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Jan. 30, 2016

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Virginia vs. Louisville | Jan. 30, 2016 | KFC Yum! Center
No. 11 Virginia 63, Louisville 47
Postgame Quotes

Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino (Opening Statement) “Well you have to give Virginia a lot of credit, they played a great defensive game and executed beautifully on offense. Unfortunately I saw this day coming. I am not too pleased with it, but I saw it was going to happen, not quite as bad as we played tonight but I did see it coming just by the way we were playing defense against Virginia Tech and the way we played defense in practice. It was indicative by them shooting almost 58 percent for the game. We turned the ball over too much and you can’t do that against a Virginia team but they played like an experienced basketball team. We played like a bunch of inexperienced guys that did not know what they were in for. You know at the end of the game two things really impressed me about them, they were up 20 and (Malcolm) Brogdon was yelling in front of our bench to his teammates, ‘just get one stop guys, just get one stop.’ Then on a sideline out of bounds play up 20, their hands immediately went up. Those are the little things that we are missing. Our mentality is to score and their mentality is to execute and stop. They deserve all the credit and obviously we got our brains beat in because we have that wrong mentality. It is not going to get an easier because (North) Carolina plays right into our weakness which is transition defense. So we have got one day to cure some of our ills but with such an inexperienced team, it is going to be difficult to do.”

(On Chinanu Onuaku’s health) “He is fine, he is fine. He had a stomach bug and didn’t practice and when he doesn’t practice, he didn’t play a lot in the Virginia Tech game, then got sick and didn’t practice a whole lot yesterday. He should be fine by Monday.”

(On Virginia double-teaming the post player) “They do that every game. They do a good job of it. In the second half, we did a much better job of finding people, but we didn’t execute that as well either. You know, our game plan going against Virginia is what I told them last year, or Wichita State and Virginia, if you are not close to them defensively, you have no chance of beating them. You have got to match them on defense and that is this team’s problem. Last year we could do it, we could match them defensively and against a great defensive team you have got to be able to do that but they just have so much more experience than us that they are better at it.”

(On frustration of players when shots weren’t falling) “Well they were taking the wrong shots. They were penetrating too deep against- the more ball movement and less dribbling you have, second half they saw them do a better job of reversing, screening, moving, screening, moving, and that’s the way you can get good shots; but they fell right into the trap, we didn’t want to dribble that much and Trey (Lewis) has a lot to learn about this game. It’s nights like this where he’ll learn a lot.”

(On looking for anything particular in games like this) “They were just much better than us at every position they were better than us. We can give a little excuse to Nanu (Onuaku) being under the weather, but not under the weather to not rebound and score and not catch the ball. They were just much better than us, we have to play them again, so hopefully we’ll do a much better job next time. I’m real happy we’re 17-4 and 6-2 because I haven’t seen a real good basketball team from these guys this year at the defensive end; and we’ve had some good offensive nights, we’ve had one good defensive game the whole year, Pittsburgh. We got to get it, we got to get that Brogdon mentality of yelling ‘one more stop’. We’re up 25 yelling ‘one more stop.'”

(On whether the help on rotations defensively is the problem)”I think it is an experience in physical weakness, lack of quickness in certain areas. But Damion Lee is inexperienced on defense, Jaylen Johnson is inexperienced, Anas (Mahmoud) is inexperienced, Quentin (Snider) is not the most athletic guy on his feet but tries hard, Trey’s (Lewis) inexperienced on defense, Matz (Stockman) is inexperienced, Ray (Spalding) is inexperienced, Deng’s (Adel) inexperienced, Chinanu should be much better, and Donovan is inexperienced. So, you know it’s going to show that way, unless you get the attitude of ‘one more stop.'”

(On whether the concerns you have about transitioning the defense can be fixed in a month?)”In a month? Yes, we can fix it in a month. But I don’t know if we can fix it by Monday. It starts with taking good shots. We got out-run at the four spot the other night. The four spot and the five spot were constantly getting out-run, and that was our weakness.”

