Postgame: UVA coach Tony Bennett on big win over Pitt

uva coach tony bennettUVA coach Tony Bennett talks with reporters after the Cavs defeated Pitt, 67-42, on Saturday.


On how special Senior Day is and Senior Guard London Perrantes: “Well we did not have Thomas Rogers or Caid [Kirven] hit a late last second three, that was the only thing. Neither of our guys who are walk-ons are seniors, but very important. I talked to the guys before the game, ‘A way to serve London is to lay it on the line,’ and I so wanted it to go well for him. And when he came out of the game, I embraced him and I said, ‘We’ve had a lot of good times out on this court, haven’t we?’ and he said, ‘Yes we have.’ I remember my Senior Day, my father and I walked off the court, he was my coach of course, and he put his arm around me and we walked off the court, and that was the last thing we did for my last game at Green Bay. I waited for London and I said to him, ‘I want to walk off this court with you with my arm around you,’ I said because we have experienced special things. I am very grateful for his decision to come to Virginia. We have had so many special players, but he has been a catalyst for what has happened, and that brought me great joy just to be able to do that. It was a memory of mine from my playing days and to do that with London probably meant more to me than to him. I appreciated what happened and how the fans embraced him over his career.”

On the team’s recent defensive prowess: “We were better. We were a little loose at times in transition [defense], and I do not know why those guys did not play and that is not for me to know. I think that obviously really affected them because they are a dynamic duo in terms of their ability to score and stretch you, score inside and score outside. Probably the lead helped us, and then in the second half we did still establish our defense, and said, ‘Let’s make them earn.’ I think we tried to forge our identity in the Carolina game, and we talked about a way for us was taking care of the ball, they switch everything so it was a little confusing, but take care of the ball and just get into the ball and battle defensively. We found a formula that we have been working toward, and the Carolina game brought it to fruition, and for the most part we carried it out here.”

On London Perrantes’ career at Virginia: “It has been different this year. He has always been the setup guy, makes opportunistic big plays. This year he has been the featured guy in terms of the marked by the other team’s defense. It has been a process, it has. At times, I think that in a way has stretched him and made him better because at times it has been overwhelming and it has been all the guys on him. I think he has a nice balance right now and we will need that. Again, to have a point guard like that who has a mind and a feel for the game and is not afraid of the moment is significant. This year our margin for error is a little tighter, so with less experienced players he has been called upon to do more. I said, ‘It’s stretching you and it’s good for your future.’ I will never forget, we got beat by Tennessee by a ton, we played Florida State his first year, and he and I were at the hotel the night before, we were in the lobby and went into the restaurant and I said in so many words, ‘It’s time for you. Here are the keys to the car, or however you want to say it, but you have got to run this team,’ and from that moment on from a success standpoint has been really good, and it has been a collaboration of everybody. He just has a way of making everyone around him better, and he has shown that.”

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