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Nov. 12, 2012

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On cold start and shot selection:
“I think they hit some tough shots and they were getting offensive rebounds, getting in the lane, and certainly when they were left open, they were making them all the more. Now, teams hit shots and our defense has to live with it, but that hurt us on the defensive end.”

“Offensively, we got some looks, got some bunnies. We were a little panicky at times, and didn’t want to set some screens. They [Fairfield] switched some. They were a little unconventional, and I think that threw our timing and rhythm off somewhat. We have to keep finding ways to get the right people shots, and then try to get second chance points.”

On second half defense:
“I thought our defense was better in the second half. Again, those guards are pretty quick. They’re very small and they’re quick. I just decided to play mostly Paul (Jesperson), Joe (Harris) and Justin (Anderson). We used our size to try to take advantage of that. I thought we were a little better on our ball screen defense.”

“The defense slowly started taking hold, and I think they got a little tired and then their shots weren’t as close.”

On team’s contributions:
“The guys – Paul, Justin, Joe, Evan, Akil – it really was all of them who did different things at different times that helped. Then, we made a couple of errors that closed the gap again. Whether it was a turnover on an out-of-bounds play or missing a bunny. It wasn’t all just trying to go to Joe. I thought some other guys did some things, and that was helpful.”

On Joe Harris in point guard position:
“I just thought from a defensive standpoint Taylor and Doug did an okay job against George Mason. I just thought, they’re quick guards and they’re going to be quicker than us, so let’s just go with the guys who might be able to get us a little more offense. Certainly that’s not ideal with Joe playing the lead guard, but I thought he did a good job, and I thought he could stay with that guy.”

Junior Forward Akil Mitchell

On game effort:
“The effort was really poor throughout the first half. We picked it up the second half.”

On playing Fairfield:
“We ran through the action and we knew what their offensive game was going to look like. We didn’t expect them to shoot as well as they did, but we were able to stifle them a little better in the second half.”

On young team:
“They have done pretty well. We have a long way to go as a team. It comes down to being a leader and being patient.”

Freshman Forward Evan Nolte

On first game at JPJ:
“I never came to a game here before playing, so it was truly my first game. It was great and really fun. I think deep down inside we really wanted to win, especially after the George Mason game. We didn’t want to start 0-1.”

On lineup:
“I think it’s good because we can all play at multiple positions. The summer in Europe really helped because now we are more comfortable playing together. We are comfortable with a different number of guys on the floor. I think we did really well with me, Justin (Anderson) and Joe (Harris) out there.”

On being a “heady” player:
“I may not be as athletic as everyone else out there, but I try to do those little things to get ahead that way. I try to make the smart play and try to limit turnovers, and I always try to get a handle on the speed of the game.”

Junior Guard Joe Harris

On game:
“There were a lot of small mistakes. I think this game really showed the freshmen that as a player you really need to value every single possession. That is what Coach Bennett preaches to us all the time. You really have to value every single possession offensively, and especially defensively.”

On going into second half:
“Evan’s (Nolte) steal was huge there at the end. We had a lot of great plays to end the half. I’m just doing whatever the coach tells me to do. I’ll play four or five, whatever the team needs me to do.”

Fairfield Head Coach Sydney Johnson

On team’s hot start:
“We came in with a belief that we could win this game. Our guys were hyped up in the first half and made some nice shots.”

On Virginia’s Joe Harris taking control of the ball in the second half:
“He is a terrific player because he is (playing) out of position and doing what’s best for the team. He let them get into their sets and run their offense. Although, we held them to 54 points, and if we can do that every game, we will win most of them.”

On Virginia’s bigger lineup in the second half:
“I actually thought it helped us sometimes. Maybe there were a couple of missed traveling calls. I didn’t really mind the size. What I did mind was Harris taking control of the game and us going cold.”

On team’s quickness:
“We have two point guards that allow us to get into sets quickly. We can take advantage of that more as the season goes by. But these are ACC guys, so we will obviously not be able to just blow by them.”

Fairfield Guard Derek Needham

On Virginia pulling away in the 2nd half:
“I think we missed a lot of shots in the first half, hit some in the second half but just didn’t hit shots, and that’s why we only had 45 points.”

On shot selection:
“I think we took good shots. Just need to go back to the drawing board and work a little harder in practice to make our layups. But, I think we had great shots in the second half, same thing as in the first half. They just didn’t fall.”

On offensive rebounding:
“Coach always tells us as soon as you get the ball throw it out and make them work some more. What we did in the first half was run the shot clock down, got a good shot and if we missed it, we threw it back out up to three or four times.”

Regarding the end of the first half:
“I think our big man rushed to get the ball in and didn’t see their player, and he stole it and made a layup. It’s a freshman mistake, but we’ll correct it.”

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