(On short break between games) “No these guys don’t need to rest, they need to practice. Nanu (Onuaku) has had enough rest for a lifetime.”

(On worrying about confidence heading into UNC game Monday)”No, I don’t worry about that. I think they will be going against guys much more experienced and much more skilled in certain areas. But with that being said, we are going to give great effort. Tonight, we got discouraged by a much better basketball team. We are just going to try to get better and better, make the tournament, and see what happens come March. There is no reason to get down in the dumps because we are 6-2 (ACC) and 17-4 (Overall). Now that can turn around in a hurry, so each win is going to be monumental for us-we have got to get one game at a time and put all our effort in that one victory. We’ve got Syracuse coming in who is playing great basketball right now-you’ve got Pittsburg out on the road after playing great against them. You have to go down to Virginia-you’ve got to play Duke twice-you’ve got to go at Notre Dame, for one of our overtime games. And you’ve got some tough home games as well.”

(On the physicality of the game and if it bothered the team)”Well, it was called the polar opposite of Virginia Tech. Which is okay because then we can play that way and we didn’t. We didn’t. Yes, it wasn’t called the way of the new rules but it was called fairly for both teams. So we had an opportunity to be physical and we weren’t.”

(On Deng Adel’s performance)”If you look for a silver lining, and obviously you being the positive person you are, that was the only silver lining.

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

(On the defensive effort) “We really challenged them, on the front end and the back end, to be as close to great as you can be – meaning that, we said everything you’ve got to make a play against a set defense and that’s what coaches every time – get back, set your defense. You’ve got to be as good as you’ve been on the front end, because Louisville is so potent when they get out and go, and then we said on the back end, we talk about being a one-and-done team. For us, rebounding the ball, be great with your block-outs, pursue, everybody gang rebound. If you can do that, and then do the stuff in between, just being solid with ball screen defense, trapping the post, that’s where it’s got to start. But it was our most complete game and the guys didn’t get stretched. Of course, Louisville really didn’t shoot it well and they missed some shots. I think sometimes we had a hand in that, but at times they missed some and were complete on both ends of the floor.”

(On Anthony Gill’s game “We know we needed him to get catches. The guys had to be freed up to play offensively – it’s such a hard matchup zone. I’m not sure if they are still leading the country in field goal percentage, so we just said the perimeter guys have to be able to make some plays and so would the bigs and they have to have some freedom to get it with a little bit of movement. It was a physical game. I’ll have to watch the tape and see.”

(On the effect of the Wake Forest game being a good teaching moment for defense) “We’ve had a lot of teaching moments because of the defense this year to be honest. I told them before the game and I thought it was important, I said, ‘You can do this. Now will you? I don’t know, but you can and you have in the past played a team like this in this kind of setting and performed and been right,’ and I said, ‘But will you,’ and I said, ‘You have to know first that you can. Don’t ever forget that.’ And they did. That’s what they did in the first half. And I said at halftime, ‘You did it for 20, will you try to do it again? You’re capable.’ I think defense is a hard one to figure out for us. It just takes such a commitment to it. That’s why I said be ‘freed up to play offensively and everything you got to play against this team,’ and certainly they had our respect, as do all teams, but you had to be right or, we know what happens to teams in here.”

(On game plan against Damion Lee) “Just make him earn. We were going to just play our ball screens. Really do what we do. And fight and bother his shots. We talked about jamming and packing the lane and really it’s what we always do. If a guy really gets rolling maybe you pay a little more attention to him, but he is going to have to earn. So if they beat us with contested outside threes okay, we can always adjust but not inside-out and I thought we were pretty decent that way.”

(On whether the team has cured its woes on the road in the ACC) “It’s a great league, I don’t know, we did it today and we can do it again, we’ll see. I said will we – that’s too hard to say that. To ever assume, yeah we got this we’re good that would be a big mistake. For them to know this is a blueprint on how you’ve got to be defensively. You’ll see different kinds of teams with different strengths and weaknesses, but yeah, you certainly say, okay that was a complete game on both ends. We’re capable now let’s continue on and so fortunate against Wake Forest. I still can’t believe how that played out, but you take it. And then we prepared well for this, and Louisville wasn’t at their best. I know their big kid was sick, they got in foul trouble, a lot of things, but I’m not going to take anything away from how our guys competed on both ends.”

