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Dec. 16, 2017

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On if the team made any defensive improvements in-game:
“Not defensively. We made a couple of changes offensively, but defensively, they [Davidson] have constant motion. They run some of the best off-ball screens, we call them stagger screens, where they go through the gate or back-cut you. All five guys are capable of shooting the three, you saw that with their five-man, [Peyton] Aldridge. They just put a lot of pressure on you, so you have to be so alert and we were talking about being continuous, fighting through screens, helping your partner and then getting back. It was probably a team, that you needed some time to prepare for. If you are not prepared for how hard they run their stuff and their different actions, they are going to get some wide-open looks. They still have to make them, but I thought they run great stuff. You do not get a court named after you, Coach [Bob] McKillop, for nothing. He is a heck of a coach, and he does a terrific job. Those guys play hard and in the right way.”

On the offensive adjustment made in-game with more curls in the second half:
“We just thought that we needed to try to be aggressive in that way. We moved a couple guys, our screeners, and tried to open up the lane, and either attack it off the bounce or react to the way they were playing us. At first, when we set our screens they would short cut them, so we were trying to work the baseline. When they started chasing our screeners, similar to what they do, we started trying to get to the elbows and make some plays, look for the shots or spread it out. I thought Nigel [Johnson] gave us a tremendous lift in the first half and Devon [Hall] was really good in the second half. Kyle [Guy] got rolling as well. Three guys — with 22, 20, and 19 [points] — they made a difference. I really liked how assertive they were. And six turnovers — Davidson is not a high-pressure defensive team, but we took what they gave us. I thought we had just the right pace, and it always is good when you make 10 of 19 threes.”

On the impact that Nigel Johnson had:
“You see his speed and his burst getting down the floor with a couple steals. I thought he was really sound and really good that way, defensively, as well as hitting the three, touching the paint and getting transition buckets. I was really happy for him. That is kind of our team this year, sometimes it is a different guy, but I liked what I saw from him and we needed it all. That score is not indicative of how much of a challenge [Davidson is], because they can score. For the most part we held them, [though]. I am looking forward to watching the tape on this one to see if they just missed open shots with guys open a lot or if we, for the most part, made them earn it.”

Davidson Head Coach Bob McKillop

Opening Statement:
“I think there were moments today when we were very efficient. Obviously starting the game, we were, and I think starting the second half we were. The one thing we practiced quite a bit, what you’d never know, is the pressure that Virginia put on the ball. Everyone talks about what great defenders they are in the gaps, and they are, they’re extraordinary. But, their ball pressure, and I don’t know how many times, you could count it, but their ball pressure got deflections and forced us to dribble into gaps. The combination of those two things led to the turnovers. Which, very uncharacteristic of us, I thought was the pivotal part of the game, and that’s a tribute to Virginia’s defense.”

On Virginia’s defense:
“You know, I’ve been around a very long time, and Princeton’s offense used to wear people down. [Tony Bennett] combines his offense and his defense, together they wear you down. So, you’re chasing those screens, chasing those screens and chasing those screens and [Kyle Guy], [Ty Jerome], [Devon Hall] and, today, [Nigel Johnson]. They just run you off screen after screen, and are pretty darn patient about it. And then you go down to the offensive end and you’re fighting for every possession. So, yes, this is a very dangerous team this year, they’ve always been dangerous, but I think in particular this year they are going to be very dangerous.”

On Nigel Johnson’s performance:
“Well he’s a fifth-year senior out of Rutgers. He had a prolific high school career. We knew he was very good, but we didn’t think he’d make the threes he did.”

On Devon Hall‘s all-around play:
“He’s a jack of all trades, and what he did today was he extended it to the three-point line. He normally doesn’t shoot that percentage. It’s something about shooters when they get in a rhythm and they feel good, they make them. He’s a great step back shooter and he showed that today.”

Virginia Redshirt Senior Guard Devon Hall

On defending Davidson:
“Going into it, we knew it was going to be tough to guard. We saw it on the film we watched and actually guarding it was tough because we were trying to figure out whether they were going to attack it or do short cut screens. It just boiled down to just beating them and trying to figure out what was best for each situation.”

On being rusty:
“I don’t know about that. I think that it is just different. We haven’t guarded anything like that before. That is why Coach Bennett wanted them on them schedule. I think that we should play tough teams like that going into ACC action. We have to guard tough teams like that in the ACC, so might as well get it out in front of us.

On scoring more and adjusting his mindset:
“I think a part of me being a leader has been me being aggressive whenever I get the ball. I put that in my mind before the game started. I work my butt off to be in the spot I am.”

On scoring multiple threes:
“I think I missed my first one and then I hit two in the first half. I was just able to take shots. If I hit one, I feel good. I was able to get room. I work on my shot every single day. Any shot that I feel I have space for, I have the confidence to take.”

On the team:
“We learn every day. We are growing every day as a team. I have confidence in this team, Coach Bennett does too. We bust our butt in practice and we really challenge each other.”

Virginia Sophomore Guard Kyle Guy

On getting better shots in the second half:
“I think we went back to our offense from last year, the pattern of going, touch screen, flash screen. I think getting a rhythm was good for us.”

On the on-court presence of Isaiah Wilkins:
“I think Isaiah is our ultimate glue guy. He does everything. You might not perceive it because he isn’t very flashy, but he gets the job done. Every single day, he is a heck of a player. We need him every single game. He is one of the best in the country.”

Virginia Graduate Senior Guard Nigel Johnson

On his thoughts on the team’s defense:
“That’s our main staple is defense and getting stops and holding the other team to as few points as possible. Being a part of a team like that and getting accustomed to it, it comes quick and you’re working on it every day. That’s the main thing that Coach is drilling every day. It comes pretty naturally. I actually like playing defense and I’m pretty quick so I can get my hands on loose balls and do stuff like that and get on the ball and kick it to a teammate to get the break started. It’s definitely a pretty energizing feeling for the team and for the whole atmosphere, the whole environment, all the fans love it.”

On his dunk in today’s game:
“As soon as I got the steal and I saw the man I took it from fell, my eyes lit up and I knew it was me and the rim with nothing behind me and nothing in front of me. I just knew I was going to try to tear the rim down and get the crowd going and get my first dunk of the year that hopefully starts the trend of many more to come.”

On Devon Hall‘s steadiness this year:
“It’s been great. He’s my other fellow fifth year senior friend and he’s been here all five years so he’s all in. He knows everything Coach wants, and he’s been part of the program for five years. Just to see him be the one to come out this year and be as steady as he is and consistent is big for him and big for all of us. It gives us a great leader and a way to follow.”

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