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March 27, 2013

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On Iowa’s offense:
“Iowa’s a good ball club. They play good basketball. They’re difficult to play against because they defend you and they’re very physical. We were trying to guard them. We talked a lot leading up this: you’re going to have to sustain your defensive stance and be real continuous because they run their cuts hard. There’s a lot of screens. They just keep going at it. They got open, got good looks. We ran into screens. They got on the offensive glass. I think they wore us down. They’re hard to play because I think they’re balanced. We gave them way too many easy looks.”

On Joe Harris:
“Joe’s got an important off-season. He’s got to work to get better. I think there’s tremendous wisdom when you struggle. Joe carried a big load all year, and I think he looked worn down at the end and didn’t play his best basketball the last few games.”

On halftime adjustments:
“I challenged them at halftime to come out and play, embrace the physicality of this game. They did for a bit, and then they [Iowa] just kept playing and playing and we worn down.”

On turnovers:
“We weren’t very sound. Of course, some of them were the unforced errors we talked about. Some just gave it away. I tell our guys passing and catching should be a 100 percent kind of thing. It shouldn’t be a 50 percent kind of thing.”

On the season overall:
“I told Jontel [Evans], and I told Doug [Browman] and our senior manager Johnny [Carpenter], ‘walk out of here with your head held high. You left the program in a better place than you found it.’”

“They should feel good about the season. For the inexperience and things that happened this year, there’s certainly some good things. I can acknowledge that with some of the nice wins. Also very realistically, we’ve got to improve.”

On lessons learned from NIT games:
“To play in these settings, to play in a pressure setting in a tournament, and to be able to win a couple games I think was good. For our younger guys to play and to show the signs that they did in this setting was good. To have a chance to try to get to Madison Square Garden, playing in the pressure setting and to be in those situations is very positive. I take that as great opportunity, great experiences for us.”

“Playing teams that are real tough is kind of a gut check, and you realize this is what tournament basketball, desperately trying to advance to something significant, what you need to bring and how it has to be done. There’s some wisdom in that to motivate us to work really hard in the off-season.”

On Iowa guard Roy Devyn Marble:
“They certainly surprised us. I thought they weren’t going to start him at the point, but they did. We were hoping Jontel [Evans] could maybe affect him out at half court, pressure ball.”

“He really can move without the ball, racks those screens, and shoots it well. He’s a good player. I remember his father was a terrific player, and the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. He can score, and run his cuts hard.”

Virginia Senior Guard Jontel Evans

On the game:
“I feel a little down. I am upset with myself. I feel like I didn’t have a great performance at all. I feel like I really let my teammates down. They were really physical to defend on the court and they brought it to us on both end of the courts.”

On the season:
“It is bittersweet. It is sad that this is my last time playing here, ever. It brings joy to my heart that the fans appreciate what I tried to bring to the program. This has been an unbelievable college experience. I could have not chosen a better school or coach to play for. I am very thankful that I decided to play at UVA.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Justin Anderson

On the game:
“It was a tough and hard fought game on both ends. They were very physical and set really hard screens at the beginning of the game. I think that we upped our physicality to match theirs coming into the second half, but it was a big game. Tonight was probably the biggest game I’ve played in all year. We had so much on the line, with it being the seniors last game and a home winning streak, it made me realize what we were really playing for. You have to experience these things to know what true joy feels like in the end.”

On the season:
“Coach talked to the seniors after the game and we all just thanked them. Everyone got emotional and we thanked them for the foundation that they set this year. Those guys are great leaders and have true character. Jontel is such a leader and it hurts losing him. We fought our hearts out and afterward it wasn’t even about the game, but our appreciation for the seniors.”

On the NIT:
“We have to keep fighting. Our program is on the right start and we’re going up. We learned a huge lesson this year about protecting our house. We’re going to learn from this season and prepare for the next.”

Virginia Junior Forward Akil Mitchell:

On Iowa’s physicality:
“They were a really physical team. They really made it one of their priorities to get us off the glass, me especially. They had a couple guys that came in and it felt like there was always somebody in the way and always somebody blocking out. Credit to Iowa, and credit to their coaches for really exploiting us that way.”

On graduating Jontel Evans:
“We’re going to miss his presence in the locker room and on the court. He’s a pitbull. He’s always ready to fight for you: he’s got your back. He’s that guy in the locker room that everybody looks to, not just because he’s a senior, but also because he has that leadership and those qualities. We’re really going to miss him next year.”

Virginia Freshman Forward/Center Mike Tobey:

On his first season as a Cavalier:
“It was definitely exciting to play basketball at the collegiate level. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in college, so the experience of being here and playing has been a highlight. It didn’t necessarily end the way we wanted it to, but my first year has definitely been a great experience.”

On the future:
“It hurts to lose a player like Jontel, but I definitely think next season is going to be good. This year we were a good team too, but the freshmen from this year will have more experience, and next year we’ll have a year under our belt. It will be a good year.”

Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery

On Iowa’s play down the stretch:
“I was thrilled. I thought our offensive execution down the stretch was great. Our spacing, our back-running was good and we executed our sets. Guys made shots, guys made free throws, and guys made passes.”

On the game:
“Obviously we came to a home crowd here and a terrific team, a team that has protected their home floor extremely well. Anything short of this performance we weren’t going to win. We defended [Joe] Harris well. We wanted to play the game in the 70’s if we could get it there, and we did.”

On post defense:
“I thought defensively [Adam] Woodbury was phenomenal all game. We were moving our bigs in, and rotating our smaller bigs in. even when [Gabriel] Olaseni was in there he didn’t play great, but was effective defensively. [Mike] Tobey got away from us a little bit, but overall it was good.”

On Justin Anderson
“I really like [Justin] Anderson. I think he’s going to be a tremendous player. He’s got an inside-outside game and when he’s making threes he’s really tough. He’s a handful. When he’s on the floor you have to figure out what to do with him, and figure out whom to put on him.”

Iowa Junior Guard Roy Devyn Marble

On the game:
“We wanted it bad. We were taking it one step at a time and this was just another stepping-stone. We knew Virginia was going to come out and play tough and they had their winning streak in front of their crowd. We knew what we had to do, we were mentally focused, and we got the W.”

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