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Dec. 5, 2012

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the game:
“It looked great to me. I’ll take it.”

On Virginia’s defense and guarding Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes:
“Tonight, those are two good defensive teams. Baskets weren’t easy to come by. It was physical. Again, we’re trying to play tough possession basketball. We left some buckets out there on the table. I thought that we had some finishers.”

“Stokes is so physical. He’s such a presence. Our guys used their activity and their quickness to bother him, and we tried to trap him. I think we did an okay job. “

On Jontel’s and Teven’s presence in the game:
“Teven got a little sped up a couple of times and made a couple of uncharacteristic plays, but he made the free throws.”

“We just talked about being ball strong. Again, with their defense, it’s not like they’re going to extend and try to turn you over away on the floor, but they make your catches tough, and you better be a two-handed player or it’s going to be a long night. Both of us tried to find ourselves offensively. They’re a very good defensive team, and I know how hard that is when you lose in two games when you don’t score. They’re good on the defensive side of it and your defense can only hang in there so long when you’re struggling to score.”

On Jontel Evans and potential injury:
“I hope it’s not anything too bad. I know he came back. I said ‘can I put him in?’ That was my question, and they said ‘not right now.’ We’ll find out and get the x-rays. I thought he made a couple of nice drives and put pressure on them in that stretch, and was guarding well. We’ll see.”

Virginia Junior Forward Akil Mitchell

On defense:
“Darion and I have played a lot of really good post players in the past, even this season with the player from Wisconsin. It was emphasized coming into the game and we have been working on post trap all week. We got ready for their physicality. Darion really stepped in and handled it.”

On the game:
“There is no greater satisfaction than holding a team and frustrating a team with your defense. I think the guys in the locker room really like it, but I’m not sure the fans like it.”

On team progressing:
“We have grown up so much. We have matured as a team and found an identity. With a Tony Bennett team you really know what that identity is. We’ve really embraced and it is getting us W’s, so I can’t complain.”

Virginia Junior Guard Joe Harris

On Akil Mitchell:
“He plays with a lot of confidence and he has a lot of trust in his game. We trust in him and value him as a player.”

On the team:
“I think we did a good job of not letting that first loss get to us. We really make a point to improve every game. We try to learn from the mistakes we might have made early in the season. We have a lot of room for improvement and we will come back to the drawing board tomorrow and prepare for the next game.”

On the game:
“Credit to Tennessee. They are a tough defensive team. They weren’t allowing anything easy. They are very physical. Especially late in the game it was a fight and tough for both of us. Both teams take pride in their defense.”

Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin

Opening statement:
“Once again, I thought both teams played hard and played well on the defensive side of the ball. We struggled to get the ball. Although we had the opportunity to get inside, we didn’t make baskets. I thought they did a good job doubling the post in situations. Also, I thought we had some really good looks on the three-point line. We just have to do a better job of shooting the ball with confidence, but I thought the effort was there. We just came up short.”

On keeping pace offensively:
“It’s tough as a coach because you work on shooting. The guys come in three times a week in the morning for 30 minutes to get shots up, and you work on shooting in practice. You just have to shoot the ball with confidence, and we also have to find better ways of getting the ball inside to Jarnell [Stokes]. With five touches, I thought they did a good job with sagging Golden, but we have to find a way to get him more looks.”

On building confidence:
I think that’s up to the individual player. Once again, I don’t consume myself with talking about it because I was a player before. I know that when you say certain things over and over guys start to see it and believe it. We just have to find a way to put the ball in the basket.”

Tennessee Junior guard Trae Golden

On defensive intensity of the game:
“We are a defensive team, so I feel like that is how every game is. Both teams played good defense tonight, but we just couldn’t score the way we wanted to.”

On getting within five points, getting five consecutive stops, but not scoring:
“I thought we would come back, but we just couldn’t convert. We couldn’t hit our shots. We’ve got to work harder to get better. We have to score the ball. That’s all we have to do. Once we do that, then we will be fine.”

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