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Nov. 13, 2012

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett Postgame Quotes

On cold start:
“Yeah, that’s a good question. The way we started was very hard to dig out of. When shots aren’t falling guys get a little panicky and we stopped almost running offense. The first chance the guy got he tried to squirt one up and it didn’t look like anything we tried to work on.”

“I thought we were terrific defensively. We were great for about 10 minutes. We talked about this before, but when you’re struggling to score that puts a lot of pressure on your defense and they have some guys that are very talented off the dribble and can do some things and they really extended the lead. There weren’t really any answers out there when you look at first half shooting and the productivity in other areas.”

On using zone defense in second half:
“We did it a couple possessions at George Mason and we did it here tonight just as an off-speed pitch and just a change-up. We’ve done it a few times before, but obviously we’re predominantly man-to-man and our defense is solid enough. But, to try and manufacture some points is challenging. It wasn’t pretty, no question that first half was tough. In the second half, I’ll say those kids did scrap pretty hard and they got to when we took the lead and had a chance. A couple of careless turnovers took us out of it, but we had a chance at the end.”

On Saddler’s performance for Delaware:
“In the second half, he only had 15, but they have some weapons and experience and they’re good off the dribble. I talked to the guys at halftime and said, `Forget about the score. I know that’s hard but we have to get our mind off of it and just come out with some kind of purpose.’ I know this sounds kind of funny but I said, `Be more patient or unselfish. In a way make an extra pass or two and get after it and you’ll be surprised at what happens.’ I thought they did that and it got us at least a pulse and we battled, got some stops, and before you knew it we took the lead and it was a one point or two possession game.”

On Jontel Evans getting a few minutes:
“The doctors cleared him and said no more than 10 minutes. He wanted to just get his feet wet, he obviously was a bit rusty, but see if that helps him as we progress. I thought it was going to be a little later but a few minutes certainly didn’t hurt him. I hope he can do more and more as we get going because that’s going to mean something for us.”

On missing MSG:
“You have to grow from it and it’s not the end of the world, but it’s an opportunity that would’ve been great for our young team. It would have been a great experience to play and we’ll have plenty of other opportunities to play against high-quality teams, but that’s a special privilege and you have to earn it and Delaware earned it.”

Virginia Player Postgame Quotes

Sophomore Forward Darion Atkins

On second half:
“I don’t know what clicked in my head in the second half, but I just came out playing my game. Obviously, it shows I wasn’t playing well in the first half. I feel like I wasn’t mentally there. I just came out the second half and I picked up it.”

On first two games:
“I just wasn’t with it offensively against Fairfield. I feel like once I get in the swing of things and once the coach trusts me. Then I can come out and play my game offensively, but that takes a while.”

On not being able to go to New York:
“It is a heartbreaker, we all really wanted to go. Obviously, we all know that we are better than Delaware. We can’t take it back. I should have played the first half like I did in the second. We all really wanted to go, and now we just need to come out and be ready for Saturday and play harder.”

Junior Guard Joe Harris

On the game:
“Those turnovers, they just kill you. Especially, when you play a late game like that. There were a lot of mistakes throughout the course of the game. Even if we did come out on top, we wouldn’t deserve the win. We didn’t play well enough.”

On Delaware’s offense:
“We practice everyday defending the driving lines. We really work on our slides. Coach Bennett really makes a focal point on us defending the driving lines. Their guards were pretty shifty and able to get in the lane. We need to defend better on guard penetration because we are going to be seeing that the rest of the season.”

On Delaware’s 8-0 run in second half:
“That really hurts. You feel like you have a lot of momentum, especially making a comeback like we did. Just to see them make a comeback of their own. It’s good for us to be in a situation like that and it forces us to battle back. Unfortunately, Delaware kept pushing through.”

On seeing Jontel back:
“It’s great to see Jontel out there. He has been working relentlessly. It is a boost to see our senior leader out there and it’s great to see him on the floor. I know he’s going to progress great from here on out.

On not getting to go to New York:
“It’s a huge disappointment. We talked about how every basketball player wants to play in Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, wedon’t get that chance, but we are preparing for Seattle.”

Junior Forward Akil Mitchell

On slow start:
“Whatever the problem is, we really need to fix it. It’s really putting us in bad situations. I feel like we need to come out with more energy right out of the gate. We need to pick it up.

On not being able to go to New York:
“It is really disappointing. We are a young team, and we need to learn from it. It is heartbreaking to know that we had that opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden and now that opportunity is gone. There isstill opportunity to play other places and we have a lot of room to grow in the rest of the season.”

On Jontel’s contribution to the team:
“He just gives us that extra spark defensively. He knows his defense like the back of his hand. He’s our leader on the floor. He’s our go-to offensively. It will be a lot of help when he’s back and we can go full court. It will be great for us when he’s back.”

Delaware Coach Monte Ross Postgame Quotes

On the game:
“Obviously very, very excited about the win. Tony and his ball club have an excellent team, and defensively I hope that’s the toughest team we face all year. That defense was something else. But, I was really proud of our guys and how they stuck with things. One of the things I told the team was that Virginia was definitely going to make a run at us and its up to us to withstand that run. Then make a run of our own.”

On Delaware’s defense:
“It was probably one of the better defensive efforts I’ve ever been a part of in 20 years of basketball. I thought we were very sharp. I didn’t like our defensive energy to start the second half, but we picked it up. That defensive stand with 1:15 left, up four was big.”

On what they take from the game:
“It lets these guys know that no matter where we are, or who we’re playing, as long as there’s time left on the clock we can win the game. Good teams are going to make runs at you, and good teams withstand those runs. The fact that we got up so big and got a big cushion, and then they came back, which we knew they were going to do, really says a lot about our team. They’re ultra tough. They’re tough, tough guys and I’m proud to be able to coach them.”

On the opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden:
“I don’t want to get too gushy on Madison Square Garden, but it is the Mecca of college basketball and it is big. To have the opportunity to play on the national stage is big, and these guys have earned it. But just deserving it doesn’t mean you get to do it; you have to go out there and actually do it. I didn’t sugarcoat it – I told them that tonight was a big stage. But if you win, you get to play on the grandest stage of them all, where the program is in a different light and these guys are in another light. And we’ll be gushy about it for the next three or four days, but then we’re going up to New York to win. These guys aren’t in it for a sightseeing trip. All they care about is winning, that’s the biggest thing.”

On Devon Saddler:
“There were times last year where if he went through what we went through in the first half, picking up two fouls and having to sit, he wouldn’t have had the guts and courage to come back and lead us to victory. His maturity and his development is just off the charts. And stepping up to make big shots is big. I think you get nervous when you think about the consequences, but he doesn’t care.”

Delaware Guard Devon Saddler Postgame Quotes

On what was going through his mind during the one-and-one at the end of the game:
“I just wanted the ball. I shoot a hundred shots after practice, so I want the ball because I know I’ll make the shots. Coach wanted to put the ball in my hands and Jamelle [Hagins] told me to win the game with free throws.”

On Virginia’s run to take the lead in the second half and how he responded:
“I grew as a player. Last year, I would have rushed it up the floor and tried to get a basket. But, I told my team this is their run and let’s stop them now and let’s slow the ball up now and let’s get a shot. Let’s get a shot every possession from here.”

On the play of Jamelle Hagins and his defensive presence:
“He always has the back line and he always is where he is supposed to be. He is always a step above us, and he just helps us out and corrects our mistakes.”

On Delaware’s defensive production this year:
“We just talk more. We just want to be gritty and grimy. We just want to talk our way through things like this with teams that set all these back screens and picks.”

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