Home Postgame: Interviews with UVA coach Tony Bennett, Cavs players after win over GW

Postgame: Interviews with UVA coach Tony Bennett, Cavs players after win over GW


uva basketballUVA Head Coach Tony Bennett

Opening statement: “That is a well coached team – it is a physical team that has experience. The way we were really on both ends of the floor, our unwillingness to be patient and break the defense down was really a problem. Our offense jut didn’t match what we needed. That was troublesome, but what I did like was to be able to bounce back and in the second half have a bit more patience, try to get inside, touch the paint and sustain a little more defensively. You can’t expect to start a game with that kind of mindset offensively, or you will be in trouble and we were. That is not the type of basketball we are trying to attain and we need to learn from that or it will be a problem.”

On Justin Anderson: “He has done a good job. I thought he and Malcolm were the ones bringing us down the wrong path early, but they settled in. Definitely showed improvement in consistency and we will need that. He always makes those explosive plays that ignite the crowd and get things going. I am happy to see that they have improved, but you need to look to the next step. Justin should feel good about his improvement and stay hungry to keep getting better.”

On shooting average: “We got to the line and missed the front end of the bonus once or twice. Obviously guys weren’t shooting well. George Washington is a physical team and they run their stuff with that tight flex. Sometimes it looks like rugby with a basketball. I don’t know if the physicality made us fatigued or anxious, but we were tight and that shows up at the line or in quick shots.”

On Darion Atkins: “I always tell him to be the anchor for us defensively; protect the paint, give us activity, be all over the glass, and be opportunistic. When he does that he is at his best, and it helps us the most. It comes down to who are you as a player and what can you do to serve the team, and when he is locked into that it gives us a real good lift. He made some big plays at crucial times.”

On the trap: “That has always been an important part of our defense. First time we did it we were slow on our rotation. It may have forced a few turnovers, but it interrupted how they played in the post. That is something you are worrying about because it is a 5 man thing. You guards have to be alert and your bigs need to be there real quick. If we are slower on that then good teams will exploit it. I would say it was okay.”

On the rotation: “Some guys didn’t get to play or there weren’t enough minutes, but I told the guys to just stay ready. We felt like with the rotation we played, I wanted to look at some experience out there. Guys’ numbers will come. We thought we needed experienced guys on the floor.”


Virginia Junior Guard Malcolm Brogdon

On breaking open a lead in the second half: “I thought we grinded them and ran our offense. We had to be more patient. They were running the flex offense, screening us hard and getting the shots they wanted. We weren’t doing the same. We started taking our time and got the ball to the places we wanted to. We outworked them in the second half after they outworked us in the first half.”

On beating a quality opponent in George Washington: “It’s a very good win against a very quality opponent. I can’t say enough about how good that team is. They actually play very similar ball to us. They imposed their will on us in the first half.”


Virginia Junior Forward Anthony Gill

On coming out strong in the second half: “We came out there and decided to play better defense. In the first half, we had a lot of mental lapses. I know I had a lot of turnovers in the first half that were hurting the team. We started focusing and playing team basketball.”

On rebounding: “In the second half, they started running a zone against us. When teams run zone against us, we really start crashing the glass hard because it puts them in awkward positions to rebound the ball. We had a lot of offensive rebounds off of our own misses too. We would miss some easy shots, but it would come back out and we would finish it.”

On offensive struggles in the first half: “We took a lot of quick shots and that’s not how we play Virginia basketball. We make other teams work, and in the first half they were making us work. In the second half, we kept the ball moving and took the shots they were giving us.”


Virginia Senior Forward Darion Atkins

On the physicality of the game: “Their front court was just as physical as ours. It was a battle. We went toe-to-toe. [Kevin] Larsen is a big guy and he’s the guy I was checking, I felt like he was a good post player and I defended him well. We played a good game defensively.”

On being impatient in the first half: “Coach Bennett talked about it at halftime. He said ‘we were anxious and weren’t swinging the ball topside.’ We were being eager to get our points up there. Weren’t necessarily being individualistic. We were more collective in the second half and that’s what we needed.”

On the extra motivation to play George Washington: “We knew they were going to be a great team, with a good front court and back court. They’re an experienced tournament team and we were excited to have that challenge in front of us. I feel like we were a bit sloppy in the first half, but we pulled it together in the second half. I’m really proud of our team for playing as well as we did against this team, because they are a really good team.”


Virginia Junior Forward Justin Anderson

On the change of performance from the first half to the second half: “To start the game, this was the first NCAA tournament team from last year that we’ve played against so far this year, so there was a lot of emotion. They came in here extremely hungry like we knew they were going to be and I think that our crowd was so good tonight that we got a little bit ahead of ourselves. I rushed my shots. At halftime Coach [Bennett] got us in the locker room and got us relaxed and settled in. He told us to run our stuff and work longer and harder to wear them down. And I feel like we started to see success doing that [in the second half].”

On personal growth and progression since last season: “I think my focus has changed. I think my body has changed. I think my confidence has changed. Once I start talking about it too much I get uncomfortable because I know my faith in God is going to see me through everything and my confidence will put me in the right situations. So I’m just going to try to continue to stay humble and try to defend and play as hard as I can for my team on every given night.”




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