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Feb. 27, 2017

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the defensive performance compared to the previous game:

“I think it started with how we got into the ball. We were more active in pressuring the ball. We didn’t turn it over, so they didn’t get as many run-ons. We took care of the ball and then we got back. We’re just really active and connected. They probably didn’t have their best game, but I think we ran our offense really hard. It all played into it. I don’t know if that fatigued them at all. We didn’t let them get too many transitions. You have to do everything well because they’re such a potent team. The post trap was good and then there were some great times that we were defending at the rim, with 8 blocked shots. We were active at the rim to hustle and fight to come up with enough loose balls.”

On Virginia’s shooting tonight:

“We need that. We’re going to have to make outside shots, because that’s just who we are. Kyle banked one in the first half, which we’ll take, and they banked one in too. I said at halftime that was fair. Guy’s playing with more freedom, moving hard, and had some good pump fakes. London obviously hit that big one at the top of the key. We needed it all. We got some good rolls, and the crowd was incredible. That was one of the better ones we’ve had. They saw us lay it on the line, and some people probably don’t like that, because it was low scoring. That’s the only way we’re going to beat a team like Carolina.”

On the past game against Carolina and today’s younger starting lineup:

“We knew we just weren’t tough enough defensively down there. It was hard. Offensively, we were squirting up some early shots and not getting quality shots. They defended well. Then, we made some shots. When you make your shots ââ’¬” that makes the biggest difference. I thought we had more purpose in our cuts, our screens and our offense. We stayed true to that. We were much better on the ball. We didn’t know if this would give us the win, but we knew it was the way we had to do it.”

On Perrantes’ and Guy’s defensive efforts:

“I thought London chased really well. He beat screens and tried to bother shots. I thought Kyle did really well, too. We made a commitment about three or two weeks ago to be a better defensive team by the end of the year. We just have to be better with our slides, tighter in our gaps, and we’re committing to that. We have to stay in games and stay attached. Our defense kept us attached and helped us find just enough offense. Those two did a nice job, as did the other guys.”

On the team’s ball security tonight:

“We said before this, ‘This is the time of year where softness does not work.’ Everything needs to be met with two hands. We need to be as sharp as we can and not make home run plays. Make the play that’s in front of you, and keep pounding away offensively. I thought our guys were attentive to that. I think our guys had a mindset about taking care of the ball and completing the pass. To only have 4 turnovers in a game like that is significant.”

On the starting lineups’ height:

“We said before this, ‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.’ We wanted to scrap and trap the post. Offensively, we wanted to stretch it out. The four-guard lineup gave us a different look, but we went back to our traditional in the second half, which served us better. We were trying to loosen some things up and see if it would work.”

On the increase in playing time for freshmen:

“I just thought it was time. They know they have to defend and take care of the ball. They’ve grown in their game and their understanding. Hopefully they’re fresher and they’re ready to go at the end of the year.”

Virginia Senior Guard London Perrantes

On Devon Hall’s two missed dunks:

“So, what happened was he was up late last night and I told him, ‘You’re going to miss two dunks in the game if you don’t go to sleep,’ and he did not listen to me. I am the father of the house though.”

On his assignment of guarding Justin Jackson and becoming a defensive stopper:

“I was looking forward to playing against [Justin Jackson] and against North Carolina, especially after how the first game went. That was probably the most frustrated I have ever been just from a defensive standpoint. I felt like he could get whatever he wanted in the first game, especially in the first half, and when coach told me that I was going to guard him I just was ready, I wanted to be that. I thought that I could do it, I believed in myself, the team believed in me, and I just knew that if we were going to win the game that I had to do what I had to do.”

On Coach Bennett’s assessment of this game as a ‘golden opportunity’:

“We have been in a slump. Obviously. we won that last game at NC State. We had nothing to lose. We had two more games left, North Carolina has been playing as one of the best teams the last couple of weeks. We had nothing to lose. We just wanted to go out there, play hard, and do what we could to win this game.”

On Devon Hall’s two missed dunks:

“We knew defensively we were going to have to be at our best to win this game, regardless of how good offensively we were going to play because they are such a high-powered offensive team. Defensively, we knew that we were going to have to buckle down and play as hard as we could and let our offense go. Obviously, we are off and on sometimes on offense, but our defense has to be there at all times and it was there tonight.”

Virginia Redshirt Junior Guard Devon Hall

On whether the team took this game personally:

“Absolutely. I think that when we were in Chapel Hill, we were a completely different team and we did not take it personally on the defensive end. They were just getting anything they wanted ââ’¬” lobs, dunks, and wide-open jumpers, and we were kind of not ourselves. I think each guy individually took it personally deep down inside to step up his game.”

On Kyle Guy’s impact on the team’s success:

“I think he means a lot to us. If he is hitting shots and we can get him going quick, we are going to find him. If we are able to get into the lane and make drives and kicks, or if we have any sets we run for him and he is able to get going then he spaces and opens up the floor for a lot of people.”