(On what was practiced for success against Louisville’s defense) “I think your guys have to be freed up to play. If you get stiff against that zone, then they eat you up. You have to have the ability to make some plays, to attack when they are there. You have to move it a little bit and shift it and our guys did a good job. It was nothing earth shattering, where I out-strategized the zone or anything like that. Our guys just played, they moved the ball, we had guards pretty much take care of it, we probably had a few too many turnovers, but there was good spacing, good ball movement, and then the guys played and attacked. And that’s what we talked about. Sometimes you try to run this perfect pattern, you can’t – not against that kind of defense. I’ve seen it now up close and personal, this is my third time, and we were right today with it.”

(On how surprising it was to be in control from start to finish) “We played well. I thought we’re going to have to play really well to be in this thing. We just got off to such a good start and kept playing, and again they were a little off. Coach [Pitino] has some young guys, and inexperience and sometimes that can happen when you’re in that setting, but he’s done a terrific job. This team, I was watching them I was so impressed. I don’t know if I’ve watched more game films of teams we’ve played than this team. Their play at the rim defensively, and again, today just wasn’t quite their day.”

(How much did shooting 58 percent enable you to set up your defense.) “A ton. Because they’re taking it out of the net, so you can get back and get your defense set. A set defense was key. Always is. That never changes, but we had to, because they will get it out and go. And when they did miss, we did a pretty good job. At times I thought we got on the edge, and I had some of our staff on the bench watching a few things that we look at. And I probably reminded them, you know, to be conservative seven or eight times in time outs at time outs saying, ‘Understand, you’ve got to refocus on how quickly you have to get back and get your defense set.’ But yeah, when it’s going through the net or anything like that, it makes it easier.”

(On how much the experience playing at the Yum! factor into the win) “There’s no substitute for that. There is no substitute for experience. And last year, just the environment last year was incredible. And when I went through the handshake line… And I shook (Mangok Mathiang’s) hand and said, ‘I remember you doing that to us last year. You hit that shot.’ And just the noise and the intensity. We didn’t really let the crowd probably become a factor, and I think that was important. You could tell there were moments where they wanted to explode, but for the most part we didn’t let them get to that – and I think that’s important. Had it gotten wild, you’ve got to play through it, but that can get you scrambled a little bit up here when it gets like that.”

(On his thought process behind starting Isaiah Wilkins and the smaller lineup) “I had been searching and he couldn’t play against Wake Forest. He had a virus or was sick. He played 15 minutes, but he was really gasping for air. And I just decided his mobility on ball screens, again I just thought let’s try to get off to something different. I was nervous because this is a team that rebounds so well and we’re a little smaller, but he did the job. And also the zone offense, he’s a little more handy and mobile than Jack (Salt) who I had been starting. He was able to get some catches and some high-lows and stretch it with the defense. And I thought you had to have a little bit of mobility with the attack that we were going to run against this zone. It couldn’t be just plant guys on one spot, and that would not have favored offensively, Jack, like it would him. And then I just got a rotation I thought (Evan) Nolte’s feel, experience, skill with Mike (Tobey) those four on the interior and then our five perimeter guys.”

(On game’s tempo) “You can’t… the only time you can score on them quick is if there is an opportunity in transition, a turnover or something and you get down the floor. A lot of teams will try to get those. We had a couple of those, but when they’re playing their defense right, when we’re playing our defense right, you should not be able to come down and get a quick shot. If you do, then your defense – what’s it worth? And we couldn’t. You have to move them, you have to rotate it, and that was the case. So we couldn’t get early shots, early in transition. Then we had to shift and move them and attack… That’s how we have to play against them, not everyone, but I knew that was important for us in this game.”

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