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Dec. 21, 2014

Recap | Box Score | Notes | USA Today media_icon_photogallery.gif

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the game:
“I think we were sharp. Harvard is a lot better than they showed. Mike Tobey got us off to great start offensively, and defensively we were ready. We prepared well this week in practice and had great respect for Harvard, but you could see they were sluggish and had one of their poorer games. Early on, we were right defensively and making some good shots, which was a bad recipe for Harvard. We challenged our guys not to give Harvard anything easy, and the few easy ones they got, they struggled with. I challenged our guys to play hard and have respect for how Harvard has played. I don’t want to take away from how ready our players were and how great the fans were.”

On Harvard:
“Tommy Amaker has done such a good job building that program over the years. That is the good and bad of sports. You feel like you are ready when you are not. You never expect your team to come out like that. They had a long break and just took finals, so I understand that. Similarly, I knew we would be ready but I didn’t know we would be that ready. It was just the way it came together. We are just working on playing the game regardless of the score, and we know we will need to keep playing at a level like this to be successful.”

On taking out Mike Tobey early in the first half :
“He was getting tired and he picked up a foul. I didn’t want him picking up a quick second, so we took him out. We had some foul trouble with our big guys, but he had a great stint and got us off to a great start. I am glad he had 10 rebounds, too.

On preparing for Harvard’s Wesley Saunders:
“We worked hard in practice trying to be disciplined in our slides and not getting faked. Saunders is really clever in his pump fakes. Our size and our length at that guard position is a nice luxury going against a big guard like that. Every shot he took was contested. For the most part Malcolm Brogdon and Mariel Shayok didn’t fall for his fakes. When your shot is off, it is hard having that kind of length on you. He just was off. You could see that they all were. They were not playing the way they usually would.”

On scoring:
“We talk about being sound and making good decisions. Offensively, you need to score in different ways. Yes, in your half court offense, but also offensive rebounding, at the free throw line, and some of those easy ones to break up buckets. We were stalling in one game and decided we needed to get up the court faster. If you have a good shot take it, but make a good decisions. Some of the strong guards can get in the lane and get those extra points.”

Harvard Head Coach Tommy Amaker

Opening statement:
“Certainly, a disappointing effort by our team, but none the less a very well-played game by Virginia. I thought they were terrific in every facet; their size, their length, going inside. At the beginning of the game, Mike Tobey had a great performance. There was great efficiency by Virginia, and I think the big guys had an outstanding game down low. We certainly were disappointed in our offensive production and efficiency. They are an outstanding defensive team, and we’ve known that, and everyone knows that by how well they played this afternoon. Nothing but praise for a job well done by an outstanding basketball team.”

On Getting Started Offensively:
“We were hopeful that we could break through and come away from a few possessions without hanging our head. Sometimes, it’s hard to get that energy on the other end when you start to sulk and hang your head a little bit. That’s normal human nature, especially when our best offensive player had a very tough afternoon.”

On Malcolm Brogdon’s defense:
“Malcolm is a terrific all-around player, with the length and certainly the ability to clog the lane. There weren’t very many open lanes for us to drive, and we couldn’t get by him as easily as we would have liked. I thought they did a terrific job of hedging ball screens and being very aggressive. We didn’t get many opportunities, and the ones that we did get we didn’t cash in on. I think we were nine for 22 from the foul line, and we need to take better advantage of those opportunities.”

On the long break:
“It is always a challenging time with the exam break. We knew this would be a monumental challenge, but I told my guys Virginia had exams as well. We just need to get better from this afternoon, have a nice holiday, and come back for our next opportunity.”

On playing big games:
“We have had success and played in big games. We have been in hostile environments. We were not going to be fazed or intimidated. We have a great deal of respect for their team and their success, but I wanted our kids to have a sense of confidence. They should have confidence, and I am confident that our kids will bounce back.”

Virginia Junior Center Mike Tobey

On UVa’s defensive execution:
“I think we just did a good job really executing our game plan. We practiced pretty hard for Harvard and prepared a good game plan, and I think we did a good job executing it.”

On his hot start:
“I think that every game we need to go to whoever’s getting hot, and I was hot in the beginning so I saw the ball more.”

What this game means going forward:
“Defensively, this has to be our standard now. We did a great job executing our defensive game plan. Harvard is a great team, preseason top-25 and very talented, but I think we did a good job holding them.”

On the first half:
“It was crazy. That’s the lowest we’ve held a team in a half since I’ve been here and it was a really cool feeling, especially after watching the Kentucky-UCLA game yesterday. That was something that we wanted to do, too.”

Virginia Junior Forward Evan Nolte

On the fast start:
“We were just moving the ball. We came out really ready to play and I think we had our rhythm going early, and never came down in the first half. When everyone’s unselfish like that and when we play like that on the defensive end, we get them frustrated and then start wearing them down.”

On the team’s demeanor:
“I thought we were going to be ready to play. It’s the game before break and everyone’s excited, it’s at noon so you wake up and play instead of waiting all day. I thought we were going to be ready, but I didn’t know it was going to be like that.”

On the defensive effort:
“We love to see it. We take so much pride in our defense, at the end of the games we’ll say, `don’t let them get “x” number of points’. We’re just really excited because that’s what we’re all about. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re holding teams to lower points and on the offensive end, taking advantages of our opportunities.”

Virginia Senior Forward Darion Atkins

On Virginia continuing to push during the second half:
“Coach (Bennett) said do not let up. He said do not be mistaken. This is the hardest part going into break. We had a great lead going in and he wanted us to finish strong.”

On 11-0 start to the season:
“That’s definitely where we want to be going into Christmas Break. Who wouldn’t want to be in this spot?”

On UVa’s defensive performance:
“This was probably the best one. We shut them down. I don’t know if they just didn’t bring it today, but we held them to eight points for a while, and they kind of got it going in the second half. We haven’t had a defensive performance like this in a while.”

Virginia Junior Guard Malcolm Brogdon

On leading by such a large margin against a team who was ranked in the top-25 preseason poll:
“I think we are playing at a very high level right now. We have guys who have all bought into the system, and our defense leads into our offense. I think Coach Bennett gives us the confidence to go out there and shoot the ball, and play with confidence.”

On covering Harvard Senior Guard Wesley Saunders:
“I was always going to cover him. There was no debate. I think he’s a very good player. He likes to put the ball down and get to the paint. Then he likes to spin-off, pump fake, and get you up in the air. He’s very crafty. So, I just tried to stay down on his pump fake and try to contain him, and try to make him shoot over the top of me.”

On Mike Tobey’s start:
“It definitely takes us to another level. I think when Mike can come out like that he can be the key most nights for us. If he can just come out and be physical. It’s not even just for him scoring points. If Mike can come out and have a presence, whether that’s blocking shots, scoring, or rebounding. Tonight he was doing it all. I thought he was tremendous.”

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