Virginia Junior Forward Isaiah Wilkins

On London’s final home game:

“That’s crazy. A, he’s done so much for this program, and B, this season’s gone by so fast. Obviously, it’ll be an emotional day. Everybody loves London and the crowd will be very into it. Hopefully, we will pull out a win. He’s not afraid of the big moment; he proved that today. He took a lot of big shots today, a couple deep threes, but he’s improved as a leader every single year. I’m learning from him every single day, a great floor general and a great dude.”

On change of momentum in last week:

“It’s just one win. One win can change a lot for our confidence. We got the win at NC State and guys are back to shooting the ball. It might be off the glass, but they got a little swagger, a little confidence back.”

On bounce-back from loss to UNC:

“You just have to let it go. I forgot we played them nine days ago. It was really big for us to get the NC State win and obviously, this one was huge for us. You have to let it go, and keep playing. There are so many games to play, and then hopefully a lot more games to play after the end of the regular season.”

Sophomore Center Jack Salt

On third straight 20-win season:

“I am honored to be a part of this program. All the coaching staff and players, I’m just grateful to be here in Charlottesville with all of these coaches and players.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Kyle Guy

On what was different this time around against Carolina:

“I think we took that so personally. I think it was probably the best thing that could have happened to us against that team, and we wanted to make a big statement coming back home.”

On the fun he has on the court:

“I have a blast. This is why I play the game ââ’¬” because I love to be in these situations. I love basketball, and I think you can see that in my play.”

On finding space for shots despite the press:

“We were just being a little more aggressive and a little more assertive on offense. We were a little timid at Chapel Hill, so here we tried to be a little more aggressive, and Coach [Bennett] was encouraging us all week to make sure we were prepared.”

On where the confidence comes from:

“Just playing with a chip on my shoulder. I know my teammates have my back. They believe in me, and I believe in them. Growing up, I was a scrawny little skinny kid and kids tried to pick on me, so I always played with a chip on my shoulder; I carried that to the college level.”

On the grit and toughness against a taller lineup:

“We just tried to leave everything out there on the floor, and I think we finally grasped that after the first North Carolina game. We don’t want any regrets, and if we are going to lose, then it is going to be because they hit contested shots. We just wanted to leave everything on the floor and give it our all.”

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams

Opening statement:

“The most aggressive team tonight – the best team won tonight. Their defense was a lot stronger and more aggressive than our offense. First half, we gave up 18 points on turnovers, and had 12 turnovers and a low possession game that needless to say hurt us a great deal. Only down four, I told them I felt like I was one of the luckiest guys in the world, with the way we played we could have been down 30. Second half we got it to one and London Perrantes made two in a row and he is a heck of a kid and a heck of a competitor, I really enjoy watching him play when he is playing somebody else. I don’t enjoy watching him play when he is playing us. [Kyle] Guy got them started early in the game, we thought we played great defense and he made one at the shot clock early and then banks another one that gave him a little more energy and excitement, but the first half was just turning it over and the second half I looked down and we were shooting 28 percent and that isn’t going to beat anybody that is a good team.”

On how Perrantes played against Jackson:

“I think he did a great job, he is smaller and quicker and got underneath him and made it difficult for Justin [Jackson] to get to the basket. Justin took too much of a load on personally, he took some tough shots and I’d rather take five more seconds to get a good shot as opposed to taking one that tough. He has made a bunch of baskets for us this year and we probably wouldn’t be sitting where we are today if he hadn’t taken some of those tough shots. London did a nice job.”

On the main takeaway after tonight’s loss:

“It’s the ACC and that’s what it is. It’s a tough league. We can stink it up one night and then we can play like great balls of fire the next night, and so can the other teams. I think everybody thought Virginia was going to be a great team and we beat them at our place and nothing went right for them but tonight I don’t think it is as much what we did wrong as it was how good their defense was. I don’t like turnovers and I don’t like 28 percent in the second half, but when you turn the ball over it is usually because the defense did something. It’s college basketball.”

On only scoring one field goal after cutting the deficit to one:

“During that late stretch, I thought Justin [Jackson] took two that weren’t very good and Isaiah [Hicks] went to the basket and I thought he got fouled but the referees didn’t, so they didn’t call it. Kennedy [Meeks] missed one inside so we missed some shots, but they guarded it too so I think it was a little bit of both.”

On being 7-0 at the start and losing that lead:

“We didn’t get a good shot. I think we turned it over on the first possession and took a bad shot on the second possession. But they missed them also and then we scored two baskets and then we banked one in from three ourselves. We can’t talk about luck because we did it ourselves. It’s 7-0, but they want shots – they weren’t turning it over and we were turning it over and we turned it over again. At our place when they doubled the post it didn’t bother us that much, but tonight you can figure it out. Our post players had nine of our 14 turnovers. I think their double team on the big guy affected us more than here than it did at our place.”

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