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Postgame Quotes

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett:

On the last possession of the game:

“I thought our guys kept their composure. We got the stop. It was a little wild the way we got the stop. We came down and got two good looks. Mike [Scott] got a look. We knew we needed a three. It’s a similar action we got to end the first half. So we said, ‘Okay, let’s get a move and rhythm shot.’ Joe [Harris] set a great screen. It might have hit the back board. I am not sure, but it just happened to bounce to Jontel [Evans]. Jontel’s looked pretty good too, so you can’t complain about getting two clean looks at the rim to extend it to overtime.”

On defending Mason Plumlee:
“It wasn’t good. He did a nice job. I thought to start the second half, I don’t know if it was 10 minutes or the time period, but we had too many defensive breakdowns. He was assertive. He made some plays, but I thought we got a little outside ourselves in terms of gambling, missing a rotation, or just not being sound. He exploited that, and again, credit to him. There was a point where I thought I said I was proud of their resilience … They rallied back and they started getting the tough stops that were needed and made some tough baskets … We just needed more perimeter scoring to help, but we couldn’t get that. But the kids battled. I told them they were resilient, and they will learn from it.”

On Mike Scott in the second half:

“He actually got some looks. He just missed some … and it was a very physical game. He draws a lot of attention, certainly. They were physical with him. We tried to get him some inside touches. When we couldn’t get him those, we loosened him a little bit. Some shots just didn’t go in. I don’t know how many shots he took, but he still got the rhythm looks. He is going to draw a lot of attention. We tried to play off him, but still try and get it in his hands. You know when we were a little cold on the outside with a couple of other guys, that allowed them to tighten the screws on Mike.”

On whether Joe Harris made any adjustments offensively in the second half:
“Well I think we were a little impatient. We waited a little more for him to really work hard to get open off some screens. He was aggressive whether it was him getting to the rim or trying to get his pull up. He is important to us. And again, I think he realized, okay he’s got to pick up some slack on the perimeter when we were cold with some of the other guys.”

On whether the team has improved since last year vs. Duke after making it a tight game:
“I hope it is. We lost, and we have to learn from it. Last year, we got in a similar spot and there was a run when the crowd got into it, and we struggled. I don’t want to say we collapsed, but we struggled. They just started separating. Tonight, it could have been the same situation, and I thought they got a little tougher and stingier defensively. That got us back on track. Then we made some tough baskets. That was why we at least had a chance at the end to send it to overtime.”

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski:

Opening Statement:
“That was an unbelievable game. It was a war. I thought both teams competed at the highest level. It was really a terrific win for our kids because they had to fight for 40 minutes against an outstanding team, a veteran team obviously and an extremely well-coached team with a player who’s playing probably as well as anybody in the country. Thirty-two points in the first half, [Mike Scott] had 16, but he probably was a part of six or eight more with his passes. Basically, he was responsible for 60 percent of their offense in the first half. When a man does that in this type of game, he’s a helluva player. I’m proud of our guys. I thought they never quit. They played strong. The Plumlees, I thought, were the key to the game, their physicality and our defense. I thought we played much better defense on Scott in the second half, and that was both Mason and Miles. I also thought it was by far the best defensive game that Andre Dawkins has ever played. Everyone talks about his shooting, but he really played well defensively. And we did a good job against [Sammy] Zeglinski and [Joe] Harris. Those three kids – Scott, Harris and Zeglinski – are their guys. And we were able to at least limit Harris and we were fortunate we shut down Zeglinski. And then we thought Scott couldn’t beat us by himself, but he was doing a good job of it for a while. Great win for us. I’m proud of my guys. We’re young, and I think our schedule has helped us. We’ve played such a tough schedule, so it helped us in today’s game.”

On how the team started the second half:
“We ran different sets in the second half. It was much better. They had all of our ball screen stuff handled, and so we went to a couple things that got us better movement. And then all of a sudden the post was moved and there was something open there. Not that it was a play. It’s more we had two or three things that produce action, better action. And our guys ran it really well. Mason was unbelievable in that second half – his verve, his resolve to go to the basket. I know he missed free throws, but he was such a key guy for us. Tyler [Thornton] made two huge plays. It was 43-40, I think, and Tyler went right up the middle and hit that layup. And I think he’s the one that threw the pass to Miles. You get four points like that against their defense, we shot 50 percent against them. We played really good defense. We can play defense too. Just remember, the teams we’ve played against are really good, really good. You can play defense a variety of different ways. They played it well, and I thought we played it well tonight.”

On the rotation of players at the point:
“I don’t think you can do just one thing with our team. We made a switch because they made a switch. They had [Jontel] Evans on Austin [Rivers], so that put Zeglinski on Seth [Curry]. Well then Seth can play the point. And that gave us the better offensive team against them than we would have had the other way … I read something today that somebody showed me that we have an identity. I don’t know, we’re not looking for an identity. We’re looking to be good. We’re trying to win. We don’t have to have a certain style of play or whatever. We want to fight and play well together. This was a heck of a game today. This was a big, big win for our team, and I’m proud of our guys. We have to turn it around now and go to Clemson, and hopefully do a good job there.”

On how the team got stronger as the game progressed:
“I think it starts with the mentality … I thought we played a little bit better than the score in the second half, and we just didn’t hit the free throws. But Mason was so assertive. He made huge plays. His kickout to Seth for the three when he was doubled – that’s a heck of a half for the Plumlee guys.”

On what adjustments his team made to play at Virginia’s tempo:
“They’re a veteran team. I actually thought we played a little bit quicker tempo than we normally play. The only way to really influence tempo is to press with your defense, and that would have been not good for us tonight. They are who they are, which is very good. And they’re going to be right in the running for our league, the NCAA Tournament. I think this Virginia team is unbelievably solid with a great player. In that first half, we were defending everybody and they went to [Scott] – he just produced points. When you have a guy who can do that, it’s pretty … good. That guy is a really good player. And Tony [Bennett]’s a really good coach, so he’s going to get him the ball. It’s a nice combination – good players and outstanding coach – and all of a sudden 14-2.”

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