Notes, Quotes and Comments: #17 UVa. 61, Maryland 53

photoTeam Notes

Virginia won its eighth consecutive game, its longest ACC win streak since 1982-83

• The Cavaliers’ 11-1 record marks their best ACC start since opening the 1981-82 season 12-1 in league play

Virginia clinched its third straight 20-win season, marking the first time it has accomplished the feat since 1991-93

• The Cavaliers won their 15th consecutive home ACC game, the second-longest streak in school history (16 straight home ACC wins from 1980-1982)

• Virginia’s 15-game home ACC win streak is the longest active streak in the league (Duke has an active 14-game ACC home win streak)

• The Cavaliers extended their win streak to six games against Maryland, their longest in the series

Virginia had the same starting lineup (Tobey, Harris, Brogdon, Perrantes, Mitchell) for the 12th consecutive game (extending the longest streak with the same starting lineup in the Tony Bennett era)

• Akil Mitchell’s dunk just before halftime marked the fourth time in six ACC home games that UVa has scored at the first-half buzzer

 

Player Notes \• Joe Harris (19 pts) scored in double figures for the 16th time this season (85th time in his career)

Akil Mitchell scored a season-high 13 points

Akil Mitchell scored in double figures for the fifth time this season (35th time in his career)

Malcolm Brogdon (14 pts) has scored in double figures in every ACC game (18th time this season overall, 23rd time in his career)• Joe Harris tied season highs with four 3-pointers and four assists

 

Virginia Career Record Book

Joe Harris (1,546 pts) moved into 14th place tie on Virginia’s career scoring list, passing Mike Scott (1,538 pts, 2008-12) and Richard Morgan (1,540 pts, 1986-89) and tying Travis Watson (1,546 pts, 2000-03)

Akil Mitchell (707 rebs) moved into 12th place on Virginia’s career rebounding list, passing Kenny Turner (706 rebs, 1988-91)

Joe Harris (237 3-pointers) moved into a second-place tie on Virginia’s career 3-pointer list, tying Harold Deane (237 3-pointers, 1994-97)

 

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the team effort: “Joe [Harris] was really good in the second half. He hunted down shots. I really thought the ball screen defense in the second half was terrific – mostly by Darion [Atkins] and Akil [Mitchell]. They were getting in the lane too much in the first half. We really did a good job with that. London made some good plays. Everyone did. Teven [Jones] gave us a lift when he came in. It took a little bit of everything today.”

On Joe Harris: “This is the sign of a mature player – one who can be efficient and senses when we need it. Joe wants to win. He will do whatever it takes to win. He is an efficient player and senses when he needs to get going and hit shots. He is such a team oriented guy that he is okay being the second or third option when he needs to be.  He understands that he draws attention to let other players get going, but then also has the ability to elevate his game. That is a rare player and I think it will work well for him beyond college.”

On a close win: “It is good to get a win, however it was. Maryland has been playing good basketball. They have won three of their last four. I respect the job Coach Turgeon does and I respect their talent. I watched them warm up and told our guys, ‘they are ready, I can see it in their eyes and I hope your ready too.’ We needed this home crowd energy. This was a grind out game and you need to play in those games.”

On Akil Mitchell: “He has played well. I think a number of guys have stepped up, but definitely Akil. He is playing on the glass, he is finishing better, and his ability to guard mobile guys is such a strength. He is huge in our defensive system and he uses his versatility well.”

On turnovers: “That one turnover was poorly timed, but when we played them last year Maryland gave us trouble with that diamond press. We were slow breaking it, but I thought we did a better job in the second half of breaking the press. It is nice getting across half court and getting the guys going. Whenever we can keep our turnovers low and our assists high, that is a formula for success.”

On Darion Atkins: “I think he is a great example of just staying with it because every player is important. It was a defensive game to stop that ball screen, and Akil and Darion did a great job. When they are locked in they have the quickness and experience to bother people trying to use that screen.”

 

Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon

On game: “It was a great college basketball game. I thought our group played really well and executed when we needed them to. We did a lot of things well. There is a reason Virginia is 11-1 in the league. Defensively, Virginia stepped it up. We missed some shots that we were hoping we’d made and we couldn’t get them to go. Virginia was terrific, especially in the second half.”

On season: “Losing is no fun. With that said, we have gotten so much better in the last month. We are figuring it out. A couple guys couldn’t play in the second half because of injuries, but they will be fine and I think we were limited in numbers towards the end of the game. Virginia had a lot more depth.”

On Joe Harris: “I expect him to be good. He is a great player. Virginia has been pounding teams this year but, tonight Joe [Harris] had to step up and he did it. Harris hit a three at the start of the second half and that started them off on a good run. He’s a great player.”

On shooting: “Our guys really executed down the stretch, but we left a lot of plays unfinished. I think we settled on too many jump shots – it is hard to drive on them here at home. There was more energy in the building and that really helped Virginia’s defense. We didn’t run our defense half as hard as we ran the offense.”

 

Virginia Senior Forward Akil Mitchell

On being locked in on both offense and defense: “It was an intense game. The fans were really into it. They were ready to go, so I knew I had to lead my team.”

On momentum swing from Justin Anderson’s block followed by Joe Harris’ 3-pointer: “They got the breakaway off of a turnover, so it was a huge momentum shift for us. From there on out we locked it down on the defensive end. They gave us a couple of breaks and then we started to kind of pull away.”

 

Virginia Sophomore Guard Malcolm Brogdon

On toughness of playing four games in nine days: “It’s extremely tough. Coming into this game, a lot of guys’ legs were a little bit tired, but that is something you have to battle through as a college athlete. Coach Bennett has been really good about us resting our bodies and that put us in a position to win.”

On Joe Harris’ ability to both score and be unselfish: “I think he can go get it and he can get other people involved. Joe does a little bit of everything if you watch him on the floor. I think that is what makes him so lethal. When the ball is in his hands he can make other people better or score on his own.”

 

Virginia Senior Guard Joe Harris

On satisfaction of leading team to victory: “I was just happy that we got the win. We played all right, but not our best basketball. A win is a win, though. We are looking forward to getting a couple of days off before preparing for Clemson.”

On making halftime adjustment to shoot more: “I hear that I should shoot more a lot. I guess I just came out and there were a lot of opportunities in rhythm that I had in the second half. It seemed like I had clean looks at the rim and let it go.”

 

Maryland Guard Dez Wells

On his two missed free throws: “We can’t speak hypotheticals at this point. It was a good game – hard fought. I don’t know. Eventually we’re going to get one.”

On Maryland’s improvements and the game: “We are getting better. We are. It just came down to two or three lapses on the defensive end. When we’re playing a team like Virginia where they slow it up and want to play in the 50s or 60s, every possession matters. Every possession matters in every game, but in this kind of environment and atmosphere everything has to be done to a T. I feel like we executed well and played really well defensively, but had two or three breakdowns and that might have cost us the game. These things happen, but you have to be tough enough to fight through them. I thought we did that tonight, but if I make those two free-throws that I missed, or Evan [Smotrycz] hits the shot that he missed, or the ball bounces our way one more time and I really feel like we could have won this game.”

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