COACH BENNETT: Certainly I really liked how we came out and played in the first half. I thought we were very sharp and played with a purpose defensively. Didn’t give them easy looks, rebounded well. Then offensively we had a good pace, whether at times we broke them down, but we got to the paint a lot.
They’re hard to just throw it in the post because they’re big and they front. But we got the good looks. I thought Lon deposit got us going, and we got a great look from Evan. He knocked down some of those shots and looked good. In the second half there were enough plays that were made for us to be successful, but we labored. We labored offensively at times and had break downs defensively, and we had just enough. You know, we’ve got to get better in that regard.
But I think guys with the foul trouble and guys being out for a little bit, we’ve got great lifts from really whoever stepped on the floor.
Q. When you can get that kind of contribution from Evan and his shooting, how much difference does it make for the offense and the team overall?
COACH BENNETT: Again, they’re a good defensive team, and they’re physical, just to stretch it out. He hit the one we really needed. London penetrated baseline, and it was just a big three for us when we were really struggling to score. So absolutely. That’s, again, different guys, different times. I’ve been saying Evan has been so steady for us and it hasn’t always showed statistically. Well, today it showed with him stretching that defense and making some good plays.
Q. Can you talk about Justin’s comeback and what your thoughts were about how he responded?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, I mean, he hasn’t played for 32 days he’s been out. So I was so thankful that he could be out there. It should have been a week before, we thought, if everything went well. But we just wanted‑‑ I told him we’re going to use you some short stints and see what you can do. Of course he looked rusty, of course, he’s going to have certain things. But my hope is next time he’s out there, he’s better, and you just kind of have to go through that. When he got upended and fell, I was concerned for a second, but he said he landed on his back side so he was okay.
But that’s a month, and so hopefully we can get more and he can continue to get sharper. That’s why it was a good win for us.
Q. Tony, you talked prior to the tournament about your concern about turnovers recently, and it looked like you had more than you wanted again today. To what would you attribute that?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, we talk about that when our turnovers lead to easy breakouts especially. If we miss a shot, we’re usually better on the rebound in transition D. But those hurt when you go in there and all of a sudden they’re getting breakouts. We’ve just got to keep trying to be as sound as we can while still running our offense. Couple times we drive the pile and it was tough. Some of those are some offensive fouls, but we know how we say we’re a possession by possession team.
So those are a few of those take us out of it in terms of getting a good look, and also they resulted in‑‑ I’m trying to look. It’s too small for me. Points off turnovers it gave them 7 for Florida State that they didn’t have to have.
Q. Tony, Rathan‑Mayes finished with 13 points, but he really had to work for them. Were you pleased with the defensive effort on him?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, Marial gave us a nice lift when Malcolm got in foul trouble. And these guys were trying to talk and do a good job with all the ball screens they set for him. But he’s a guy obviously we know can get going in a hurry. So I thought Malcolm picked up some fouls and did a good job for the most part. And Marial gave us a nice lift, and you need someone like that with some length that can contest his shots.
Q. I was going to ask Tony about Malcolm didn’t score until the last nine minutes, I think. But down the stretch he hit the free throws. What did you see in his game tonight?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, I thought he was pressing a little bit. He got in foul trouble, sat out. And he took a couple good shots, they just didn’t go in in the second half. But a couple times I thought he pressed a little bit and forced the issue.
I thought that’s a fine line because you want Malcolm is wired to be aggressive, and I want him to be aggressive. We talk about that, but still have some soundness. But then he did hit the big one where he kind of lowered his shoulder and got the two pull‑ups or step backs and knocked his free throws down. So, again, we’ll need more from him. He knows that. But he did make some key buckets.
Q. Evan, that last three was from a few feet behind the line there, pretty deep. I take it you were feeling good with your stroke today?
EVAN NOLTE: Yeah, I don’t try to pay attention too much from the three‑point line to be honest. But it was just in rhythm. I think the shot clock was going down, and when you have guys as talented as we do offensively it gives you a chance to spread out a little bit. People are in what we call the gaps, and they have to close out a little longer, and that’s why I stepped back a little more and just let it go with confidence.
Q. Mike, you had some tough plays inside against Louisville where you got contested rebounds and you did more of that today. Anything different the last couple games for you around the basket?
MIKE TOBEY: Just going into today knowing they have a lot of big guys on that team, so just had to be aggressive around the boards. Just we’ve been really stressing that in practice as well. Just every day, working on rebounding, so that was a big key for us.
Q. Your team has been the best, and probably the most consistent in the ACC these past couple of seasons. Do you think that you guys get the respect that you deserve being in a conference with your NorthCarolinas and your Dukes?
COACH BENNETT: Absolutely, yeah. We get more than enough respect. Again, it’s just us about playing as well as we can and being as good as we can so it doesn’t really matter either way because it’s about how you perform. But the fact that these guys won a regular season championship and then the opportunities are there to keep advancing. Yeah, I’ve said that before. We had College Gameday. We’ve got people telling our guys congratulations and people that are proud of their effort knowing that we’ve got to keep better, but 10% we get enough.
Q. Evan, how much of your improved shooting recently is due to getting more arc on the shot?
EVAN NOLTE: I think it’s a lot of it. I think another part of it is I think the arc coach, I don’t know what game it was, but I think my shots were varied. Didn’t have a lot of arc at all. And really having that in my mind every time and going into shooting it helped me a lot. Having more legs. The last shot I took I didn’t have arc or my legs under it, and I missed it by a lot, I thought. So it was a big part of it.
I think also playing and getting a lot more minutes and reps also gets you in the flow and gets you in rhythm and used to those type of shots in game‑type settings.