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Dec. 23, 2013

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the bench:
“I was impressed with Anthony [Gill] after not using him in the first half. I could hear him on the bench cheering and he came in ready and gave us a great lift. Akil [Mitchell] played well and gave us a nice lift. Tevin’s [Jones] quickness helped us guard the ball. The lifts from those guys were nice to see.”

On turnovers:
“We had 12 turnovers. To start the way we did in the second half was unacceptable. It looked like we were just messing around. I got after Malcolm [Brogdon] at the end because we have had situations like that where we just hand the ball away and there needs to be some accountability for that. During that stretch to start the second half and little bit at the end we were far enough ahead that it didn’t cost, but we are going to have to clean that up. We don’t have to be perfect, but we need to eliminate those turnovers.”

On not starting Akil Mitchell:
“He reacted how I wanted him to. He played well and played how he needed to play. He gave us a nice lift and stayed within himself. He defended and rebounded and tried to finish well. That is what matters – how you respond.”

On choosing whom to play:
“I played 10 guys tonight and had been playing nine. I wanted to shorten the rotation and play eight, but ended up playing 10. I think they are all capable and each game dictates something different. There are different matchups that call for different players. Everyone wants to play. We have solid young men who have good character and are competitive. I tell them that they have a responsibility to put the team before themselves. It is okay to be frustrated, but when you step between the lines for practice or games you need to give great effort and do whatever you can to help the team.”

On wins thus far:
“The difference between this team and last year’s team is that we have won some games not playing our best basketball, or we have had certain guys struggle. We have been doing well lately, but we can still play better. We haven’t played our best basketball but have found ways to win. We will need to improve to keep up in our league. I am encouraged but hopeful we will take another step.”

Virginia Forward Akil Mitchell

On the game:
“Even tonight, I don’t think we played nearly as well as we could have. They got in the paint entirely too easy. Between missing free throws and some of the defensive lapses, we let them back into the game. We definitely still have some things to sure up. As the season goes along we’ll get that done.”

On his free throw struggles:
“For me, personally, it’s just a matter of rebuilding my confidence. I let my injury this summer affect me. I got out of my rhythm, but I felt better tonight. It goes in and out, but it’s definitely building.”

On coming off the bench for the first time this season:
“I’ve been struggling lately. It’s something every player goes through. I’m not bothered by it too much and when I get in I only care about winning.”

Virginia Forward Anthony Gill

On sitting out the first half:
“It was fine. I sat down and talked with Coach Bennett and he told me just to be ready. I trust him one hundred percent, and whatever he wants me to do, I’ll do for him. I’ll run through a wall for him, and he wanted me to sit out the first half, which I was fine with.”

On his time on the bench:
“My teammates are like my brothers and if I see one of them out there struggling I want them to know I have their back, and if they’re doing well I want to praise them for it, because if I was in that spot I would want that same thing.”

On his impact when in the game:
“I think one of my strengths is scoring the basketball. That’s all I wanted to do when I got in the game and that was help my team any way I could.”

Norfolk State Head Coach Robert Jones

On UVa 9-0 run in the second half run:
“They got a lot of foul calls. It was more our fault. The things we were doing well to close the gap just got away from us. I don’t know if it was fatigue or what, but we made some mental mistakes down the stretch.”

On playing in close games over and over:
“We have seen that the game is never over. We were down to Boston with two minutes left and came back to win that game. We were beating [East] Carolina with seven minutes left and ended up losing that game. We have seen first hand that the game is never over and we try to get our guys to play that way – whether we are winning or losing, the game is never over.”

On the pace of their game:
“We weren’t planning on a slow pace. Their defense did a good job of keeping us out of the playing area. Once we got into the playing area we were able to do some things that we normally do, but for the most part they kept us out of our usual playing area.”

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