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2011-12 Virginia Basketball Postgame Quotes
December 6, 2011
Virginia 68, George Mason 48

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On Virginia’s defense:
“It was a physical game and I thought we lasted. We had some breakdowns where they just made some straight line drives and some of our turnovers cost us with some transition buckets on their end. Over the course of the game our guys knew they had to fight for position. I thought it won out in the end in terms of making them earn and that was important for us. They are a physical team. They are a strong team with some veteran interior guys and they put three big guys in for a stretch. We weren’t sure if we were going to trap the post or not, but defensively we were pretty solid. There were a few breakdowns, but it was good enough to hold them under 50.”

On Jontel Evans’ game:
“The first half he did some good things, but I thought he struggled a little bit with some careless turnovers. In the second half he was very good. He had no turnovers in the second half. He got to the lane, made good decisions, and really locked in and guarded defensively. That is a sign of maturity for Jontel to be able to shrug off a bad stretch and respond.”

On Virginia being able to handle the press:
“For the most part we handled it well. At the end of the first half we broke it well, but we just made some poor decisions at the end of it, whether it was a fumbled pass or trying to throw an alley-oop. Those were just some decisions that needed to be sounder.”

On the team’s play so far this season:
“It has been solid. Again, I look at the stat sheet at the field goal percentage. To shoot 60 percent and to guard as well as we did, I think we are solid. We are going to have to keep getting better, but I think we have progressed from our first couple of games and made some improvements. I like their spirit and their heart because we are starting to understand as a group that it is the ability to outlast. We might go through some tough stretches, but if they keep defending and keep taking care of the ball then they will find themselves in a lot of games and hopefully be on the right side.”

On improvement in shooting:
“We certainly work at our shooting and we try to get rhythm shots. When you get good rhythm looks you take them, and you cannot take them if you aren’t shooting well. If the right guys are taking them then you have to have the confidence and the freedom to shoot the rhythm shots.”

On Sammy Zeglinski in the first half:
“He was real active. Sammy is starting to move better. He was very clever with the ball, and he looked real quick. His experience showed. He is a complete guard and when guys can put it on the floor and stretch it from the outside, that’s valuable. I thought he made good decisions for the most part, and he was in the right position defensively. That was important for us, and he got us off to a great start.”

George Mason Head Coach Paul Hewitt

Opening statement:
“I thought we played with great energy. I thought our energy was really good. Obviously we just can’t turn the ball over as much as we did tonight. In the first half, I thought we held on to the ball a little too long. In the second half, we started moving the basketball and playing the way we wanted to play and that’s how we got into the bonus quickly. Overall, I thought the effort and the energy was really good. We just didn’t play cleanly enough to win this game tonight.”

On his impressions of Virginia:
“Our scouting report was right on. They’re a good team. They’re very sound defensively. They’re not going to give you a lot of attempts around the rim and when you do get them you have to cash in. Harris is a terrific shooter. Mike Scott is, to me, the key to the whole thing because they can play through him. He only got three shots tonight, but it didn’t seem to affect his effort. He continued to play and be a very big part of what they were doing.”

On following his own scouting report:
“Not to take anything away from Virginia, but I would have loved to have seen, if we had played the way we had planned, whether our turnover numbers would have been lower. They’re good – trust me. They’re a good basketball team, but some of the things that we thought we could exploit, we did. We just kept hurting ourselves. A lot of times we just didn’t follow our scouting report and they’d come over and bang the three. They played well. They got the win. Congratulations to them.”

On Sammy Zeglinski:
“He’s a veteran player who fits in very well with what Tony Bennett likes to do because he’s very good at reading screens and coming off of them. He does a good job spacing the floor for Scott around the basket.”

On Jontel Evans:
“His quickness in the half court is something that helps them. His ability at the end of the shot clock, when guys can’t get their shot, to come off of the high screen and make runners is big. Those runners gave them a working margin.”

On the excitement of playing against Virginia:
“For our kids to have a chance to come into this building and play is a great opportunity. Our kids are a very competitive bunch. Ryan and Mike in particular lead that competitiveness so I’m not sure if it matters where we’re playing. This is a very competitive group. We’re disappointed because we had a chance and let it get by us – again, they had a lot to do with it – but this is a competitive team and that’s why we have a chance to be good.”

Virginia Sophomore Guard Joe Harris

On the physical game:
“They were a really physical team, it was back and forth a lot, and guys were really battling. Those games are fun though, when you really battle it out and come out with a win in the end.”

On keeping opponents to a low score:
“I really feel like the pack defense wears on teams, especially at the end of games. You just have to be relentless with it. You play the pack every possession and all the way through to the end of the game. There’s no let up.”

Virginia Senior Guard Sammy Zeglinski

On Virginia’s defensive pride:
“This year we took a gigantic step with Coach Bennett’s system. We really value getting stops and making people work for shots.”

On going into the break 8-1:
“We still look back at that TCU game, but I think we like where we are as a team right now. The cohesion is good and will only improve as we go forward.”

Virginia Senior Forward Mike Scott

On Virginia’s defense:
“It feels good to be part of this defense, the coaches have a lot of trust in my leadership and Sammy’s and Assane’s leadership to try to be the best defensive team in the country.”

On beating both of the top preseason CAA teams (Drexel and George Mason):
“It felt good. Both of the teams are very good teams and will be great in their conference, but we just broke them down with our defense.”

Virginia Junior Guard Jontel Evans

On the team’s defense:
“Guys are just buying in. They see our defense is working and they are just committed to playing it. Everybody knows that’s our bread and butter and that it’s our chance to win in big games.”

On the remainder of the season:
“As we go on, the competition will get tougher and tougher. We just have to be mentally and physically prepared to take on those challenges.”

George Mason Senior Forward Mike Morrison

On the loss:
“We would have liked to have come out better, playing our style of basketball. We didn’t play as well as we could. We’re disappointed we lost, but it’s a long season. We’re not going to hang our heads low. We’ve got to get ready for the next game. We’ve got to get back in there.”

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