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Feb. 27, 2016

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the play of Malcolm Brogdon:
“He’s been terrific most all of conference play. Really most all of his career, I should say. He was as efficient as ever. We kind of gave him the business and said, ‘Why’d you let [Justin] Jackson hit that three at the end?’ He was a little lukewarm on that closeout and we’re so used to him being up and bothering [players]. He made the tough plays. He certainly gets guarded hard. He also defends hard. He was real steady in a game that was important and had implications for a lot of things. I was excited to see our balance and how we responded. I was thinking about Malcolm a lot today. There was a lot of stuff and a lot of things [going on]. How he handled it was great. He gave us his traditional yawn right before tip-off so we knew he was ready. He was rock solid.”

On the play of Anthony Gill:
“You saw those [North Carolina] guys and how long and athletic they are. He competed hard. He got on the glass a couple of times and made some plays. We needed it all. That’s what I like to see. At Miami, Malcolm was terrific, but we didn’t get as much balance in our scoring. Tonight, we had four guys in double figures and Isaiah [Wilkins] had eight points. To beat a team of North Carolina’s caliber, you need to have that offensively. To see Anthony finish a couple of tough ones, it was the right time for us.”

On if he believes Virginia is poised for a run in the postseason:
“It’s hard to say. One thing I do know is that last year, we lived off our success. Not in a bad way, but we were 16-1. We always won. When you lose and you struggle, then you learn. We realized how fine of a line it is with this year having lost and struggled in some tough conference games as of late. I think when you’re aware of that, it makes you understand how on point you have to be in all those areas that are important to us. I think that the lessons we’ve learned have taught us more, but I can’t be sure. We’ve had some really good teams, but we have some guys that have been in some tight games and learned a lot through the wins and probably more through the losses.”

On if the closing minutes of tonight’s game reminded him of last year’s home game against Duke:
“I didn’t think about last year’s game. I just thought about finishing. I said, ‘It’s a score and stop game now.’ We work in practice on it. Score and stop. We gave up some quick twos, we missed some free throws, and we knew they are so potent. We were a couple of stops away. We just talk about trying to finish, which is really what we do all the time. You’re going to have to have a good bounce here and there or a big play made from time to time. There was just enough of that tonight.”

On preventing UNC from scoring fast break points:
“We write the acronym I.S.A.W. on the white board before every game. It stands for ‘In Such a Way.’ It just talks about running ‘in such a way’ as to win. It comes from a verse I really like. There are all the runners in the race, but only one gets a prize. you better take care of the ball ‘in such a way.’ You better get back in transition ‘in such a way.’ You better rebound ‘in such a way.’ Against a team as talented as North Carolina, you can only control what you can control. It wasn’t going to be easy, but we had to do the job in those areas. I thought we fought on the glass. It’s about that process. ‘In such a way.’ We said, ‘Defend and fight’ in that 94-foot rectangle. I like what I saw.”

Virginia Sophomore Forward Isaiah Wilkins

On his concussion and probability of playing tonight:
“I definitely knew I wanted to play tonight, but I had to go through some tests to make sure I was okay to play. I ended up practicing on Thursday and Friday and then I knew I was good to go.”

On being matched up with Brice Johnson:
“I started on him and stayed on him unless a smaller guy came in. I tried to deny him the ball as much as possible. You can’t score without the ball. I tried to keep him off the glass even if I wasn’t getting the rebound. I tried to make it tough on him. I think our post trap was really good tonight. I was happy with the way that we played and rebounded.”

On Malcolm’s guard play:
“Malcolm got it going early on. I feel like the guards did a really good job of stepping up when they needed to.”

On Malcolm’s first half:
“I am always telling him to be aggressive because it makes our team that much better. After a while he draws two or three defenders. He is a willing passer and he sets other people up.”

Virginia Senior Guard Malcolm Brogdon

On this year’s team being more equipped for the tournament:
“I definitely think we are more equipped. I think we are a more experienced team that has evolved and learned from past experiences of having a great regular season and then relaxing in the post season.”

On an offensively aggressive first half:
“I just had a lot of opportunities. I try to come out aggressive every game, and I take what the defense gives me. At the same time, I try to sense when my team is struggling or doing well on offense, and I try to adjust my game to that.”

On fan support with College GameDay in town:
“It’s awesome. I’m not sure we would have won that game without our fans. I saw people yesterday camping outside of JPJ like they do at Duke. The basketball culture at UVA has changed so much and we wouldn’t be where we are without our fans.”

On a limited number of turnovers:
“That is something we have been practicing for all week. We focused on taking care of the ball and not turning it over. We know that they thrive on transition offense, and we didn’t want to let that happen tonight. They are one of the best teams in the country in transition and we wanted to stop that from the very beginning.”

Virginia Sophomore Guard Devon Hall

On the loss to Miami:
“I think during the Miami game I was less focused and really frustrated with myself. I was frustrated because my teammates needed me. It was just a matter of me regaining my focus and coming out here to redeem myself.”

On winning against North Carolina:
“They’re a great team. This ACC is really tough, with us losing to Miami and trying to come back here and get back on top. They’re a great team and it was a great win for us with them being so talented. They were playing really well too.”

