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Feb. 28, 2015

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On Virginia’s 12-0 run:
“We needed to do that. Virginia Tech battled hard and did a good job. As you can see, when we played them there, they have four guys, sometimes five, who can all put it on the floor and they stretch you out. You’re playing against guards, so there are some tough matchups. They hit some tough shots, and a couple of those shots that [Adam] Smith hit you had to live with. I thought we responded in the second half with our defensive tenacity and soundness and then made some big baskets. It always comes down to guys making a big shot, getting a big stop, a few blocks. I thought Isaiah [Wilkins] gave us a nice lift defensively because of their mobility, that’s why I went with him, and I needed to give Anthony [Gill] a rest.”

On London taking his facemask off for the second half:
“At half time he decided to take off his mask. There was a play at the end of the first half down in the corner where he was diving for the ball, and there was a jump ball and I think he might have re-broken his nose so he just said, `screw it, I’m going to play without the mask,’ and he banged out a few threes. It’s such a delicate thing, a broken nose, but it was tough of him to respond like that, and just step up out there and play. We needed everything he had for sure.”

On both teams’ rebounding:
“They got nine offensive rebounds, they shot nineteen threes, and we shot thirteen. There are going to be some long rebounds, but they did get a few. We always try to get on the glass against them. We feel like if they’re going to play that small, then we have to try to capitalize on it. I think we got a couple of key offensive rebounds. We probably didn’t hurt them as much as I thought we would, but the fact that we knocked down a shot, Evan [Nolte] hitting his big shot, and London [Perrantes], we needed that because they condense and jam the lane so much. You have to hit some outside shots and sometimes our best offense against the zone was to just throw it up there and get the offensive rebound. I thought Darion [Atkins] was pretty active, Anthony is always active and Mike [Tobey] didn’t play much but he had a couple offensive rebounds.”

On the success of the past two seasons:
“I’m thankful for sure. I read a quote to our guys after the game in the locker room and I think it captured this group as well as anybody. A guy sent it to me a couple of days ago in an email and he said that when he was coming up as a coach, his philosophy was about this. When I read it I said, `that is these guys.’ The quote says, `it’s amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.’ If that doesn’t embody these guys, in terms of their ability to play for each other, to be unselfish, to do the dirty work and then to see what they’ve accomplished.”

On the team’s ability to reach its goals:
“We had our sights on trying to at least be good in the conference season and see if we could do it again, and we at least got a piece of that, we’ve got a couple more games to try to get something out-right. So I’m very thankful because these guys have just bought in, played their guts out and it’s contribution of everybody, from Coach [Mike] Curtis, our strength coach, to Ethan Saliba with all the injuries, and the players, we call them the `green machine,’ the scout team, all the staff. That’s pretty special. Did I expect it? Probably not. Am I very thankful? Absolutely. To be a part of it at an institution like this is what I had hoped for, and I’m glad at least that we’re in this part of our goals in the conference season. We stepped to it and we weren’t afraid to go get it.”

On Darion Atkins’ senior night:
“Very good effort tonight. I don’t know if he should’ve gotten the T, I guess he pulled up on the rim, I probably lost my cool a little bit on that one, I just didn’t want that moment to be taken away. But, his mobility and becoming effective with his offensive touches and moves is significant. He’s really embraced that defensive stopper to blow up ball screens, block shots, and bother them. He’s really bought in. I’m so proud of him because his story is a really good story. Darion, to wait his turn, and then look at this. I’m not saying he didn’t want to play more early on, but to experience what he has gotten to experience in this last year, I’d think he would say some of the hardship was worth it to be in this spot. Obviously, there is more to go but that means a lot for me. That’s what you coach for, to see those stories happen.”

Virginia Forward Darion Atkins

On the technical foul:
“Yes, I think I deserved it. It was intentional. I’m not going to hold onto the rim again, but I wasn’t going to let them steal my moment. I was glad I finished it in that way. It was fun.”

On 4-point game then pulling away:
“We were patient on offense. Coach Bennett drilled our defensive principles and we just abided by those. We pounded it inside because they couldn’t really guard us there. We also took really great shots. That was what helped us pull away.”

On having London Perrantes back:
“It makes a big difference. He is really experienced and a great point guard. He is one of the best in the country. He throws our offense down and gets guys open, so having him back was really good for us.”

Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon

On having London Perrantes back:
“It was huge to have him back. He is the motor to our offense and getting him back is getting the train running again.”

