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Jan. 12, 2016

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Virginia Game Notes
No. 13 Virginia 66, No. 8 Miami 58
Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On lead changes and taking control:
“To be honest with you, we never took control. We took a step in the right directions in terms of our physicality, our mindset and our patience, but we have a lot of work to do. We have a ways to go, but we’ll just keep grinding away. That’s how we do it. [Angel] Rodriguez is as quick as they come. He got to the lane at will on us and we had no answer. We have to be better than that. But again, good team that is very capable. I like how our guys responded with some physicality and we made plays, but we have work to do.”

On making shots over getting stops:
“No we can’t accept that as an identity. You accept that and you’re done. You have to fight to make it hard. We didn’t do a good job with stops and again they are absolutely very hard to guard. We have had trouble with that, but we have to clean things up and get better. I’m the wrong guy if we get that attitude because it won’t work. Our guys have to fight and we’ll figure it out. Thank goodness the crowd was fired up, but our guys have to understand that if we have any notion of good we got it, then we are on the wrong path. Our guys have to keep fighting to get better and better. We are going on the road next and we haven’t been good on the road, so we need to take another step to figure out what we’re made out of.”

On the starting lineup:
“We are searching. I thought we started the game with toughness and a defensive mindset. We got beat a couple of times, but we bothered at the rim and grabbed some tough rebounds. We are certainly searching for the right rotations and no one is clear-cut. We will keep working to find the right numbers. Sometimes matchups have something to do with it, but we are certainly searching for the right mix.”

On defense:
“I thought we did an ok job. We just have to keep coming. We are a work in progress, and you always are defensively, but it’s a mindset and we have to keep working. Sheldon McClellan is very strong and very athletic. He can rise up and do some things. At times we kept him in front and bothered, but they got to the rim uncontested and off the ball screen we couldn’t choke. They missed sometimes more than we stopped them. But, we had enough stops and big plays. Again, I am very thankful for the win, please don’t mistake that because I know we needed it, but I know what’s looking us in the eye and I’m realistic.”

Virginia Junior Guard London Perrantes

On struggling to make big stops, but making big plays offensively:
“I think we did get some big stops. That’s how we went up. We had to get some stops and make big shots as well. In previous games we had trouble rebounding, but we had some big rebounds tonight. We worked on rebounding a lot in practice and that showed tonight. They made some tough stops and got to the lane a lot, but we did all we could and we fought hard.”

On playing at home (any pregame changes):
“We had less time to warm up in order to give us more energy, but the crowd is really what gives us energy. Playing here is a difference maker in itself.”

On scoring in primarily the 2nd half:
“I just wanted to get a win and get off on the right start. I wanted to play some good defense in the first half and bring a lot of energy. In the first half, I wanted to get other people involved and get their confidence up early, and then my shots would come in the second half.”

Virginia Senior Guard Malcom Brogdon

On struggling to make big stops, but making big plays offensively:
“I think our identity still lies in our defense. It’s going to be our defense that wins games down the stretch. It allows us to be successful, but some days it unfortunately isn’t there like we need it to be, and our offense steps up. I thought we were able to get big shots from everybody tonight, but there is no question that our defense is what will allow us to be successful.”

On Senior leadership, coming off two losses, and new lineups:
“It is definitely a great responsibility. I wouldn’t say it’s a burden, I would say it’s a blessing. This is what Anthony [Gill] and I are built for. I think we’ve been able to stay positive and carry the load as leaders. Most of us haven’t experienced two losses in a row in years, so we had to stay positive. We kept talking to each other and kept encouraging each other during practices. There was never a lack of energy or negativity in practice.”

On the level of ACC play:
“The teams get better every year. There are guys who have matured every year, just like I have. The ACC gets the best talent every year, it has some of the best coaches, and it’s just going to keep getting better and better. Since we converted with the Big East, I think it is the best conference in the country.”

Virginia Senior Forward Anthony Gill

On getting a win after two consecutive losses:
“It was a good win for us. Losing those last two games, we were not playing Virginia basketball, and that is not what we do. Just coming out there and really focusing in on moving them, making them work, and really trying to get back to what we do, it felt really good.”

On if there was any pressure to win following two consecutive losses:
“No, a lot of people have been saying, ‘Oh no, Virginia basketball is going downhill,’ and stuff like that, but all we can do is worry about ourselves. We understand that there are ups and downs in this game, and that we just have to go out there and keep knocking, so that is what we did.”

Virginia Senior Center Mike Tobey

On Tony Bennett‘s frustration with defense and the team’s outlook of the win:
“We were happy to just get the win, but then when coach came into the locker room he was definitely intense about the defensive end. He is right because we cannot get comfortable. We got comfortable in the past and we dropped two games, so we cannot get comfortable.”

On the impact of the crowd:
“I think it is always nice to play at home with the crowd and also just being at your home gym definitely helps.”

On what Tony Bennett preached to the team following the game:
“He just said that we played poorly defensively, especially with their guards, they’re quick. We all knew that, but yeah, he was definitely upset about how we played defense.”

Miami Head Coach Jim Larrañaga

On the game as a whole:
“I told the team before the game that this was a game of who could execute better, especially down the stretch. Unfortunately for us, it was them. They got to the foul line way too often in the second half. We did not get to the foul line, and when we did, we didn’t make our free throws, going 10 for 17, and the team has been shooting 75 percent or better this season. So, you can’t afford to miss those opportunities.

In the first half, I thought we defended them pretty well, but we didn’t finish the defensive possession with a rebound. [Mike] Tobey came in and did a great job. [Anthony] Gill did a great job on the offensive boards. He had nine second-chance points. That was the difference in the first half. I thought in the second half we almost tied the game up. When we were down one point after just two or three possessions, but then in the last 10 minutes, we missed some open threes that I think were great shots. UVA deserves the credit. They made the free throws; they got the offensive rebounds and out-rebounded us by eight. That was the difference in the game.”

On the level of defense played:
“Both teams are very good defensively. I think being at home; maybe a little bit more comfortable and confident, playing in front of the hometown fans (they are now 8-0 at home this season) helped them. Our guys, we normally shoot better than 42 percent and 27 percent from three [point range]. We needed to get better production from our team, and we only had three guys in double figures. Normally, we have four and sometimes five. And our bench, which has been very productive for us, didn’t give us a whole lot tonight.”

On UVA’s London Perrantes:
“I think he is just a terrific player who loves playing against Miami. He has averaged 21 points per game against us in his career. I thought Angel Rodriguez did a fantastic job on him and yet he hit those two big shots, one right after the other. What was really crucial is he went to the foul line and made six out of six from the foul line. So he is very good.”

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