a rhythm because I’ve been playing a lot of minutes. Coach has really trusted me out on the court. I come to work at practice, I’ve been doing that all year, trying to stay ready even though I’m not getting my shots. This past week, my opportunity came and I was ready for it.”

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