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Nov. 22, 2016

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Head Coach Tony Bennett

On overall performance:

“We will be as ready as we can. Tonight, it was really good to see Jeff (Jones), Trevon (Gross), and Justice (Bartley). There are guys who work hard in practice to prepare our guys to get that many minutes and that many shots. I was really thankful for that. You prepare to the best of your ability and you practice hard. In tonight’s game, Grambling struggled to shoot and I think our defensive system really bottled them up. Also with Kyle’s (Guy) shooting, the game got away from them. We play Iowa next and it won’t be enough to play a 20-minute game. We are going to have to play the majority of a 40-minute game to have a chance.”

On Kyle Guy’s performance:

“I think Kyle (Guy) had a lot of clean looks. He also has a really quick release and is lively on the floor. And that’s a threat ââ’¬” it opens things up. I think that as he keeps improving in all parts of his game, his shot will be a weapon and teams are going to have to account for it. We are going to try and get him good looks. I’m sure he is going to be tracked a little closer after people start looking at his shooting game so far.”

On the team’s defense:

“We were really in the gaps. They are going to have to make some contested shots over the top ââ’¬” that is the goal of our defense all the time. It is one thing we have been working really hard on and it has showed over the last games we’ve played. We’ve been a little tighter and sounder with our positioning because we need to be. We don’t always have a player who can completely lock someone up on the perimeter ââ’¬” though we’re not bad. When we do have a breakdown, we’ve had some nice shot blocks. As the competition continues to step up, that will be tested. But being set in transition defense and really tied tight together is the staple of our defense.”

On the offense:

“We had guys get in the rhythm of shots. The basket was big and we had pretty clean looks. We also got some offensive rebounds and points off turnovers. You take what the defense gives you and I don’t think we were trying to force anything. We were unselfish moving the ball and getting guys open.”

On new lineups:

“We’ve had four games in seven days so we didn’t play anybody heavy minutes. We tried to get experience for Mamadi (Diakite) and some of the young guys. There are just different teams you play which match up at the four spots. Whether its Isaiah (Wilkins), Mamadi (Diakite), or Jarred (Reuter) – those are the guys who will be testing if our forwards can guard a four-guard offense. We’ll also look at what we are doing offensively. There will be games where we can experiment with that. The evenly distributed minutes are good for the guys who don’t play a lot to get in there.”

Grambling State Head Coach Shawn Walker

On coaching a game when his team is outmatched:

“First of all, I have been watching Virginia play on TV for a couple of years, so we knew what was going to happen tonight. We talked about not watching the score. We talked about competing on every pass as opposed to watching the score. We are rebuilding at Grambling. We started two years ago from the very ground up. We are probably a little better than we played tonight.”

“Simultaneously, there are only six teams in the country supposedly better than Virginia. I don’t think you could imagine what it is like to play against that defense. I think that we run a pretty comprehensive offensive system. It is hard to penetrate that. Tonight, was just an opportunity for us to learn a lot about ourselves and to play in an enormous environment, not concentrating on the University of Virginia. Every timeout we just talked about what we needed to do. We turned the ball over 21 times. We turned the ball over 21 times against East Carolina. We turned the ball over 16 times against Providence. That is a problem for us, it was a problem tonight, so it is something that we have to work on.”

“All in all, I am proud of my guys. I thought we handled ourselves out there well. I thought we competed from the time the ball was tipped to the buzzer, and that is all I can ask when we are overmatched.”

On preparing for Virginia:

“We really did not concentrate a lot on their players. We concentrated a lot on their system. We concentrated a lot on their blocker-mover (offense). I do not think you can really prepare for a team that passes the ball the way they do. Even all the way down until the end of the game, the guy that got the shot, I guess he was a walk-on or whatever the case may be, they were not really trying to get him a shot, the ball just finds guys on that team, and I think that is wonderful. I think that Virginia’s ability to pass the ball, passing is a unique skill, and when you can move the ball, it is almost like they come down the floor and say ‘we are going to pass the ball 12 times this time and then we are going to get a good shot,’ and that is exactly what happens. ‘Okay, this time we are going to pass it 15 times and we are going to get a good shot.’ Even as the shot clock is coming down, there is no panic, the ball finds the open man. That is a big-time skill at any level. They do that at a high level and made shots tonight too, so that always helps.”

Virginia Guard Darius Thompson

On more consistent minutes:

“I would definitely say we’re more comfortable. Throughout last year, Marial Shayok and I both had times where we were starting and we both had games where we hardly played. Being out there now and getting a lot more minutes just feels a lot better. We’re just going out there and trying to play with a lot more confidence every night.”

On evolution of the offense from last year:

“This year compared to last year, its different. We don’t sit back and think, oh who’s going to take over Malcom [Brogdon]’s points or who’s going to take over Anthony [Gill]’s points. I think as a team we all try to do it collectively. We move the ball really well this year. I know there are a lot of times where someone has an open shot but we always kick it to one more and knock down shots. I think our team chemistry and ball movement this year is a lot better.”

On whether the team is prepared for better opponents:

“I would say we’ve been tested but tested against each other in practice every day. We go against each other every day, battling against one of the better defenses in the country. I think our practices make us prepared for anybody.”

Virginia Guard Kyle Guy

On how he has adapted in last two games:

“It feels really good right now out there. I’ve been trying to be really poised and focused and make sure I’m mentally prepared for each game. Credit to everyone on the coaching staff and everybody else on the team who prepares me for the games. I expect to go through my ups and downs, but I just want to try and stay even-keeled through it all.”

On his 13-minute night:

“In high school, you always played most of the game. Now, however long coach puts me in, it doesn’t matter to me. I just try to contribute the best I can for as long as I can.”

On shot selection:

“A good way of playing more and more each game with Coach Bennett is not turning the ball over. So, I have tried to not be conservative but just let the game come to me. I feel like I have a second nature feel for the game, so I try to get everyone involved and then when I’m open I just don’t even think about it. I shoot.”

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