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Dec. 4, 2013

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett Quotes

On the offense:
“I thought we lost our composure a little bit. We had some opportunities to finish, but we didn’t. I think Wisconsin did to us, in a way, what we did to them last year. Last year we outlasted them a little bit. When it mattered, they were sounder, more poised, and made plays.”

On playing inside:
“There are times we had some looks to throw it inside and we were unwilling to just pound it inside and make them guard us in there, so that maybe our other big guy could get on the glass. I don’t know how many times we were up there to grab a ball and just couldn’t. We didn’t have quite as many opportunities for Mike [Tobey] or Anthony [Gill].”

On the defense:

“I like to have either Darion [Atkins] or Akil [Mitchell] out there because they give us mobility. They both were very good last year. Defensively they are quick and good on the glass. They cover ball-screens and can get back. Anthony defensively is a little behind right now compared to those two. Our defense softened a little bit. A break down in this game was detrimental, we just could not afford it and just could not capitalize offensively.”

On missed shots:
“We look at the quality of shots, and talked about trying to go inside. We were fairly patient. Sometimes guys got right in front of the rim. We tried to say get to the line, but it seemed like nothing was working. We told them to stay in there, don’t let down defensively, you will get a good look and get things going, but it just didn’t happen tonight.”

On Joe Harris’ shooting:
“He got a couple of looks. One was over the basket, which he usually doesn’t do. He said ‘my shots are not working so I am going to try to put my head down’ – and that wasn’t working. They were waiting for him in the lane and sealing every alley to the rim. They made him shoot a lot of contested shots. He was a bit out of sorts largely due to their defense, but I think he would agree that he was not where he needed to be.”

On playing Wisconsin:
“I knew playing Wisconsin you are going to have to work to get stuff. They are going to be patient. They were more patient tonight than I have seen them all year. Our defense was set and we made them work, but they are not going to beat themselves. We have some warts as every team does, and when all of the guys go cold at once it is hard. Our depth was not what it has been so far.”

Virginia Player quotes

Forward Akil Mitchell

On the offensive performance:
“It was frustrating offensively, things just weren’t working for us out there.”

On the overall team’s struggles:
“Everyone is going to through slumps and you are going to have cold streaks some nights. We were trying to force a little too much and we got outside what we do best. It happens sometimes.”

On Joe Harris:
“It happens, guys have off nights. It wasn’t just Joe though, it was everybody forcing the issue.”

On losing to ranked teams (VCU/Wisconsin):
“We have to face every opponent like they are a ranked team. It was two good teams that we lost to, and two teams that we thought we should have beaten, but we just fell short so we now need to move on to the next one.”

Guard Joe Harris

On the offensive performance:
“Credit to Wisconsin, I thought they did a nice job defensively. They did not overwhelm me with their defensive pressure, they were very sound, a fundamentally solid defensive team.

On Wisconsin’s game plan coming into the game:
“We will go back, watch the tape and see where we went wrong. But I think that we got out toughed and outworked. It was similar to what we did to them last year in Wisconsin, making it tough on them defensively, having them grind. They came in and did the exact same thing to us.”

Wisconsin Bo Ryan Head Coach Quotes

On the winning the game:
“When I first started competing with my sister – we used to play jacks. The first game I ever played was throwing a ball up in the air, letting it hit, grab those jacks, because she’s older than me and that’s what we played. I played it to win and I didn’t care how. So when you say are we glad that we won, we’re on the left side. It was so hard to get good looks and even when we did get looks they were hurried. It was two teams just beating people to positions, rotating, making it difficult to get easy baskets. There were not a lot of easy baskets in that game.”

On game pace:
“You need to try to make sure that they don’t get any back to back three-point baskets or things like that – even though the crowd helped them and they made some free throws. We were trying to block their progress to the rim and a couple fouls were called so that’s the way it is. They got back [in the game] by making some free throws too and that was a big part of that. We came up dry on a few of our possessions and that hurt and the crowd was ribbing us, the way it should be, and we were able to get it back just by staying solid.”

On what Dick Bennett would think about the performance:
“I don’t know. I’m thinking about what my dad is thinking. He passed away at the end of August. You would have to ask Tony what Dick is thinking. We play defense our way and it is highly influenced by Bobby Knight, for me. I’ve been doing things from a clinic that I saw with him in 1972, with a few tweaks here and there. Dick was a great defense coach and Tony is a great defensive coach. It was hard out there.”

On field goal percentage:
“This sets a record. The lowest game [previously] that I have ever been a part of as a coach and we shot 29 percent and won the game. The reason we did that was we fouled out three players. We got their bigs in trouble foul wise and hit 28-of-32 at the free throw line and I said ‘Boy we will never be involved in a game like that again where we shoot under 30% and win. I was wrong.”

On Ben Brust:
“He’s sneaky. He is a scooter and he saw it open and they were covering so well. Ben certainly wasn’t going to be able to get that pass and he had to take it to the rim because everybody else was covered.”

On why he thinks they won:
“I think some of those shots that they missed they are going to make. Maybe the percentages caught up to them a little bit. They were shooting so well. There are games sometimes, both ways, we both shot it poorly and not because we are inefficient offenses. Look at our offenses coming in and we played some pretty good teams. These kind of games happen and you just have to survive.”

On defending Harris:
“Josh defers a lot of credit, and that’s the way we are, but he’s the one that was the one chasing him and trying to put him in to positions to try and make him uncomfortable – but we tried to make him uncomfortable last year and Josh wasn’t playing – but some other guys did and he made some tough shots last year.”

On different game pace:
“To finish on the plus side, absolutely. We had been shooting fairly well – but you can’t rely on that all the time. Defense is what got it done for us tonight.”

Wisconsin Guard Josh Gasser

On the win:
“I’m pretty happy we won that way. It’s a great accomplishment obviously, and I’m just really happy to be a part of it and to come in here and get a win against a really good team.”

On Joe Harris:
“He’s a great player. I just tried my best out there and not give him any easy looks and fight through screens. They set a lot of screens for him. It was a great team effort on him. Usually he makes a lot of those shots, but today he didn’t.”

On facing Virginia again after last season’s defeat:
“We’ve been thinking a lot about last year, which was unacceptable. I think we wanted to come down here and play hard, play tough. I wanted to bring a little bit of that, and everyone else seemed to do the same thing, and it worked out.

On winning a close game:
“We have been working pretty hard the past few weeks-and we needed it. It’s good to get a win like that, because come Big Ten season and in March a lot of games will be like that.”

On Coach Ryan’s 300th victory:
“It’s a great accomplishment and I’m glad to be a part of it, and to come in here and get a win against a really good team.”

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