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Jan. 6, 2018

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Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On forcing North Carolina into three shot clock violations:
“We talked about having an undivided mind today, knowing we had to put our best against their best and we played some really good defense. The guys did a good job individually, and I think the crowd helped out with some of those shot clock violations, as did individual on-ball slides and bothering shots. Obviously, I looked at those 19 offensive rebounds and I thought we lacked at times in that area, but how can you fault the collective team defense that we played today. I want to point out the individual slides to bother the shot, mostly. You saw [Joel] Berry get going in that stretch, and you can see how dangerous he is.”

On the numerous dunks that the team finished off today:
“We got some turnovers that led to those breakout dunks and plays. We made a couple of nice offensive plays where we touched the paint and sprayed out the ball to get some threes that we missed, but we did force some turnovers and those were big for us to get some momentum because North Carolina, again, can score in bunches. Any of those x-factor points make a huge difference.”

On the conversation with De’Andre Hunter about redshirting:
“That was not the plan when he came here. He had a high ankle sprain and missed about three weeks going into the season. It was a hard decision, because we thought he could have helped us in certain ways, but for his physical maturity, the development of his game and his ball skills, we thought it might be the best. Maybe not short term for us, but long term for him and for us, we thought it was the right decision. He went to work on all aspects of his game, but you see the most physical part of it. I thought he was a big lift today. We are playing four guards with him and he is able to guard multiple positions and that has helped us offensively and defensively.”

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams

Opening Statement:
“It’s a big ol’ butt-kicking, is all it was. Their defense was a million times stronger than our offense. We didn’t have very good movement. Instead of working to get shots, we sort of tried to go one-on-one way too many times. We didn’t get as much as we needed to from taking the ball to the basket. Their defense was really good. I told Tony it’s about as good of a defensive game as I’ve had anybody play against us, and maybe ever, but that was a long time. Last year, they played at our place and couldn’t make a shot. Today we played here and couldn’t make a shot, but last year they just missed. I think today their defense caused us to miss. I thought [Joel Berry II] competed his buns off, made a couple big shots that kept us in it. We just acted like we had never been coached and so that falls onto me. I could’ve done a better job of coaching this team. Guys, there is not a heck of a lot more to say.”

On making offensive changes to respond to Virginia’s defense:
“A little bit maybe of both. They are really good defensively, period. Just, we can’t be that bad offensively. So, we’ve got to make some changes. We’ve got to make some tweaks. We’ve got to do a few things. Also, I strongly believe what we are doing works. Its worked for at least a couple of weeks out of 30 years. So, we’re going to do a better job at our execution too. We’ve got to be more aggressive going for the ball. We catch the ball inside two or three times and want to dribble it. This is a big-time league. There’s some big-time competition and I got really frustrated with us. I don’t even know if I finished answering your question, but a little bit of both. I think that I’m going to look at some other things. I went five small guys there just to see if we could do something, and we did better defensively, but we scored one free throw. In the last 7 minutes 11 seconds, [Luke Maye’s] free throws were the only thing we scored. Had a bunch at Kansas one time. Five small guys were called the Chickenhawks instead of the Jayhawks because they were so small, but they competed their buns off. So, we did better defensively, but we didn’t get much going offensively. But, the sad thing two of our four offensive rebounds in the second half were with a small lineup in there. So, it’s a lot of things that we’ve got to do and a short period of time.”

On Virginia’s defense forcing turnovers:
“I mean guys, you can’t turn the basketball over at the centerline. Three times in the first half we hand it to them at the centerline. There’s usually not a defense. It’s not the old girls rule when I was in high school where you got three on one and three on the other. You turn the sucker over at the centerline, they’re going to dunk the damn thing. So that’s silly. You’re 25-3 on turnover points.”

Virginia Guard Devon Hall

On defensive game:
“I think we kind of scrambled. I think we did a good job of getting back and we scrambled for each other and we made plays on the defensive end. We were able to block shots. I think we did a better job in the second half. I think we did a pretty good job today.”

On forcing turnovers:
“I think it is ball pressure and active hands that are making a difference.”

On this being a great shooting game for him from the three-point line:
“Yeah, I guess I was four-of-four from the three, so it was good. It’s just shooting with confidence, just taking the shot.”

On being undefeated against Carolina at home during his time:
“I think that it is big getting a win at your house. We are 3-0 in the ACC right now, so we are just trying to keep our foot on the pedal and learn from our mistakes.”

Virginia Forward Isaiah Wilkins

On forcing turnovers:
“There is a big emphasis on ball pressure right now.”

On De’Andre Hunter:
“He is really skilled. We moved him to the four for the Virginia Tech game and he started playing really well there. I am encouraging him to try and exploit those mismatches because I know it is harder to guard a perimeter guy who is playing the four. I just tell him to attack. He is seeming to find his groove right now, which is good.”

On the experienced defense:
“I think that the captains take a lot of pride in defending and things like that. I know for a fact I do, especially coming into this game wanting a win. I know Devon [Hall] does the same thing and he was telling the guys in the huddle that he had [Joel] Berry, that he was going just to try and slow him down, and Jack [Salt] does the same thing. He is guarding guys one-on-one on the inside. It is personal and that is how we take it.”

On guarding Luke Maye:
“I take all my match-ups personally. This was a game like we had against Davidson, where their four man was able to stretch us and things like that. I take all of these match-ups seriously. I did not want him to score. I tried to frustrate him and things like that and went from there.”

Virginia Guard Ty Jerome

On the experience against the Syracuse zone:
“It’s definitely not a regular 2-3. They’re extended, they’re long. He recruits to cater to the zone. We still have to punch gaps, get the ball in the middle, spray from there. It will be a good test and I’m excited for it.”

On defense being a point of pride for Ty and Kyle Guy:
“That’s what we do. Defense comes first here. Our coaches preach that every day that if we’re not working as hard as we can on defense we’re not playing so we don’t have the opportunity to play offense. Of course, we take pride in it every day.”

On feeding off of veteran players in the defense like Isaiah Wilkins and Devon Hall:
“Every day. We talked about matchups yesterday, and they said Joel Berry and Luke Maye are a good duo. We look and we got Devon starting on Joel Berry and Isaiah starting on Luke Maye. That puts us in a great position with two of the best defenders in the league guarding two of the best offensive players in the league. We’re always confident.”

On how the experience of the older players helps the other players on defense:
“[Isaiah] is constantly talking on the floor, but more than that, it’s his energy and passion that you guys see every day, every game, we see everything in practice. If you can’t feed of off that, I don’t know what you can feed of off. Their energy and their ability to be continuous carries over to everyone else.”

Virginia Guard De’Andre Hunter

On whether he would have had the confidence to take a late-game clutch shot earlier in the season: “Honestly, no. I probably wouldn’t have. Now I feel a lot more comfortable in that spot and taking those shots.”

On his mindset during a large baseline dunk:
“I just knew I had to track down the rebound and make something out of it. I saw Joel Berry and I was hoping he would jump. I knew once I got the ball that I was going to dunk, so I was hoping he would jump up so I could dunk on him.”

On his development during his redshirt year:
“I just worked on my game every day. I got a lot stronger. That’s been helping me right now just playing on the floor. Just working out every day really helped.”

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