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Postgame: UVA coach Tony Bennett, players talk win over Wake Forest

uva coach tony bennettUVA coach Tony Bennett and Cavs players talk with reporters after the 79-62 win over Wake Forest on Sunday.

 

Coach Tony Bennett

On the overall performance: “Those guys did a good job; it was certainly a group effort. I thought London [Perrantes] obviously had a nice game and with Marial [Shayok], there were some good things there. I just told the guys play as hard as you can, as smart as you can, and as free as you can. We missed some free throws, had some shaky moments, a couple miss communications, but for the most part the guys just did a good job and kept playing. Wake Forest is an improved team and they’ve been playing with good teams the majority of the year like Xavier, Florida State and Clemson. They’ve had chances and I just said you’re playing an ACC team, you have to keep after it and hopefully you’ll win the majority. I thought we made enough plays and were steady enough to come away with a victory.”

On defensive and rebounding performance: “We tried to rebound harder and we tried to get to the line.  Some of that was late, they fouled us because they had to. We don’t generate a lot of fouls from just throwing it inside, but we were trying to drive hard. We tried to do that against Pitt, so it was nice to see us get to the line. There were some battles for the rebounds. When we played four guards it gave us a lift at times, then you’re giving up some stuff for it. It was a step in the right direction and a win in the ACC is a win in the ACC this year. You take it and you move forward.”

On shot defense: “Well everybody else has been lighting us up in the ACC and they didn’t tonight, but you can see they are very capable. We really tried to focus on that pregame and we worked hard in practice. We had two solid days of prep for this and we worked on trying to be there on the catch and crowd guys but work in those areas that were important. For the most part they were contested and then they hit a couple tough ones. If the game is changing its hard, more and more players are able to just bounce it and pull up from 24 feet and that is tough. So, you just keep working to make them contested and be good in other areas.”

 

Guard Devon Hall

On improved rebounding: “It’s something that we work on every single day in practice. I just make a conscious effort to be able to go back and help the bigs when they’re blocking out. Coach is always preaching guards come back and rebound so I try to do as good a job as I can.”

On veteran guidance on defense: “London is our lead guard so if he’s picking the ball up and he’s pressuring it from the jump and Isaiah is blowing up ball screens very well, then it just gets us going.”

On impact of London Perrantes on offense: “I think he makes the game a lot easier. Especially when he’s getting into the lane and if he‘s got a wide open drive, people have to help and he’s able to kick it to us or get to the rim and make plays. That’s what he does really well.”

 

Guard Darius Thompson

On back-to-back three pointers in the second half: “It was definitely a big momentum changer. With having them in a zone, we had a play where we kick it in and make the defense draw in and kick it back out to me and I just happened to shoot open shots.”

On increased free throw shooting in the second half tonight“When we played against Pittsburgh I think we had five free throws. In practice the last few days, the coaches have been telling us, be more aggressive. Quit settling as much for jump shots and try to get in the lane and draw fouls so we can get some easier points. I think we did a pretty good job of that today.”

 

Guard London Perrantes

On the win: “You want to win every single game, especially after those two losses. Coming back home, we wanted to come out here and play well. We really wanted to come out and play hard, strong and better than we had in the past two games, regardless of the outcome. We felt like we needed to play better all around.”

On the team’s morale after the two losses: “You lose. Everybody loses. Look at the ACC—everyone’s been losing. Duke lost, everybody else has lost. My first three years, I would’ve held my head down and went into a shell after the loss, but now I try and encourage the team to get back on track. This was a good step forward.”

On the reaction to Jack Salt’s dunk: “It sparked a lot of energy to the whole crowd and the team. That was a big mental boost. Seeing Jack [Salt] get some hustle points is huge for his confidence and huge for the team.”

 

Forward Isaiah Wilkins

On the game being a ‘must win’: “I just want to come out and play hard every single day. The ACC is tough, so every game is a good one.”

On the team’s bounce back from the Pitt game:

“I feel like we did a better job, especially in rebounding. We did a good job guarding the three.”

On his role in the team: “I’m just trying to help us win, whether that’s shooting the ball more or playing defense.”

On Darius Thompson’s two consecutive three pointers: “Those were a huge lift. We’ve been asking him to be more aggressive and confident in what he does, and he came out and hit those.”

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