Virginia Senior Forward Anthony Gill

On the game:
“It felt pretty good. It felt good to play well and it also felt good to be able to get the win. That’s a good team that came in here today. For us to pull out that win like we did was awesome.”

On his confidence:
“There’s no confidence drop. For some reason my shot wasn’t falling. I just stay with it and tonight was a case of my teammates continuing to trust me and Coach Bennett still putting me in those positions to score.”

On pulling away in the second half:
“It was awesome. Like I said, they’re a great team. They have a lot of big guys, a lot of talented guys on their team. For us to compete with them like we did tonight and be able to pull out the win was great for us. It helps our confidence out a lot.”

On helping Virginia scoring inside:
“I want to help out my team as much as I can. Whenever I’m not making shots and being productive on the offensive end, it really hurts our team. For me to go out there tonight and be able to put the ball in the basket really helped our team out a lot. It was just something where they never gave up faith in me, and I continue to just go out there and do what I do.”

Virginia Junior Guard London Perrantes

On the win:
“It’s nice. We fought hard. It was a hard fought game, and to be able to come out on top is a little bit relieving. We played our tails off. I was happy with our guys.”

On Malcolm Brogdon:
“He’s been playing well these past couple games. He’s been lights out these past couple games. He does it every single night out. He led us, started off strong, and we just all followed. It’s something that we love to get from him.”

On lack of offensive turnovers:
“We had a couple silly turnovers, but we tried to cut it down as much as we could. Their defense played pretty strong. We didn’t take too many bad shots, and that also helps as well. We knew being able to get back on defense was going to be a huge part of this game, and offensive rebounding. Those were the two keys. We really wanted to cut down and I thought we did that enough to win.”

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams

Opening Statement:
“I’d like to congratulate Virginia. Malcolm (Brogdon) for the first half was as good a performance we’ve had against us this season and maybe several years. We couldn’t quite get over the hump. We got up to forty-nine to forty-nine. It was tied. And then we get a couple of bad possessions on offense. They score a couple of times and get offensive rebounds. They missed several shots down the stretch, but we couldn’t ever come up with a rebound so they ended up getting second shot opportunities. We turned it over 13 to their eight. They were 18-of-21 from the free throw line. We were 7-of-13. A couple of one-and-ones down the stretch. It’s all those little things that made them end up with more points than we did, but I thought the biggest factor in the game was they played with a high level of intensity from my point of view, on both offense and defense. I think they were the actors and we were the reactors the whole night. They scored more points in the paint without posting anybody up hardly all night long because they drove the ball to the basket much more aggressively. They had better spacing and Malcolm and London (Perrantes) drove the ball to the basket and they’re really good. One time with two seconds left on the clock and they throw it in and Tobey makes one and another time there was two seconds on the clock and they missed the shot, but came up with the offensive rebounds. So again I think it is so many little things, but if I had to pick one thing I’d say again they were just so much more aggressive on both ends of the court. Their offense was more aggressive than our defense was and their defense was more aggressive than our offense was. And yet I really think they’re really a good team. I said it even this week and I said it last week, and I said it ten weeks ago at the start of the season. Me and my buddies get together and I thought Virginia had the best team in the country and Tony does a great, great job and he’s a credit to what we should have in coaching. But I don’t like him during the game because his team plays so daggum well. But they really have done some great things the last three years and they got themselves right back into it after a little slump in the middle of the season. We reacted to everything they did and that part was difficult for us.”

On not being able to create turnovers against Virginia:
“They’re good basketball players first of all; they don’t try to do any silly things. They make the easiest pass they can make. The last play of the first half we got it to one, they throw the lob and get there and we got a little guy back there. I still remember the play where Joel Berry was going down for a layup and if I’m not mistaken, Gill was the one who ran him down. It was just a phenomenal effort by those guys and we got to have that kind of effort in our situation too. They’re really good and it was a one possession game late in the game, we just never got the ball with the one possession game. It was 75-74 and we missed a couple of free throws and it was still 75-74 but never got the ball when it was one possession. They’re a good basketball team.” On guarding Brice Johnson the last 17 minutes:
“He got very discouraged, he threw it into the 17th row of the stands one time when they double teamed him. He got discouraged at that point, too. I thought the second half he was much better than he was in the first half. He’s got to move more, but we have got to get him more than nine shots and hopefully less than five turnovers.

On his reaction to Malcolm Brogdon’s performance:
“He’s really good. I’ve had guys score 49 against us before and we won the game. And another guy that scored 47 and we won the game. Another guy scored 46 and we won the game. So I never get into that one person kind of thing. Tyrese Rice scored 400 in the first-half against us and we still won the game. Malcolm Brogdon is one of the best players in the league last year. This year he is awesome and he is a tough match-up for anybody and he was a tough match-up for us.”

North Carolina Senior Forward Brice Johnson

On turning the ball over:
“I kind of rushed it a little bit on a few of my passes and it led to turnovers. I needed to play with a lot more poise and make a better pass.”

On the pace of play:
“They really dictated the entire game. We needed to be able to dictate the play and the players we wanted to play with. They were the ones dictating the entire game and they did what they needed to do.”

On Virginia’s interior defense:
“Their defense is hard enough to get it in there. We just have to space the floor better and we’ll be able to get it inside.”

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