Postgame: Virginia coach Tony Bennett, players after win over Syracuse

tony bennett uva basketballVirginia coach Tony Bennett and UVA players De’Andre Hunter, Devon Hall, Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome talk with reporters after the Cavs’ 68-61 win over Syracuse.

Coach Tony Bennett

Opening remarks:
“It took a little joy away at the end, the way they turned us over and we had some unforced errors. I thought that they have guys who can make individual plays off the bounce and they make tough contested shots, but I felt like we needed length on the floor to guard those perimeter guys to the best of our abilities. I thought De’Andre [Hunter] was doing a good job and then Isaiah [Wilkins] blowing up the ball screens. We were just trying to make them work. I liked our variations offensively. I thought we played solid, but it just left a little bad taste how we turned it over at the end. But a quality win and you just keep fighting.”

On De’Andre Hunter in the middle of the zone:
“Sometimes we put Ty [Jerome] in there. We had Isaiah in there a little bit but it was mostly De’Andre, and then Ty just because you want a guy who can score a little in there and make some plays. It’s a little disconcerting, they are coming from behind and surrounding you so you have got to be pretty solid. And then they switched a little bit how they guarded us in the second half, they matched us a little more. That dunk that De’Andre had would have been pivotal, but he was attacking. Ty was in there and then you have got to make some threes to open that up. I thought we needed that play making ability in the high post and De’Andre did a really good job. I liked his length. I thought we could switch the ball, he was key on bothering [Oshae] Brissett.”

On taking half your shots from 3-point range:
“You just want to get quality shots. Maybe two or three were maybe a little rushed and not good shots, but we had some really good looks. We rotated the ball and got them to rotate. Feet set, lining up the seams. You have got to take those. So, I was okay with a majority of those three-pointers.” 

On Ty Jerome’s three 3-pointers in four possessions in the second half:
“As I said, you have got to open up. So, then they started matching up and opening up the top to get it in there. There was just enough plays made, but it is good to be in that spot. We will learn from that and hopefully clean up some of those things. The ability to hit that shot from the top of the key is important.”

Guard De’Andre Hunter

On mindset as he attacked the zone and being aggressive with the ball:
“In practice, we use six guys (defenders), so it makes it a little harder to get in to the middle. Once I did get into the middle, in the actual game, there were only two people in front of me instead of three. It was a lot easier to score in the middle than it is in practice. Practice really helped us a lot this game.”

On awareness of defenders while playing in the middle of the zone:
“I was just focusing on the guy in front of me and making sure that no one in the back could tap the ball out. Once I could see the guys (defenders) in my peripheral, it was either the top guy was open or they slid to the corner and I could see that. I just tried to keep everything in front of me.”

On playing with six players on defense in practice:
“We do that most of the time. It makes it harder for us to run our offense. Especially when we play teams that likes to press, a lot we will use six guys. It really bothers us at practice, but in the games, it makes it a lot easier.”

On coaches telling him to make aggressive moves on offense:
“That’s what they tell me every day in practice. They love when I’m aggressive. They don’t like it when I’m passive. I just try to play as aggressive as possible. I feel like it has been helping me so far.” 

Guard Devon Hall 

On satisfaction in beating Syracuse:
“Getting wins in the ACC and being able to capitalize on that and finish games out is a big part of what we focus on in practice. Being able to finish games is going to be big for us down the stretch.”

On final minute of the game:
“They just started pressing. I’ve got to be better in that situation. I should have had more composure and stopped making too quick a pass. I should have let them come and make smart decisions.”

On being able to grind out a tough win:
“We got some toughness as a group. We will learn from the mistakes we’ve made and keep getting better.”

Guard Kyle Guy 

On De’Andre Hunter in the first half:
“It seems like the past few games he’s really found a rhythm, and you know, we are all confident players and his has taken another level. He’s playing really good basketball when we need him to.”

On 27 3-pointers in today’s game:
“They are a zone tam so you’re going to shoot more three’s than in a normal game. If Coach (Bennett) had it his way, we probably would have attacked the gaps a little bit more. Me and Ty hit a couple three’s so we just, didn’t settle, but were just feeling it.”

On shots going in and out and the effect on confidence:
“Well, if I see the ball going in and out, the confidence never waivers. As you saw, I kept shooting it. They (teammates) make fun of me because I just keep shooting it whether it goes in or not.”

Guard Ty Jerome 

On De’Andre Hunter in the first half:
“His confidence has really stepped up the past two games. I’ve been talking to him pretty much every game about that, just to come out and just do what you do. He can score the ball, he’s versatile and I just tell him do what you do best. And, he’s been telling me before the game he feels it.” 

On sitting out the last seven minutes of the first half:
“I hate getting two fouls, then I have to sit so then I can’t help my team. De’Andre came out and gave us a huge lift and everyone did a great job. And again, it’s a lead going into halftime, so they did that for me, I felt I had to come out in the second half and give something to the team.”

On talking to De’Andre Hunter about his confidence:
“I think you can see it when he plays, whether he is confident and aggressive and when he is not. When he’s more passive, I think everyone can see that. He has played a different level of basketball these past few games. It’s just a matter of believing in himself, I think.”

On things to work on after this game:
“Taking care of the ball, whether we think we have fouls or not. We just have to be strong with the ball, control what we can control and just be a little bit smarter on that end with the pressing.”

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