Postgame: UVA coach Tony Bennett, players talk after South Carolina State win

uva basketballUVA Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the game: “In the first half, I thought we were solid, especially defensively. We did a good job on the ball screen defense. South Carolina State kept battling and hit some tough threes that kept them in it.  I think we showed some young mistakes, and even our experienced guys had some careless turnovers. I always tell our guys that those minutes are valuable when you’re in there. I wish we could have separated a little more in the second half, but we’ll learn from that.”

On defensive effort: “We put them on the line a little too much, but I thought we did a good job guarding the ball screens. Darion [Atkins] and Anthony [Gill] were very active to start the game. They got us off to a good start. We did a good job sealing gaps on penetration and there was a lot of activity on defense, which got us going. We just need to keep being steady, make it hard for them to get the looks they want, and make our runs here and there. I think we did that. We need to limit the three-point field percentage and not allow them to get into rhythm.”

On Justin Anderson’s improved shooting: “I think all of our guys have made subtle improvements. The offseason is all about physical improvement and skill development. Justin really tried to develop a consistent shot, and it certainly looks better. I want him impacting the game in a bunch of ways. That’s important for us. If he can continue to be consistent, it’ll stretch the floor out for us.”

On the upcoming game against George Washington: “I know what’s coming on Friday in George Washington. They’re a tournament team and went up to Rutgers and beat them handily. They have legitimate size and are a good program and a well-coached team. We’ll have to be ready to play, and certainly we’re looking forward to it.”

 

Virginia Junior Forward Mike Tobey

On his performance: “I still have a lot more to improve on. Throughout the course of the season, I need to continue to add stuff to my game.”

On his improvement since last year: “I think that I have gotten a lot stronger which helps me with rebounding. I’m playing more aggressively. Overall, I feel like I’m a lot better now than I was starting last year. Defensively, I feel like I’m doing better things and once we start going against teams with actual size down low, I’ll be able to get more comfortable out there.”

On his match-ups: “Playing against someone my own size will help me since I won’t be playing so much around the perimeter once ACC play starts.”

 

Virginia Junior Guard Justin Anderson

On the win: “It was good to get some work in. It wasn’t just a vacation out there, so we are still working hard.”

On the team: “We are not where we want to be yet. I say that with humility and also with thankfulness. I’m thankful that we are able to go 3-0 and for how we’ve been playing and the success that we’ve had, but we know that we have a hungry George Washington team who wants to come in here and beat us Friday. We have to remain humble, get back to the basics, and try to continue chipping away at getting to be the best that we can be.”

On the upcoming game: “It’s a great opportunity. Whenever opportunity knocks you want to be ready to respond, and to open that door. I think that we are ready for this opportunity and George Washington is going to come in here and be fierce. Like Coach [Bennett] said before, they are a tournament team, and I actually have a high school teammate on their team so we have been talking about this game all off-season. They are a team full of great, hard-working guys, and it is going to be a duel.”

On handling the amount of games: “We have handled it great. We are not worried about that. The moment we start worrying about everything outside of who we are playing and what we are doing as a team, I think that could be our downfall. We are ready to take on any challenges put in front of us and we’re just going to try and keep moving.”

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is now available at a special pre-sale discounted price of $20. The book is expected to ship by June 10, 2019, and will retail for $25.
Pre-order for $20: click here.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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