UVA coach Tony Bennett talks with reporters after the Cavs’ 65-55 loss to Duke.
Overall game reflection: “First I want to give credit to Duke – they really guarded us hard. It was one of those games where you had to work to get the catches. I think we had decent shots in terms of what we could get against them without being able to throw the ball inside and score. I thought we got to the elbows and had some opportunities at the rim, but we sometimes had a little trouble finishing. It was a good defensive Duke team tonight. We tried to run hard and I think we worked really hard defensively. We actually flew around and I liked our scrappy defensive play. We did the job for the most part on Grayson Allen and on Luke Kennard. And then you saw a special performance by Jayson Tatum. I watched the tape and I thought Isaiah Wilkins was for the most part there but, it’s a talented team and they are obviously well coached. When we had opportunities, we weren’t as efficient as we needed to be. But it was a hard-fought game. But, I appreciated how hard they played and we just weren’t as good at putting the ball in the basket, which Duke had a lot to do with.”
On second half performance: “We had one break down defensively to start the second half. They got a layup at the rim and we didn’t help on a back screen. Then we had a couple of turnovers from good Duke pressure. Every possession for us mattered, and when we did get a chance to maybe take the lead or get a big shot we couldn’t capitalize. I think when you’re playing as hard as we did, it takes your legs a little bit – however, we didn’t have a choice. The play on the glass was really tough. We had to go a little more traditional because they exploited us when we had four guards, which hurt our scoring somewhat.”
On recent losses: “I mean, you really want to win. But, it’s a fine line and we are in so many close games. This ball club has some limitations in certain areas and we are fighting like crazy. We are doing some good things and we have some strengths, but we are going to be in a lot of close games. In this one we played hard, but we were outplayed. And that’s the reality against Duke. I can’t say if we had just gotten this one call it would have been different. We do need to shoot better, but they were the better team tonight.”
On second half shooting: “I think we worked incredibly hard to be as ready as we could be in the first half. I think talent is going to emerge at some point, but tonight it was more individual plays and fewer breakdowns. But, every time we needed a stop they would put the dagger in us with a late shot clock play or a deep three. We are working hard to become a better defensive team and we have to get better for 40 minutes, but it’s not for a lack of trying. They tried hard tonight and it wasn’t enough.”