On 3-pointer to give UVa a 7-point lead:
“It is a play we have; the out-of-bounds under play. If I have the shot I’m supposed to take it, but I think I had air-balled the one before at the top of the key. So I decided if I have the shot, then I’m going to shoot it with confidence. And thank goodness it went in.”

On the season:
“It means a lot and this has been a huge season. It is really a blessing to be in this position for all of us. Then to be playing the type of basketball we are playing, but at the same time we can’t get caught up in that. We have to take this one game at a time, and now we are thinking about Syracuse and what we have to do to go up there and be successful.”

On Darion Atkins:
“The word I would use to describe Darion [Atkins] is tenacious. He perseveres through so much. He didn’t play as much his freshman year and then as he has gotten older and more mature he has started playing so much. And now he is the key to a lot of our wins this season. I think his growth has been phenomenal and his growth as a player and as a man in college is more than I have seen out of anybody before.”

Virginia Guard London Perrantes

On taking off his mask for the second half:
“I felt like I re-broke my nose, so I just threw it off. I thought, it’s broken so it’s not protecting anything anymore. It wasn’t too bad with the mask, but after that happened I thought there was no point in wearing it.”

On how he re-broke his nose:
“I dove on the floor and the mask shifted, and my nose just went with it.”

On Darion Atkins’ big night:
“It was huge. All the work he put into this program to be where he is now, and for him to go out in his last game like that is huge. I told him that we wanted to get this win for him and all of the other seniors, and we did and we went out with a bang.”

On playing well in his first game back from injury:
“I felt like I was a little rusty, especially in practice. I only practiced once, yesterday before the game. To have that mask on and to just get back into it, you know coming off of a concussion is not fun. I definitely felt a little rusty.”

Virginia Forward Anthony Gill

On the team’s performance:
“We played well. At times we had some lapses, and the defense kind of faltered a little bit but we overcame it and came out with a win tonight.”

On changing his style of play:
“I think being more aggressive is what I have been trying to do lately, especially because we have some guys out. I’m just trying to be as aggressive as I can and help the team.”

On Virginia Tech’s strengths as a team:
“Their defense is really confusing. You’re not sure what is about to happen. They have some ball screen action that is really tough to guard, too. They had that one really good shooter, [Adam Smith], who jumps really high and usually goes in, and that really keeps them in games.”

On being 27-1:
“It’s crazy. I feel like we just started. I feel like we just had the JMU game. But you know, we’re here now and still have a lot of the season left to go. Unfortunately, this was the last home game. It was an emotional night for Darion [Atkins], Rob [Vozenilek] and Maleek [Frazier] and all of our managers. It’s good for us to be in the position that we’re in. We had a lot of injuries, but I think those guys are recovering. I think we’re about to start peaking at the right time.”

Virginia Tech Head Coach Buzz Williams

On the difference in the second half that allowed Virginia to pull away:
“I think the most separation happened after the under eight media timeout. It was a four-point game after Satchel [Hill] made those two free throws. They had an out-of-bounds where we were switching and had some miscommunication, so they made a three. Then we came back on the other end and had a turnover. That ignited a 12-2 run. That was the separation right there.”

On limited bench production compared to the game against Duke:
“We only scored 57 points tonight, so part of it would be that there weren’t as many possessions against Virginia. Part of it was that they’re a very good defensive team and those kids didn’t play the same number of minutes that they did the other night.”

On the shooting difference compared to the teams’ previous meeting:
“I thought we played really well defensively in the first half. Through the first ten minutes of the second half I thought we played fairly well. We gave them too many layups. I thought [Anthony] Gill was phenomenal. He’s a really hard matchup for us. I thought [Malcolm] Brogdon played really well.”

On the being able to rebound competitively:
“We’ve been bad on the glass all year, as well as with turnover percentage. I think we’re improving. I think this was the first time we’ve won on the glass. But when [Virginia] shoots 61% in the second half, there’s not as many rebounds to get.

On Virginia’s defense:
“If you study their numbers, there are a lot of threats they pose defensively and fifty-seven points is a lot of points versus Virginia. They’re arguably the best defensive half-court team in the country.”

Virginia Tech Guard Ahmed Hill

On Virginia’s two big runs in the second half:
“I feel like they knocked down every big shot they took. It was tough coming off of every screen. We contested well in the first half, but in the second half they hit all of their shots. Credit goes to them for that. We kept telling ourselves to just get one stop, but then they would come down and hit a big shot or a dunk.”

On Virginia’s defense:
“They overextend help on the white line and do it more aggressively than we do. Every time we had an open shot someone was there to contest it.”

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