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Dec. 5, 2017

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Virginia coach Tony Bennett

On how WVU senior guard Jevon Carter stifled the UVA offense late in the game:
“A little bit of both. He’s a heck of a player. He and (WVU sophomore forward) (Lamont) West made some tough shots. Whenever we either got a lead or we were right there, they would hit a 3, and I’ll watch it on tape, some contested 3’s that cost us. I think we played well in stretches, and then I think there were some stretches where we didn’t play well, and it was just enough of those stretches to cost us, whether it was falling asleep on an out of bounds play or a couple of turnovers. Their pressure is impressive and they’re going to make you turn it over, but there’s a couple of turnovers we had that were unnecessary that led to baskets. So, those things kind of took place, but when you have a player the caliber of (Jevon) Carter, what he did was pretty darn good. He’s physical, he’s tough and we battled in there for a while. We’ll grow from it. I’m sure.”

On the spark that Virginia sophomore guard Kyle Guy provided to the offense late in the game:
I told him to make them in the second half. No, I said, “Listen, Kyle, if you’re not feeling it, take the good shot. You don’t have to force it.” I even said to him at halftime, “You’re kind of a hard one for me, because I need you to be assertive and aggressive, but you’ve got to be sound with the ball and pick it up on the defensive end.” He’s always a shot away from getting it going, and he’s such a threat. He got some pretty good looks in the first half. Maybe a couple were a little rushed, but then he got some real clean looks in the second half. I thought the guys did a good job of finding him. (Virginia senior guard) Devon (Hall) really had a heck of a game. He kept us in there. (Virginia redshirt sophomore forward) Mamadi (Diakite) did. We played well enough to be in there to have a chance, but not well enough in those stretches to come away with a win in this setting against that kind of intensity and pressure.”

On his thoughts of Virginia sophomore guard Ty Jerome in the later stretches of the game:
“I thought Ty (Jerome) found (Virginia sophomore guard) Kyle (Guy) well. He had a couple of those turnovers. I think one time he got stuck in a bad spot, but he made some good plays, found people and a couple times he got in a little bit of trouble. He did some good things and then had some trouble. I think it’s like I said, we had some stretches of good ball and some stuff that we’re going to look at on tape, and I think we’re going to want those back. When he’s running the show out there against the pressure, it can wear on you, and you’ve just got to be sound. You’ve got to be sound. We were trying to get Kyle (Guy) loose for a 3. So, we had to gamble a little bit. Again, there’s some good and some things that he can improve on for sure.”

On how the WVU Coliseum compares to other tough venues he has visited:
“It’s really good. It’s a great college basketball atmosphere. I told Coach (Bob) Huggins, and I wasn’t trying to kiss up or anything. I just said, “It’s an honor to play against him and his programs.” We’ve had a great series; his teams are tough. They’re well coached. He’s one of the best. Then, you come into this arena, and I had heard a lot about it, and I wasn’t quite ready for the gunshot. The guy surprised me on that one. They said it was going to be after the starting lineups, and I was talking to the guys and “boom” there it goes. It’s loud, though. It reminds me of U-Hall. I never coached at U-Hall, but a bigger version of U-Hall or when I was in the Big 10 at Purdue. Some of those settings, but these people know good basketball. They’ve been treated to a heck of a coach and a heck of a program. It’s a very good atmosphere, and it’s good for our young guys to be in. We’ve got to grow up and learn from it, because there’s a lot of those in the ACC.”

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins

On senior guard Daxter Miles Jr. struggling with his shot at first, but coming through on defense:
“Dax has put more time in this year than he has in previous years in terms of trying to study the game, study the opponent and getting in the gym. He hasn’t been a very good free throw shooter for three years, and he has really taken it to heart. Started out bad, but he has really shot it well since. He made two huge plays, huge plays. They scored on that elevator screen earlier, and he did a great job of getting around the screen and knocking the ball down and then saving it. The other one he ran through. We do that every day. That one wasn’t a big shock to us. That’s the rotation we work on. The first one was a heck of a play.”

On preparing for Virginia’s type of offense:
“We read an article that said we played a cake schedule up until then. I know (Virginia coach) Tony (Bennett) doesn’t feel that way, but we were going to be ready to play anyway. I think that got us a little more ready to play. All of that stuff helps. I had a guy at Cincinnati that used to make stuff up. He was a player. He used to make stuff up just to get people rallied up. They’re good, and they are without question a, whatever – I don’t know, I haven’t seen everybody – but they’re certainly a top-15 team or whatever. They’ll be a really good team in their league as always. Tony (Bennett) does a great job coaching. Great job.”

On (Virginia sophomore guard) Kyle Guy getting hot:
“We’re always worried about him, but we let him get going. We stopped guarding him. I thought we did a great job early of making him take tough shots and to really work hard to get his shots. Then, for whatever reason, we forgot he was out there. He’s not a good shooter, he’s a great shooter. JC (Jevon Carter) made some good shots, too. The one he made with the shot clock running down was huge.”

On if Virginia forgot about sophomore forward Lamont West:
“No. Lamont is just – Lamont has gotten better. Lamont is getting it off a little quicker. He’s using pump fakes now. He never drove by anyone before, and now when you look at him, you can see he has the ability to drive by people. He’s probably our best finisher at the rim. I think that helped him. He wasn’t shooting it very well. When he came in and said, “Will you help me?”, he really just wasn’t lifting it up. He wasn’t getting through it, and I think what happens when you start missing shots, particularly a guy like him who is used to making shots, you start to press a little bit. Then, you start to aim the ball and not shoot. I just told him to shoot the dang thing; don’t aim it.”

On getting a handle on the season after dropping season opener:
“We’re getting better. We have to get better offensively. We just don’t go through any kind of progression when we get the ball, in terms of who comes open first. If he’s covered, who is supposed to come open second and third? We have to keep getting better at that. That’s why I try to keep the ball in JC (Jevon Carter) and Dax’s (Daxter Miles Jr.) hands as much as I possibly can because they’re better at reading the plays. The play that Lamont (West) made when they ran under the screen and he popped back, I mean that’s why Dax had the ball, because Dax knows to look there. If it had been one of those other guy, they may not have even looked for him. They’d be looking for him to come off the screen and he’d come off the screen and they wouldn’t have known where he was. That part of it we have to get a whole lot better at.”

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