Bennett not all that happy with ‘unsound’ ‘Hoos in 73-66 win over Pitt
Sometimes when a coach who has just won, and is 9-1 in league play, talks down his team, it’s because he’s channeling early 20th century humorist Finley Peter Dunne – comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable.
Tony Bennett was doing his best to afflict the comfortable – his UVA team has won 17 of its last 18 ACC games – but he was also speaking a good bit of truth after a somewhat ragged 73-66 win over Pitt on Saturday.
“There were stretches of good ball, but I just didn’t like how I thought unsound we were, and yielded, that is kind of the word we’ve been using, to make that closer after we had built that lead,” Bennett said, after his team let a 17-point lead evaporate to single digits in the final couple of minutes, with sloppy play.
“Credit to Pittsburgh’s scrap and their ability to put pressure on the rim, but we hung in there, and certainly grateful for the victory,” Bennett said.
Pressure on the rim, pressure on the ball – after Virginia got the margin up to 17, Pitt coach Jeff Capel, probably having seen Syracuse give UVA fits a couple of weeks ago with full-court pressure, went 94 feet with his defense, and Virginia struggled to get the ball up the floor.
The Cavaliers turned it over on five of their next eight possessions, and four of the turnovers led to Pitt buckets, as the Panthers got the margin down to seven with 1:24 to go on an Abdoul Karim Coulibaly free throw.
Virginia did enough down the stretch to keep the Panthers at bay, but the game should have been over well ahead of the final minute.
“We didn’t play very well defensively if I want to be real. That was a poor performance, good action by Pitt, but they were the aggressor. We looked unready at times, and not sharp, and again, our offense carried us, but that’s disappointing. We use our term, you fail better than next time. I thought we battled hard against N.C. State, but defensively, we did not have the right mindset, nor the right execution, and it showed defensively and offensively,” Bennett said.
“There’s that saying, don’t accept in victory what you wouldn’t in defeat. You’re grateful for the victory, but you go to work on those areas. Again, thankful for the win, but a disappointing effort in many areas of the game, and then some good effort and good execution in other areas, and again, partly it’s this team, but it’s got to be better, in my opinion,” Bennett said.
Story by Chris Graham