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2011-12 Virginia Basketball Postgame Quotes
November 15, 2011
Virginia 69, Winthrop 48

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the zone affecting Virginia offensively:
“I thought it made us tentative in the first half. We were real stagnant on the perimeter, and we just sort of played ring around the rosie. We didn’t get paint touches. At halftime that was our message. We said, whether it’s a pass with the high post or low post or moving the ball and punching it off the dribble, we needed to get paint touches. We needed to have some assertiveness. At an offensive standpoint, I feel we played real well together and made the extra pass.”

On Jontel Evans’ game:
“He was good. He got two quick fouls, and I knew he was going to be so valuable for us in that game. I wanted to play him a little more in that first half, but I didn’t want him to pick up his third foul. I think he picked it up fairly early in the second half, but his ability to pressure the ball, get to the lane, and challenge the paint off the dribble all help. I was proud of the way he responded and kept his composure.”

On keeping Akil Mitchell and Assane Sene in the game:
“I thought we were defending pretty well. That group we had on the floor, Akil and Assane, were doing a terrific job. We were defending so well and getting stops. That’s a team. The guys have to step up at different times, and I thought they were hurting us late in the first half by turning the corner on their ball screens. We really got aggressive, and I thought Akil and Assane gave us a nice boost of energy.”

On Akil Mitchell’s game now compared to last season:
“He is better. When Assane and Akil were in the game they were very active. I think he has improved physically and he is about 15 pounds heavier. He has grown a little bit. He is still a very young second year and his best basketball is in front of him.”

On going into this weekend’s tournament:
“It will be a good tournament. Every team there is very good and very athletic, starting with TCU. Most of the teams are very strong. We are playing in three games in four days. I hope we have Sammy [Zeglinski]. You could see we were a little uneasy and needed some calming hands and maturity out there in that first half. Sammy certainly brings that. He is progressing so we’ll see where that goes. I just hope we continue to establish that mindset that we had in the second half.”

Winthrop Head Coach Randy Peele

Opening Statement:
“It was really great to be back here in my hometown state tonight. You know I’m disappointed, but very proud of my team. The bottom line is with 10 minutes to go in the game, I think the score was tied and then we scored four points in the last 10 minutes of the game. Its like I told our team, I pride ourselves defensively on our ability to stop people, but just got to score more points when you play people from the ACC or SEC or whatever. I felt what happened was there were a couple of key things. They spread us out in the last 10 minutes they hit three three’s. They came from the fact that we did not guard the ball. They beat us on through penetration and they hit three three’s out of it. Sene got a post feed and shot it over his shoulder. And Jontel Evans got an offensive rebound over Andre Smith and I think Akil Mitchell, maybe he got the ball inside. But our issue too was that our bigs were in foul trouble. You know George Valentine plays 27 minutes gets four points, Matt [Morgan] plays fifteen minutes and gets one point, Joab Jerome plays thirty-one minutes and gets four points. I do think that our guards were fabulous… Andre Smith gave us a really big lift.”

On his defense:
“I’m a man to man kind of guy. You know Coach Bennett and I coached against each other in the [NCAA] tournament four years ago. I think I know him pretty well and I think he knows me pretty well because we’re both hard heads. I had to make adjustments early on. I thought the zone, it gave us a better chance quite honestly. I felt like they had to work harder for baskets when I went to the zone. But he’s got a fabulous team, I love the way they share the ball. Defensively, I love the way they close after the ball, they get the gaps, and penetration, and the biggest complement I can say about his team is that they don’t beat themselves. I think that’s huge.”

On how his team held up:
“I mean coming into tonight’s game I was surprised at this one. Before I was 3-3 against the ACC. I didn’t know how we were going to respond quite honestly. I was really proud and one of our kids, Gideon Gamble, was hurt. I don’t say ‘what if’. I told my team ‘we’re that close,’ you know I thought for 30 minutes we played great basketball and the bottom line was they just wore us down. They’ve got big bodies, I think we got a little fatigued and it showed up in a couple places. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been in a game and they go 19-19 from the free throw line.”

Virginia senior forward Mike Scott

On turning things around in the game:
“We just dug down and got stops. That was the most important thing. They were getting into the lane too easily. We did a guard to guard hand-off switch where basically you just switch from guard to guard and we broke down, got into the middle and resumed.”

On going through adversity:
“Yeah it was good, just to see how we would react to it, how our teammates would react to it and how I would react to it. I think we handled it well.”

On upcoming trip:
“I know we play TCU next and I don’t know much about them but we will take it as a business trip and also have fun at the Virgin Islands.”

Virginia sophomore guard Joe Harris

On key to turning things around in second half:
“I felt like defense really made it hard for them to get a good look and even when they did we were getting bodies on them and it was one and done. “

On going through a bit of adversity:
“For us to be in the position that we were, I felt like we really grew as a team. We know that in those late game situations like that we can pull away from teams.”

Virginia junior guard Jontel Evans

On turning things around in the game:
“It’s got to start with our defense because that’s our bread and butter. Once we got stops on the defensive end that led to buckets.”

On worrying on second foul with Sammy out:
“I wasn’t really worried. We have other guards that can come in there like Malcolm Brogdon who is definitely not playing like a freshman, he is playing like an upperclassman. He’s strong and came out there and had a great game so I wasn’t worried at all.”

On role as an upperclassman:
“That’s one of the things the coaches stressed to me as I came back for my third year. They were like Jontel, you have to be vocal, you have to be more of a leader, you’re an upperclassman, and that’s what I want to do. Even though the game was close, I just kept my guys energetic and kept their spirits up and they came out there and made plays.”

Winthrop senior guard Reggie Middleton

On Virginia’s run in the last 10 minutes of the game:
“We really didn’t hit many shots and they capitalized off of that in those last 10 minutes. They came down and hit a lot of open threes.”

On Winthrop’s defensive strategy:
“Our strategy was to put pressure on them. We changed up our defense to keep them on their toes. We knew that if we played one defense, they would basically make an adjustment and start scoring just like they did over that last stretch. We were in zone for too long.”

On Winthrop’s foul trouble late in the game:
“I just feel like my guys played hard and if our bigs don’t get in foul trouble, we’ll be great. They’re our best two players down there so when they got into foul trouble it was tough.”

On playing a bigger team like Virginia:
“We just have to play hard. That’s when heart comes into it.”

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