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2011-12 Virginia Basketball Postgame Quotes
January 7, 2012
#21/23 Virginia 52, Miami 51

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On final defensive stop:
“We were like, ‘Alright, if they throw it to the post, do we want to trap it? Do we not?’ We were worried about that. We knew they were going to go at us. You just have to guard your alley. On the play before when they got the and-one, Jontel [Evans] reached a little. That’s when Mike [Scott] spun back and made a great play. He stayed in front of the ball. Sammy [Zeglinski] was heads up and tied it up for a jump ball to end it. We had some lapses in that second half and it was good to come up with a stop.”

On play of senior Mike Scott:
“It seemed like he was frustrated because he missed some ones he usually makes. At times we were a little stagnant and impatient. Joe [Harris] was cold. Miami played some good defense. They jammed the lane. There weren’t a lot of easy looks out there. With Joe being off, we had to go to Mike. We had to get him going. The good news is that I don’t think we played our best basketball. I think there’s better basketball in us. We didn’t execute the way we needed to, but this is conference play. They made us struggle, too. That’s a credit to them.”

On offensive reliance on Mike Scott:
“I hope that we’re not going to be that cold with our other guys. That was the thing. We just couldn’t get a lot of action. Joe [Harris] has been playing well. So has Sammy [Zeglinski]. You look at those numbers, and there weren’t a ton of possessions in the game. We felt like it was better to go through Mike in that situation rather than possibly looking other places. They got way too many offensive rebounds and that hurts.”

On whether game reminded him of past matchups against Miami:
“Those were extreme. This wasn’t as extreme as that. That game very well could have gone their way. It was just a hard fought game and it came down to the last possession. In the first half, I thought we had 15 minutes of great, sound defense. As good as it was, it seemed like it vanished-partly to their credit.”

On offensive struggles in second half:
“You’re going to have some struggles. We did a little competition in practice yesterday and we really struggled to score. Then all of a sudden it started clicking. I told them, ‘Let that be a lesson. Just keep working and something’s going to break. You’re going to get a look, but don’t slip on the defensive end.’ During that stretch in the second half, I thought the guys made that extra pass. Different guys took a shot. That was really important for us.”

On play of freshmen:
“We had a young group out there in the first half. It was good that Paul [Jesperson] got his first shot. Then there was Darion [Atkins] and Malcolm [Brogdon]. We’re a team where, if you play the right way, it doesn’t matter what year you are. You just have to be sound. I thought they held their own defensively and gave us a great lift.”

On importance of getting first conference win:
“Every conference game is going to be a battle and you want to try desperately to protect home court. Certainly you want to get them on the road and steal them on the road, but you have to try to hold serve at home. I felt like this was an important game. This Miami team is capable. I thought for us not to play our best and still find a way was very important. Now we play a very powerful team on the road in Duke. We’ll take one at a time.”

Miami Head Coach Jim Larranaga

Opening Statement:
“It was a heck of a basketball game. A lot of credit goes to the consistency of Virginia’s defense and rebounding. I think they controlled the first half and their second-chance opportunities gave them the lead. But our guys did a very good job of battling back and not hurrying. We rushed a little bit in the first half. In the second half we got more shots than we were looking for.”

On the last possession:
“We called timeout and there was 13 seconds to play. We had a situation that has several options to it. One of which is for Durand [Scott] to drive quickly and hand it to Malcolm [Grant] for a shot and if Malcolm’s covered to right back to Durand. One of the strange things, I don’t know if [Virginia] planned it or not, was that their post defense was normally on the high side, it was throughout the game until the final possession. They played Reggie [Johnson] on the baseline side, which made it difficult on Durand. The opening he expected to have wasn’t there and he had to improvise. I still thought he got the ball to the basket pretty well. Sometimes in that situation the first shot doesn’t go, but you tip it in because you’re that close to the basket. We came down with it; maybe one more second and he could have got it back up or thrown it to an open man. That’s the difference: one possession, one shot, one play. There were so many of those throughout the game.”

