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Feb. 16, 2017

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Virginia vs. Duke

February 15, 2017

Post-game Quotes

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

Overall game reflection:

“First I want to give credit to Duke – they really guarded us hard. It was one of those games where you had to work to get the catches. I think we had decent shots in terms of what we could get against them without being able to throw the ball inside and score. I thought we got to the elbows and had some opportunities at the rim, but we sometimes had a little trouble finishing. It was a good defensive Duke team tonight. We tried to run hard and I think we worked really hard defensively. We actually flew around and I liked our scrappy defensive play. We did the job for the most part on Grayson Allen and on Luke Kennard. And then you saw a special performance by Jayson Tatum. I watched the tape and I thought Isaiah Wilkins was for the most part there but, it’s a talented team and they are obviously well coached. When we had opportunities, we weren’t as efficient as we needed to be. But it was a hard-fought game. But, I appreciated how hard they played and we just weren’t as good at putting the ball in the basket, which Duke had a lot to do with.”

On second half performance:

“We had one break down defensively to start the second half. They got a layup at the rim and we didn’t help on a back screen. Then we had a couple of turnovers from good Duke pressure. Every possession for us mattered, and when we did get a chance to maybe take the lead or get a big shot we couldn’t capitalize. I think when you’re playing as hard as we did, it takes your legs a little bit – however, we didn’t have a choice. The play on the glass was really tough. We had to go a little more traditional because they exploited us when we had four guards, which hurt our scoring somewhat.”

On recent losses:

“I mean, you really want to win. But, it’s a fine line and we are in so many close games. This ball club has some limitations in certain areas and we are fighting like crazy. We are doing some good things and we have some strengths, but we are going to be in a lot of close games. In this one we played hard, but we were outplayed. And that’s the reality against Duke. I can’t say if we had just gotten this one call it would have been different. We do need to shoot better, but they were the better team tonight.”

On second half shooting:

“I think we worked incredibly hard to be as ready as we could be in the first half. I think talent is going to emerge at some point, but tonight it was more individual plays and fewer breakdowns. But, every time we needed a stop they would put the dagger in us with a late shot clock play or a deep three. We are working hard to become a better defensive team and we have to get better for 40 minutes, but it’s not for a lack of trying. They tried hard tonight and it wasn’t enough.”

Virginia Guard London Perrantes

On Virginia’s offensive struggles:

“As weird as it sounds, I think this was one of our best defensive games. There were just tough plays at the end of the game by Jayson Tatum. I really think that it was like a Virginia team a couple years ago where we were just putting it all on the line on the defensive end. Our old Virginia teams didn’t have much offense. We need to find a happy medium. I’m happy with the offense we played today except for the last couple of minutes. We just have to find a way to keep battling. Big time players are going to make big time shots and that’s what he [Tatum] did.

On Duke’s strong start to the second half after Virginia’s positive end to the first:

“What they started to run is what we do in practice, with the random ball screen action where the guard didn’t dribble, so he could either pass or make a move and the big guy was rolling. So, it was tough. We do that to ourselves in practice all the time and it’s really almost impossible to guard. That’s when they got into their rhythm at the beginning of the second half. We talk about it all the time in practice, how hard it is to guard. They just came out and started doing it and we have to find a way to get over it.”

On how he’s dealing with losing as one of Virginia’s winningest players:

“I’m learning. I’m learning as much as everybody else is. It’s not something I’m used to. But as a leader of the team I just have to keep my head up, keep my spirits high, because we have games to play. We have another tough one Saturday. I’m trying to figure out how we can get the best out of everybody, regardless of if they’re not playing well. We’re just trying to keep everybody’s spirits high, because we need everybody confident as we’re going into postseason and the end of this season. I’m still learning but I’m just trying to be the best leader I can be right now.”

On opponent’s high shooting percentages in the second half:

“When Jayson Tatum doesn’t miss, obviously, their shooting percentage is going to be high. It’s tough. I feel like we played pretty well defensively. There was one time we had the ball with five seconds left at half court and still ended up making the shot. We have to watch the film. I feel like Isaiah [Wilkins] did a good job contesting and doing things like that. He [Tatum] just made some big shots. Otherwise, everybody played pretty good defense. I don’t know how much Grayson [Allen] and [Luke] Kennard had, but I feel like we kind of kept them under wraps for a good amount of the game. I don’t know what else to tell you besides Jayson Tatum didn’t miss.”

Virginia Forward Isaiah Wilkins

On keeping Jayson Tatum well-guarded:

“I tried to make them tough, he had some good shots. I played them alright for most of the game. He hit tough shots and I was trying to contest them.”

On shooting issues the last few games playing into the offensive struggle:

“I don’t really know about offensive struggles in my shooting because I was taking open shots and posting up. I’m going to continue to take open shots when they’re there. If I don’t, it makes us struggle a little bit more because nobody is playing me. Up and down I find my rhythm, I’ve got life.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Ty Jerome

On settling down as the game progressed:

“I don’t think anything changed. I had one turnover early and I told myself, ‘you have more basketball to play, stay confident.'”

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening Statement:

“Well, we won a big-time game. They’re good, we’re good, the crowd’s great. What Tony has developed here is sensational. It’s a beautiful place, good team, great crowd, great kids. We feel we have the same thing, and so when you’re going against each other you should expect an outstanding game. We played very well in that second half. Our offensive efficiency was outstanding. We made a little change to our offense that worked, and Jason had one of those few minutes where that’s what separates ordinary players from outstanding players. There is nothing about coaching there. We wanted him to take the shots, but it was like four points and all of the sudden it was like 10. That game was not a 10-point game. His shots were bigger because it’s a one or two possession game. All of a sudden, two three’s gave you about three more possessions. Again, I counted two points each possession and you go from two to five. Wow. Those are big time shots. We hit free throws down at the end. We’ve been hitting free throws at a high rate, especially if Luke or Jason are shooting them. We are proud of our performance. We have ultimate respect for them, so it was just a really good win for us.”

On Senior Guard Matt Jones’ performance and defense against London Perrantes:

“An unsung hero for us in these last three weeks getting everybody back and getting me back. Matt’s been the key guy for us and he started on Saturday, awesome game. He guarded Jackson from North Carolina; you guys will play them. He got twenty-one but he had to work for it, and I think he’s as good a player as there is in the league. What he does, Perrantes is one of the best players in the country and he’s the guy that makes them go and he’s just an outstanding leader and player, but he had to work really hard and he didn’t get the percentage that he normally gets and that’s all you’re trying to do. I don’t think he played poorly, but I don’t think he played great and that’s what you’re trying to do against the best player from the other team. So, I credit Matt a lot with that.”

On decreasing the turnovers from eight to three:

“I think part of it was the offense we were running. We gave ourselves more room and it was so compact. Either you took a bad shot or you might turn it over, you didn’t really have a chance for an offensive rebound because they played really good defense.”

On Freshman Forward Jayson Tatum’s performance:

“I think it starts from his defensive rebounding. He was very physical, he had eight rebounds and a couple of them were really big time. He was playing the game at a better pace with a better intensity instead of more of a finesse. I thought what he did on the defensive end really helped him on the offensive end.”

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