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2010-11 Virginia Basketball Postgame Quotes
February 19, 2011
Virginia 61, Virginia Tech 54

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

Opening Statement:
“A rivalry game and wanting to get a victory-that was the challenge. In the locker room, I said, ‘We talk about quality, but you’ve got to play to win.’ We played some good stretches. I’m sure we’ll breakdown some of the turnovers we had, but we did enough good things. I thought defensively, the way they played made me think they understood the significance of this game. When I saw our two freshmen rebounding like that down the stretch and guys getting on the floor-just bending at times, but not breaking-I was pleased. Some shots went in-some lucky ones for us certainly-but you’ve got to be able to make some baskets and we were fortunate to do that.”

On message to team down the stretch:
“I tried to stay calm with them. I just thought some of those turnovers were unforced or uncharacteristic. We said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t give anything up on the defensive end. We’re going to be fouled-be strong with the ball. We have two timeouts left. Break the press to score if you have the chance.’ We were a little hesitant, but we held on enough and made enough free throws to beat a quality team.”

On stretch play of Mustapha Farrakhan:
“Finally he gave a pass fake, a shot fake, and got into the crease of the zone and pulled up. He made some free throws. I know he’ll be frustrated with some of those turnovers, but he came back and we needed that. Defensively, I was going to go with KT [Harrell], but I thought our three perimeter guys had a nice rhythm going. I thought [Farrakhan] stepped up. He did a nice job bouncing back after he got the wind knocked out of him. Hopefully he’ll be okay.”

On rebounding of freshmen:
“It was physical down there. It looked like they were really trying hard to block out, then going up and just pursuing the ball and coming down with it. There were a couple of crazy exchanges-us turning it over, them turning it over, kicking it around-and we just needed to come up with those rebounds. I thought they showed a nose for the ball and a level of toughness that we had to have. They’re undersized and they’re young, but by this stage of the game, you’ve just got to have a will for the ball and they came up with it. They battled.”

On pre-game message to team:
“I said, ‘Play to win. You’re playing a team that is a very high-quality team. You battled them the first time. We’re a different team now, but you can do a lot of those same things you did the first time to have success against them.’ I thought that’s what we did. We were a little unconventional offensively, but defensively, we had the same plan of attack. Our guys understood that had to be a constant for us, and I said, ‘Focus more on that than worrying if the shots are going in.’ I guess I tried the ‘trust and have confidence.’ Sometimes you’re chilly-dipping when you do that, so you’ve got to be able to just be really good at what you do as far as strengths. We focused more defensively-as crazy as that sounds-and kept focusing more on that. I said, ‘Just take good shots, let the game come, be patient.'”

On long-range shooting of Sammy Zeglinski:
“[Malcolm] Delaney made some unbelievable ones at the end. [Zeglinski’s] might have rivaled his. Maybe we should tell him to shoot them like that all the time. Points are hard to come by for us, so whenever we can get them-whether it’s Jontel [Evans] hitting a big one or [Zeglinski] hitting some tough ones-that’s a cushion for us. [Zeglinski] does have a knack for hitting unconventional ones late in the game at the end of the shot clock.”

Virginia Tech Head Coach Seth Greenberg

Opening Statement:
“We didn’t finish possessions. You have to give them credit. They ran the clock down and made big shots. I always say it’s a make and miss game. I think that game was a pretty good example of that. They wanted us to guard for 30 seconds and most of the time we did a pretty good job for the first 28 or so. They made numerous shots at the end of the shot clock and you have to give them credit for that. Guys made big shots and tough shots. We don’t play that way. We want to play faster. Everyone has their own playing philosophy or style. It worked for them tonight. Eight turnovers in the opening minutes – that has to be a microcosm of us not being as tough as we needed to be offensively and that was a problem. The bumps, we gave into it and got out of what we needed to do. That was disappointing. Our body language wasn’t what it has been. I told the guys at halftime and that was probably more disappointing than the final score. The first half on this stage we didn’t respond the way we have and that was disappointing because we are better than that in terms of adjusting. It has nothing to do with the final score. It has to do with facing adversity. They got up into us a little bit and pushed us out a little bit. You need to play through that and make the next pass and we settled too much. We need more guys to contribute. We’ve had a lot of guys contributing and today we didn’t have as many guys contribute. You’ve got to give them credit for making shots and give them credit for pushing us out a little bit. We had a chance to get back in the game but we didn’t make the plays. We had chances – jump balls, travels – that you aren’t going to get when you’re behind. You’re not going to get those calls.”

On adjusting to Virginia’s style of play:
“Duke scored 56 points and won. It’s a battle of wills. That’s how they want to play. We want to play the other way. They won today; they won today, plain and simple. You have to give them credit. They made shots at the end of the shot clock. Sammy [Zeglinski] and Jontel [Evans] made those and one other guy made one at the end of the shot clock. I am more disturbed that we didn’t run offense with pace. We got more caught up in that. There’s nothing you can do if a guy makes a shot at the end of the shot clock except get it back in the next possession. We got more caught up in that and deflated in that than getting to the next play and that’s something we’ve discussed for the last two days.”

