Postgame: Virginia coach Tony Bennett on win over Georgia Tech

tony bennett uva basketballVirginia coach Tony Bennett talks with reporters after the Cavs’ 64-48 win at Georgia Tech Thursday night.

On De’Andre Hunter’s success at the four-position:
“A lot of teams in our league will play with four perimeter guards which Georgia Tech did a lot, but even when they didn’t De’Andre is long enough and gives us some versatility. You look at four guys in double figures and almost a fifth – the balanced scoring was good. He’s given us some inside-outside and he led us tonight in rebounding which really helped us. We were stagnant and a little rough early offensively and Georgia Tech is a good defensive team. They throw different looks at you. I thought our defense held us in there until we got a little more rhythm.”

On adjusting to Ben Lammers in the second half:
“He’s a heck of a shot blocker and they’re a shot blocking team… They went more man in the second half and were switching off of De’Andre [Hunter] who was out there most of the time. We were just playing off of our five-man and trying to spread the ball a little more and get some ball screens, so it took him away from it and spread some of the other guys. When De’Andre’s on the floor you can do that and use Isaiah [Wilkins] as a five. Guys made some better plays – touching the paint, making the next pass or finishing. He was having a field day blocking our shots early.”

On playing first road game since January 3 at Virginia Tech:
“Our word in the locker room is ‘trust.’ Trust each other, trust your teammates, and trust how we’re doing it is the right way. A couple days ago we acknowledged the fact that it’s going to get harder as the season progresses. The competition, the road games, the home games – it’s just how it is… Then we also said ‘you can’t let the non-negotiables slip for us’… Against N.C. State we were real good early, but our turnovers and offensive rebounding lapses – and we weren’t perfect tonight. We tried to really recommit to some of the things that will first eliminate losing for us and get better in those areas in the two days we had prep… They were stingy to score against and that always carries on the road.”

On Isaiah Wilkins’ defensive performance:
“Isaiah being from Atlanta, I am so proud of him, and he’s a joy to coach. Just the kind of young man he is. How he plays is his personality. He’s such a giver. He’s one of the most continuous defensive players. He thinks help. He thinks cover for teammates. He knows how to anticipate. And if you can find that, it’s worth its weight in gold for a defensive player. Those two things with him are great. Then you’ve got to look at his heart, and not everybody has that kind of heart. He’s got a big heart, and that shows.”

On asking Isaiah Wilkins to guard Ben Lammers:
“That was Coach [Brad] Soderberg. He came to me and said, ‘maybe we should look at switching it because they play [Abdoulaye] Gueye and he’s a little more handle at the five. They run stuff through him and [Ben] Lammers moves a little more.’ So we thought let’s have Isaiah [Wilkins] on him where Jack [Salt] didn’t have to move as much and could use his body and size defensively to bother.”

On De’Andre Hunter’s four-point play at the end of the first half:
“Big. They came down and [Curtis] Haywood II hit a tough one over Ty [Jerome] deep. I was thinking, ‘should I call timeout or not?’ I thought Josh [Pastner] might go into a zone. You just didn’t know, and I just wanted to flow with it. The guys made the right play. Devon [Hall] had a heads-up play, and De’Andre was in the corner.”


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