Bennett postgame: On fouls, Woldetensae, growth in tough road loss

Bennett doesn’t fall into trap: Doesn’t talk fouls after loss

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Tony Bennett. Photo by Dan Grogan.

Tony Bennett isn’t going to have to write any checks to charity, but reporters did their best after Virginia was whistled for a season-high 20 fouls on Saturday, sending #5 Louisville to the line 24 times in the second half.

“I guess we fouled them. I’ll look at the tape,” said Bennett, whose Cavaliers had come into the game averaging just 13.3 fouls per game, fourth-lowest in the nation.

Twenty-four free throws in a half, after Virginia somehow got through the first 20 minutes with just five team fouls.

And the whistles meant a lot to the final outcome.

After Louisville shot 60 percent from the field in building a 42-28 halftime lead, UVA clamped down on D in the second half, holding the Cardinals to 7-of-19 shooting in the final 20 minutes.

The only thing working for Louisville on the offensive end was the free-throw parade that broke out in the Yum! Center.

That’s not Bennett talking, by the way.

Lousiville coach Chris Mack, incredulously, as his team was being propped up by the discrepancy in whistles, found it in himself to get called for a tech with 3:25 to go after what he felt and colorfully related to the game crew was a missed call.

But Bennett, no, he’s not one to talk calls after a game.

“It’s a physical game, and a lot of stuff is happening, and we try to play very good position, and when guys are dribbling and putting the ball on the floor hard, there’s contact all over,” Bennett said. “Possessions are so valuable in those kinds of games, and you hate when you look at how many times we put them on the line, the discrepancy, you just battle. We’ll go to the film and see what we can do better with our positioning.”

Bennett on Woldetensae

Tomas Woldetensae had a career-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting, with his second game in three weeks knocking down seven threes.

“You can see he’s getting more and more comfortable,” Bennett said afterward. “He’s got a very good feel, he’s aggressive with, what we like to say, hunting his shot. Our guys did a good job of finding them and screening them. We screened well. He gives us offense.”

Growth in defeat?

There’s a lot to like about this one, even in defeat.

The season-high 73 points, the 1.281 points per possession, the 11-of-22 shooting from three, the rally from a double-digit first-half deficit to lead late.

“We played well against a very good team and, hopefully, it’s just what’s next for us,” Bennett said. “Maybe our guys are aware of that. I want our guys to play with an edge and keep finding ways to be the best. We talked about it, being the best version of themselves. They took our message before the game, leave this place a better team when we leave. You want to leave it better than you found it in a way, but leave this place a better team.

“I don’t know if that means you’re going to win. Who can say that, you sit there and look at these guys before the game, We’re winning this one, but I say to just leave it a better team, and I think we did that today. There’s still things that we can improve, but you saw a great environment for college basketball. We took a step in defeat. I can handle being beat. I just don’t like losing, and we didn’t lose today.”

Story by Chris Graham

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