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Jan. 25, 2016

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Virginia Game Notes
No. 13 Virginia 73, Syracuse 65
Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the play of Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes down the stretch:
“We really made some nice plays down the stretch. Syracuse shooting deep threes off the dribble was really tough, and we had to answer. Devon [Hall] had a nice hop-step drive and finish on the glass. We had some nice passes and of course we hit some shots. I thought we were really good against their zone early in the first half. There was a stretch in the second half where we stood around a little too much. We needed to attack more and became more attack-oriented and tried to throw the ball into the high post. Plays were made and [Syracuse] made plays too. That was a good game at the end.”

On the play of Syracuse:
“They’re big. Their guards are big. Michael Gbinije and the freshman Malachi Richardson were impressive. I think there were a couple of times where we could have been higher on the ball or chased them off the three-point line, but the majority of their shots were really deep and nice plays. If guys are hitting tough, contested threes, you have to tip your hat to them at times. They were dangerous. You can see why they’ve been playing good basketball with that type of shooting.”

On positioning Brogdon in the high post against the Syracuse zone:
“We said, ‘Malcolm in the middle.’ I think that was a show. He did a good job. You like having playmakers there whenever you can. Malcolm could turn and face for the shot or he could drive it like a point guard. I thought that gave us a nice lift. We got a lot of buckets, whether that was him scoring or making plays.”

On the play of Isaiah Wilkins:
“Again, it’s huge to have a playmaker in the middle. He’s all heart. You see that in Isaiah. He just comes up with big plays. He really anchors us. When they took the big kid [DaJuan] Coleman out, I thought we needed to match Isaiah on [Tyler] Lydon and Anthony Gill on [Tyler] Roberson. They’re just more mobile that way. Again, some of the things Isaiah does show up in the stat sheet, but you watch those hustle plays. He hit one of two free throws at the end, but coming down with that rebound late was big.”

Virginia Senior Forward Anthony Gill

On the defensive progress:
“I think we still have a ways to go. We’re getting there. We’re taking steps every game. It’s something that we are really working on and really putting at the forefront because we understand UVA basketball. Coach Bennett ‘s system is built upon our defense, and when we have little lapses like we did tonight where we let guys shoot three-pointers over top of us like that, we need to have better ball pressure and those are just the little things that can get this defense going more. They made some really good three-pointers, but we just can’t have those kinds of lapses. For us to be the team that we want to be, we are going to have to put ball pressure on them and make them even more uncomfortable.”

On playing well on the road:
“I think we just have to come out with the energy that we need to be able to win the games. We don’t really come out the way we should, the way we would at home games, and that has been a problem for us all year especially during ACC play. We just have to come out and be ready to attack the game from the beginning, because if not we are going to get down and fight our way back which is something we have not been good at this year.”

Virginia Senior Guard Malcolm Brogdon

On his chemistry with London Perrantes:
“Our chemistry has evolved as much as chemistry between two players can. On the court, we just need eye contact to know what each other is going to do with their next step. For example, when they started full-court pressing us at the end, he throws it right over the top. I don’t have to point, I don’t have to gesture, its just eye contact like ‘you know where to throw it and I know where to be.’ We read each other very well.”

On his two late three-pointers:
“They definitely felt good. It felt better when we were able to pick some momentum up defensively. Other guys were able to be aggressive and that opened things up a little bit more in the middle, and we moved the ball well after that.”

On playing in the middle of the zone:
“We actually didn’t work on that at all. Coach Bennett just threw me in the middle. We have been working on Anthony Gill being in the middle, so I think he just threw me in the middle because Anthony Gill was out for a little bit. I just tried to be aggressive. I like it.”

On Syracuse’s offense:
“I thought we could have affected them. I thought they hit some deep three-pointers, I thought they hit a lot of really tough shots, but I thought that we could have had a hand up most of the time, myself included. I thought we backed off because we didn’t want them to drive or didn’t want them to draw a foul on us. I think we have to be a little more aggressive on the ball.”

Virginia Junior Guard London Perrantes

On the difference in offensive play in high school to now:
“Well during high school I was almost always the tallest person on the floor, but not anymore. It’s just about getting in a rhythm and having a lot of confidence. My team has given me the ball in the right spots and I’m able to take open shots and make plays when needed. I think having confidence has helped me the most right now.”

On the biggest thing that helped get the win tonight compared to last year at Syracuse:
“I think it was our mentality. Last year we came out pretty passive and I think this year we came out mentally aggressive. We didn’t want to have the slow start that we had last year. We were all able to learn from that and come out aggressive this year.”

On responding to Syracuse’s amount of three-pointers:
“I don’t think we necessarily needed to respond with three-pointers. We had some inside presence and we were able to get inside the paint and settle. The zone will give you some open threes, but we also wanted to get inside the paint. We got in the bonus pretty early, but we didn’t want to settle. We needed to be aggressive because they were hitting some tough shots. We played pretty well down the stretch though.”

Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim

Opening statement:
“I thought defensively, we really struggled inside the whole game, but we really struggled the first half. Our perimeter defense was okay. We struggled inside. Offensively, they’re a really good defensive team. I thought Mike [Gbinije] got it going in the second half, and Malachi [Richardson]. We made that run to get it back. We had a couple opportunities but [Malcolm] Brogdon stepped up. He made two big threes. That’s what seniors do. That really was, I thought, the difference in the game. I thought we played much better defensively in the second half. I think we forced nine or 10 turnovers in the second half with our defense. We got some opportunities to get back in it. We missed a couple around the basket that you have to make. But, I thought the difference was Brogdon made the two threes and [London] Perrantes made the three in the corner. Those are big shots, big players. They’re very good obviously. Here, I think they’ve lost one in three years. We played really good basketball throughout this three-game road trip. I thought we played well enough tonight to certainly have a chance, but Brogdon — that’s what good players do. They make those shots. That was the difference in the game.”

On Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson’s shooting performance:
“You have to shoot the ball. Virginia doesn’t give you much inside. You have to move the ball. I thought we moved the ball. We made the change, switch, or help and we got some open looks. You have to make some of those shots for sure.”

On Virginia running Malcolm Brogdon in the high post:
“In the first half, it hurt us. In the second half, he didn’t go in there. First half, he hurt us by making two turn-arounds in there. But second half, he really didn’t go in there. I wish he was in there, it would have been better, much better for us.”

On whether the travel and weather affected their performance:
“You just have to do it. We’ve never done that before.”

On London Perrantes’ 3-point shooting:
“He’s always shot them against us. I don’t know what he does against other people, but he’s not reluctant against us.”

On struggling on interior defense:
“It must be the vacation. I’ve never used that one before. We’ve struggled all year in there. We’re giving centers All-American years. We cannot play defense inside. I think that’s pretty painfully obvious by now. Guys that average five points a game get 18, 19, 20 points a game against us. Our perimeter defense has been pretty good all year. Our inside defense has been non-existent. We have to do something inside. At North Carolina, we did a great job with their perimeter guys. Their inside guys had 50. If their guards have to help that much inside then they’re going to be wide open at the three-point line. We have to be able to defend better. We’re big enough. We’re strong enough. We should be able to defend better in there, but we haven’t been able to. We can’t defend in there. We’ve been able to overcome that. [Marshall] Plumlee had a career game. You can overcome it but you have to really play well. Second half we were much better. [Anthony] Gill had 12 in the first half and four in the second half. We were much, much better in the second half inside. If you look at the losses and what the games people have had in there against us, we haven’t been able to get the job done inside.”

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