On Mike Scott and Jontel Evans:
“Mike Scott is a handful. He’s having a great year. His ability to score both on the block and from the perimeter puts a lot of pressure on opponents’ defenses and opens up a lot of things for their guard play. Jontel Evans’ defense was instrumental in him controlling our offense, that we were not able to get inside of him very often.”

On the Miami defense:
“I was proud of our guys defensively that we stepped up a little bit tonight. We haven’t been playing that caliber of defense in our first 13 games. So it’s something we can build upon, although, our next opponent is Carolina and they play entirely differently. They are a team that tries to score 100.

On returning to Virginia:
“I have friends back here both in Charlottesville and in Fairfax. But this is a business trip and we’re focused on our basketball team and winning ACC games right now. I can talk to my friends after the game and after the season.”

Virginia Junior Guard Jontel Evans

On stopping Miami’s last possession:
“[Durand Scott] was being aggressive and getting to the rim. He’s really good at getting to the rim. A couple plays before that I reached in and let him get all the way to the rim, but on that last play I just dug deep, stayed grounded and played good defense.”

On playing good defense and preventing fouls:
“It is kind of hard, but you’ve got to focus in. In practice we work on our slides every day, so that’s what I focus in on. I ended up getting a good stop.”

On Miami’s last shot:
“I knew it wasn’t going to go in when it left his hands because he double-clutched and I knew it was going to fall short. He rejected the screen and went baseline, so I hurried to cut him off. When I did, he spun.”

On last year’s play against Miami:
“I had it in my mind. This whole week, I had that conference game from the tournament last year in my mind. It felt like history was repeating itself. This team, we battled back and stuck together. We were aggressive down the stretch.”

On importance of win:
“It’s a big win, especially going into ACC play. It was big for us. There’s kind of a rivalry between Miami and us. We’ve got a lot of history. It was a great way to start the ACC season.”

Virginia Senior Guard Sammy Zeglinski

On Miami’s offense:
“They were catching a little outside the post. Reggie [Johnson] was throwing over to the opposite wing. They had a three out of that. We decided to choke Reggie when he got the ball to the post.”

On his 3-pointer with 3:42 remaining:
“Jontel made a great extra pass and I was fortunate to knock it down. I was pretty cold tonight, so I was happy that one went in.”

On Malcolm Grant:
“We tried to make him work and keep a hand up on him, and contest his threes. He made a couple threes. He’s a good player. He’s really quick and can get to the rim, so I tried to do my best to guard him, guard my alley, and stay in front of him.”

On importance of win:
“It’s so important to protect your home court. It came down to the last possession and we pride ourselves in defense. We were excited to get a stop right there.”

Virginia Senior Forward Mike Scott

On last season against Miami:
“That was the message I gave my teammates before the game, during the game, and when they were making their run: ‘don’t let this happen again.'”

On importance of win:
“Every game is a battle from here on out. We’re 1-0 in the ACC. Not many other teams can say that right now. We’re just grateful and thankful for winning.”

Miami Junior Guard Durand Scott

On the last shot of the game:
“What I really wanted wasn’t open, so I just tried to go for the best opening, knowing that time was running down. I just didn’t make the shot. Credit to Virginia for playing great defense.”

On what he was hoping to do:
“I wanted to drive down the middle. When I saw [Jontel] Evans on the floor, he fell out by the baseline so knowing that, I went towards the middle. It was pretty clogged up. That’s what took away the baseline for me and it was easy for him to guard me.”

On Virginia’s defense:
“It was great defense; they packed the lane really well, stayed in front and played a lot of help side. That was well-coached and they did a great job on the defensive end tonight.”

Miami Sophomore Forward Kenny Kadji

On Mike Scott:
“Mike Scott is one of the top-two post players we play this year. He is right there with (West Virginia’s) Kevin Jones. I just tried to not let him catch the ball because he had success when he had the ball.”

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