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Feb. 1, 2017

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the defense stopping a powerful Virginia Tech offense:

“They are an effective offensive team, especially in transition, so it always starts there. They did miss a lot of shots. They had a few open ones and they did not look like they were on tonight. So, that helped us, but I don’t want to take away from our guys working and trying to bother shots and not giving them a lot of easy looks. We had a few breakdowns but we tried our best to not let them get going in transition because they’re dangerous. Especially when Chris Clarke gets the ball as the four-man and pushes and they put a lot of pressure on you.”

On Devon Hall:

“I like how he’s getting on the glass. You can see that. A couple of his shots got blocked, otherwise he was on his way to a double-double and maybe 20-and-10. He’s had to work to guard defensively and his completeness offensively and defensively is showing. He obviously did a nice job against Villanova and he was good tonight. When Isaiah [Wilkins] was a 5, Devon was a 4, that gave us a good look. The last few games, Jack [Salt] and Isaiah have been good, so we’ve been getting good play when our frontline is in there. Jarred [Reuter] gave us a nice lift and he has not played much. So, I was happy to see Devon, who was obviously teammates with Chris Clarke in high school, talking during the game. I know they’re both very good competitors.”

On the importance of Virginia’s good start after the Villanova ending:

“It was a great atmosphere. Now is the time where everyone on our schedule, the ACC, is so competitive. You look at Pitt going into North Carolina, it’s a one-point game or a two-point game, and you have to be ready. You have to be ready at home, and I talked about collectively being as competitive at playing to win to the best of our abilities, because if you don’t, you’ll be in trouble. I thought our guys got off to a good start and made some shots. They fell in love with it a little bit and then we started attacking a little more. Every game we play from here on out, they’re highly charged. Sunday’s game was a hard-fought game and a tough loss. We took a lot of good things from it and tried to grow from the areas where we weren’t good, knowing the significance of this game, and I like how we responded.”

On the team’s good transitions before the end of the game:

“I think it was something that against Villanova, we were really good in transition for 30 minutes. In the last 10, I thought it softened. We kept reminding them, you have to get back to our spot, and make them play against a set defense. So, I think some of it was good offense, and there were less live ball turnovers, and that’s big. When you’re making a turnover and they’re going the other way, we took care of the ball. That helps your transition defense as much as anything.”

On how the team has been able to pick each other up with scoring:

“I think we’re evolving that way. I think it’s a team that whether it’s Marial [Shayok], Devon, London [Perrantes] or Isaiah, there are just different guys. Ty [Jerome] has done that the past few games. That balance is really important. I’m pleased with that up to this point because you have to have that. It’s hard when you’re a one-man band and everyone can key in. I think early on, that was happening and I think guys are a little freer, still with good shot discernment, to shoot with confidence when the ball moves, and to attack the lane and make some plays. I think that helps our offense a lot.”

On if there are lingering emotions going into the Syracuse game after the NCAA tournament loss to them:

“Now that you mention it, thanks a lot! When you go back, that was a terrific opportunity. But we’re such a different team. That was a beautiful season last year and we knocked on the door of the Final Four and didn’t get there. They’re a different team, we’re a different team, and you have to go in there and play. We’re in a race, we’re fighting to be as good as we can be every game. I always try to watch matchups from last year and so I’m sure I’ll see some painful things at times, but I haven’t really thought about that. I just want to get ready. We have two days to prepare and that’s a tough zone. We know that. They’re a dangerous team at home, so we’ll be ready to go.”

Virginia Junior Devon Hall

On importance of transitional defense:

“I think being intentional about getting back. It’s something we’ve worked on all year and something coach appreciates, so being intentional about sending three guys back and two to the glass was really big for us.”

On rebounding success:

“Just hunting down the ball when it comes off the glass. The big has to do a lot when it comes to boxing out and they sometimes aren’t able to get the ball on long rebounds. That’s when it comes on guards to get back and get those rebounds.”

Virginia Senior London Perrantes

On playing with Ty Jerome:

“Obviously with the way he’s playing, he is going to get more playing time. I think the more we go on the more we are going to be able to play together. Just building that chemistry is huge. It also gives me the opportunity to get off the ball and come off screens to have my shot. But he’s been playing extremely well of late and hopefully he can keep it going. He’s a big x-factor for us right now.”

On his shot taking:

“I felt like I just needed to be aggressive and I just wanted to get to the paint. Since last game Coach Bennett has been taking about working on the mid-range, so these last couple of days I’ve been working on the mid-range jump shot a little bit more. I wanted to be in attack mode and I got some open looks.”

Virginia Junior Isaiah Wilkins

On getting off to a good start:

“We want to come out and hit first and we were able to do that tonight. We just played aggressively. Guys took shots when they were there, and they fell for us.”

On Devon Hall’s ability to help:

“It’s crazy, it helps so much. A lot of times I feel out of place after helping and I try to wedge a guy out. Devon will come fly in and get a rebound. Sometimes he steals my rebound, which is cool as long as he gets it and we can go on and do something fun. It helps me a lot.”

On facing a zone again on Saturday:

“I think we will do some things there. We will try to get to the middle of the zone, same thing that we have done in the past.”

Virginia Tech Head Coach Buzz Williams

On what Virginia did defensively to make it a tough shooting night:

“I think that’s how they play. It’s a credit to them, the thing that hurt us most other than that was that our turnover rate was way too high for as slow of a game as that was. Twenty-two percent of the time we gave the ball to them without a shot, and that’s mathematically incredibly hard to overcome.”

On being 18-3 on second chance points:

“It started bad and I think whatever it was, 15-5, they had scored on four of them, and then at halftime they had seven offensive rebounds and I don’t know how many they had scored on, but it started bad and it stayed bad relative to keeping them off the offensive glass. They are not going to give up many points in transition because most of their guys get back, so we are giving up offensive rebounds when in essence at the time we have the numbers. We did a really poor job in that regard.”

On hitting the magic zone tonight and how it worked out:

“I don’t think we got hurt tonight for doing what we did against the glass defensively. We changed some of what we did last week in preparation for these guys. Some of it was okay. They are almost as efficient offensively. I think we were both tied for first in field goal percentage offense coming into the game. So much is talked about what they do defensively and rightfully so; they’re arguably just as efficient offensively. It wasn’t necessarily bad or good, but giving them offensive rebounds really hurt us.”

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