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Feb. 22, 2015

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the hard-fought win:
“It sure was hard-fought. We talked before the game that who ever wants this will get it. It’s the time of year when it’s more about the effort, whether you’re the road team or the home team. And they wanted it, especially in the first half. But, I thought our guys just found a way. When London [Perrantes] went out and Malcolm [Brogdon] for a bit, we challenged the rest of our guys to dig down deep. And I thought we won it with our defense, and not our free-throw shooting. There were enough stops and it was what we had to do. I thought our guys responded well in a tough situation. And the crowd was, once again, special.

On flashback to last year when Joe Harris got a concussion:
“I forgot about that, but that was the first game of the ACC last year. When you see the two guys that are arguably very significant for our success and have done a good job, both go down it’s not good. I don’t know yet, I saw London’s nose and it didn’t look like where it should be. I assume he broke his nose, but we don’t know for sure yet. They will do the x-rays and look at that, but it was a hard collision. I don’t know if they stitched up Malcolm, but he came back out. It was just one of those games. It was, as we like to say, a blue-collar affair.”

On Xavier Rathan-Mayes and player assignments in the second half:
“You can see that if he [Rathan-Mayes] gets a clean look he has a great chance of scoring. I thought we did a better job in the second half on him, except for right after Malcolm [Brogdon] came back out after his stitches and he put his hand down and he made a shot. I thought we did a good job of shadowing him off the ball screen. Most of the time it was Darion [Atkins] or Anthony [Gill] who really stayed with him and tried to force him to go away from the hoop or get it out of his hands. Then we would try to really dig down and get hands in and contest the shots. We wouldn’t give them too many uncontested looks. There was a stretch where they got some offensive rebounds, but it was a hard-fought game. I know it wasn’t pretty, but you have to do what you have to do and the boys really rallied today.”

On Darion Atkins:
“We were having a hard time getting the ball inside. I thought Florida State did a really good job. They were fronting the post or three-quartering it, so we couldn’t quite get it inside. But over the course of the game, our guys started to loosen up a bit so we could make some passes inside. We told our bigs to step off the lane a little more to get a catch. We needed to get it inside during that stretch and have someone make some plays like Anthony [Gill] and Darion [Atkins] did. Darion [Atkins] was trying to pivot, spin and lift them up and those were huge plays. Then on the other end defensively, I thought he was really good.”

Virginia Guard Malcolm Brogdon

On the collision he had with London Perrantes:
“London’s man had the ball. He started dribbling toward mine. They were about to hand it off. How we play that is London steps back and I get through [the screen], but it was so jammed I don’t even remember. I just remember hitting heads. I was trying to avoid him and I’m sure he was trying to avoid me, but it was happening too fast.”

On his emotions following the collision:
“I felt bad knowing that his nose was broken because I knew he got the worse end of the deal for sure. We will bounce back and recover.”

On getting a hard-fought win:
“That is a very talented, well coached Florida State team. They are big, athletic and long. So, it is definitely an accomplishment to beat a team like that with some guys down.”

Senior Forward Darion Atkins

On running offense without London Perrantes:
“In the very beginning we get rattled, and we just had to adjust. I think we adjusted really well, and A.G. (Anthony Gill) led us the rest of the way.”

On the nature of games against Florida State:
“They are a really physical team. We knew they were going to play like that. We just have to match their physicality. It doesn’t really matter what happens on the court as long as we get the job done.”

On returning to the game:
“I was actually really surprised when [Malcolm Brogdon] came back. I thought we were going to have to play without him and London [Perrantes], but when he came back I was relieved. If we didn’t have him, I still think we would’ve finished it the right way.”

Freshman Guard Marial Shayok

On playing without London Perrantes:
“I wouldn’t say it screws us up. Obviously, he is a great player and with him gone you’re missing a lot because he can pretty much run the team. I think we did a good job of continuing to play hard without him.”

On entering the game with Devon Hall after the collision:
“We both knew that we had to step up. That is what Coach Bennett has been emphasizing all year: next man up. We both came in prepared.”

On the game:
“It showed a lot about our chemistry. We all try to lift each other up even when we’re not playing. We all work equally hard at practice, and when the time comes we are all ready.”

On Malcom Brogdon’s return:
“It definitely gave us a lift, and that shows how tough he is.”

On the defense:
“We have great bigs, so any game with or without our guards scoring inside is big for us. With Malcolm [Brogdon] and London [Perrantes] out, Darion Atkins really stepped up and had a few good post moves to score.”

On the next game against Wake Forest:
“It’s just like any other game: try to win, try to play hard, remember who we are and continue to play our basketball.”

Virginia Forward Anthony Gill

On the game:
“They are a physical team and that was a physical game. Last year it may have been more physical but today seemed worse with London [Perrantes] and Malcolm [Brogdon] getting hurt, but they just ran into each other so besides that it wasn’t as bad.”

On the team’s free throw struggles:
“Me personally: I’m going through something for sure. However, I’m not too worried about it, I know that my shots are going to fall. I trust my shot, I’ve been working on it all year, and it is going to go in so I’m not too concerned about it.”

On Malcolm Brogdon’s return:
“I knew he would be back. His head is big and very muscular. London found out tonight how big Malcolm’s head is.”

On the team’s offensive struggles:
“We just need to rely more on our defense in those situations when our shots aren’t falling. It doesn’t matter if we are not making our shots, all that matters is our defense. If we keep playing defense, we are going to stay in the game regardless of what is happening on the offensive end.”

On losing London:
“Obviously, he is a big part of our offense. I also think that we have a lot of great players that can come in. We got to see Marial Shayok and Devon Hall a lot tonight, so it is a good sign that we have those kinds of players that are able to step up like they did tonight.”

Florida State Coach Leonard Hamilton

On the game:
“Virginia came out in the second half and executed very well. They put us on our heels early in the half, and were shooting very well. I thought they did a tremendous job defending us. The difference in the game was that when we defended them well they had some guys come up with big plays. [Darion] Atkins and [Malcolm] Brogdon created big shots and willed them to victory.”

On Virginia’s response to losing Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes:
“That’s just the nature of the game. When you lose a player for any reason, guys just have to step up. When the game is on the line, you need guys to step up and make plays. I thought Atkins made two big baskets. Had he missed those then things might have been different, but since he had the experience and made them they were able to get some points.”

On Virginia’s defense:
“Virginia is consistently, year in and year out, one of the best defensive teams in the country. They do a great job of taking away certain aspects of the game. Tonight, I was very proud of our guys. We executed and moved the ball well. We had opportunities. Tonight, their experience just stepped up and they made plays.”

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