On playing perimeter defense:
“We went a lot of zone because when they went smaller – I say smaller but they’re bigger than us. We have two guys; one’s 6’7″, one’s 6’8″ we don’t have a seven-footer and we don’t have 6’9″ coming off the bench. When they went smaller they were running Jeff [Allen] off a ton of screens and [Joe] Harris got that three in the corner. We went zone because I didn’t want to wear our guys down and I knew we had to play from behind. It would have been easier for us to maintain some sense of energy chasing them around in the zone than chasing them around for 30 seconds in the man-to-man. I thought we closed out well until Evans came off the ball screen at the end and he made a good shot. You have to give them credit.”

On struggling to win low-scoring games:
“I think we will win one of them eventually. I have to look at the point differential in our games. I think we’ve won one in the fifties. I don’t know that for a fact. They made tough shots. They took us out of what we wanted to do. I wouldn’t characterize that as we can’t win one of these games. We didn’t win this game today or the game at Boston College, but we have won 17 and are playing at a high level. Tonight they made shots and we didn’t make shots. More importantly, we weren’t as tough as we needed to be doing the things we needed to do and we weren’t carrying ourselves the way we have been carrying ourselves. That’s probably the thing that’s most disappointing.”

Virginia Freshman Forward Akil Mitchell

On playing Duke before Virginia Tech:
“You learn that you can play with teams as physical as Duke. When you play against 7’0″ players in the Duke game and then play players who are 6’8″ or 6’9″ in the [Virginia] Tech game, you play with a lot of confidence. It helps your game when you can perform against Duke. ”

On the final minutes:
“This game was different. When you win at home it’s a different energy. I was really tired but down the stretch I was just focused on getting the win. You have to get wins.”

Virginia Junior Guard Sammy Zeglinski

On winning at home:
‘It’s good to get a win at home, especially to sweep the series. We’ve had a lot of adversity this year so it’s been good to get these two wins against Tech. I think we can go on a run now. We have a game Wednesday and we are playing some good basketball defensively, so it should be good.”

On the difference between the Duke game and the Virginia Tech game:
“All the shots that were popping out of the net against Duke went in tonight. It was good to see Joe [Harris] shoot with confidence and knock down some big shots, Jontel [Evans] had some big shots as well.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Joe Harris

On playing Duke before Virginia Tech:
“I think it shows our character. Against Duke we are overmatched size-wise, but I thought Akil [Mitchell] down the stretch made some huge rebounds. We fought for 40 minutes this game and it paid off in the end; we were able to make some big shots.”

On the team’s ability to score:
“You have some nights when you’re on and some when you’re not. Obviously today we played well and we shot well. “

On Jeff Allen guarding him:
“We prepared for him to guard me. We prepared a lot for the zone because they’ve been playing a lot of zone lately, but when they played man we knew that Allen would match up with me because I was going to match up with him on the defensive end. I tried to move around a lot more than he was used to because he’s not used to chasing guys on offense.”

Virginia Sophomore Guard Jontel Evans

On controlling the pace of the game:
“It was very important [to control the pace]. During the first few minutes of the game, I was having some uncharacteristic turnovers, but coach had to sit me down and calm me down. When I got back in, I had to get control over the pace of the game, get guys moving, and get to the open shot.”

On beating Virginia Tech:
“It feels real good [to beat Tech]. Last year they swept us, and this year we swept them. It feels great to beat them twice, especially here.”

On the big rivalry at home:
“The crowd was great tonight, we really felt the energy. It was really hyper and exciting to beat Virginia Tech; they’re our rivals so we had to bring our A-Game. I’ve never seen the crowd get that loud. They were really great tonight.”

Virginia Tech Sophomore Guard Erick Green

On Virginia’s play:
“They made a nice run, but we came back with a run. We had open looks and we didn’t hit them. Things like that happen. It’s going to be how we respond. We can sit here and pity-pout, or we can get ready for Wake and go out there and beat them. We’ve got to see how we’re going to respond.”

On defensive play:
“They’re going to run their offense to get 25 or 30 seconds off the shot clock. We didn’t play defense the whole time. It’s a lesson learned. We’re going to go back and learn from that. We need to start playing defense for 40 minutes instead of 20.”

On carelessness with the ball in the first half:
“They kind of took it out of us a little bit. When we tried to get a fast break, they jammed our outlets, and they did a good job. We can’t really make excuses. They outplayed us.”

Virginia Tech Senior Guard Malcolm Delaney

On Virginia’s play:
“It’s very disappointing, but they hit some tough shots. They did what they were supposed to do to beat us. We can’t look at this game as the end of the season. It’s far from over. We’ve got four more games.”

On Virginia’s shot percentage:
“I was surprised by some of the shots they hit, but they have a pretty good team. They don’t have a very good record, but they’re playing at home. Everybody’s good in the ACC.”

On high rate of turnovers:
“We were just trying to force plays that weren’t there. We started the game out scoring. We didn’t have to force that much. With how slow they were playing, we were trying to get too much, too early. We turned the ball over on a couple of dumb turnovers, dropped passes, not holding on to the ball, charges, stuff like that. It wasn’t like they were stealing the ball or anything like that. They did a good job. They had a good game. They executed.”

On Virginia’s tempo:
“They don’t overplay that much or anything like that. They like to slow the game down. We tried to up the tempo a little bit, and I think we tried to do too much too fast.”

On future games:
“I don’t care about the tournament right now. We’ve got Wake Forest. That’s it. We can’t control what goes on in the NCAA tournament right now. We’ve got four games and the ACC tournament. We’ll worry about the rest of the stuff after that.”

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