Press Conference: UVA after loss to UNC in ACC Tournament
COACH BENNETT: I told the guys at halftime right after the game I said you know they showed great heart and fight to claw their way back into it, to have a chance to maybe tie it or extend the game. So I like that. But what we try to hang our hat on really was porous.
It kind of unravelled defensively. You see they shot a percentage at shooting 55%, and the easy looks they got. Then they made some good plays. First, congratulations to Carolina for how charged they were and how ready they were. They really took it at us.
But defensively for us to win a game like this, we had to win a much stronger, more sound, solid effort, and we just didn’t. So that kind of stings, but we’ll grow from it. This is one and done, and the next one is one and done, so you’ve got to try to get it right.
Q. Malcolm, you knew Carolina was a talented offensive team. But what was it able to do tonight to shoot that percentage that it did?
MALCOLM BROGDON: I just think they set the tone. Like Coach Bennett said, they took it to us, and we played at their pace tonight.
Q. Malcolm, can you talk about the play where you drove down the lane, and I think it was 61‑60, how much contact was there?
MALCOLM BROGDON: There was contact, but that’s basketball. The refs call some, sometimes they don’t, so you’ve got to play through it.
Q. Anthony, talk about the difficulty you guys had with Carolina’s big men?
ANTHONY GILL: I think they’re talented. You know, they pride themselves offensive rebounding, and I think that we had some plays tonight where they got some offensive rebounds and kind of took over in some places that we should not have allowed them to score on or capitalize on. I think we have to be better than that and go in and watch film and get better.
Q. Malcolm, you had a lot of shots early in the game that kind of rolled in and rolled out. At some point you started clicking. What changed for you offensively late in the game?
MALCOLM BROGDON: Coach Bennett got into me at halftime and got me going.
Q. Justin Jackson kind of hurt you guys tonight. What was kind of the scouting report on him and the strategy trying to defend him?
ANTHONY GILL: We knew he was a talented player coming into the game. I think that he’s very versatile. He can score inside and out, so I think that just getting at him, trying to be physical with him probably would be the key. But I think he took advantage of some things where we had lapses tonight, and he really took advantage of those.
Q. Malcolm, on the possession on the inbounds with six seconds to go on the shot clock, you were on page on those moves right there. Talk a little bit about that play coming out of the timeout, and what was the strategy on that particular play?
MALCOLM BROGDON: To just get a stop. Paige made a good move. I lifted off my feet and he scored.
Q. When you look at the stat sheet and see what Carolina shot for the game, were you amazed that it was even a game at the end like that?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, they had some careless turnovers, and I thought we got back because of our hustle. We got aggressive, real aggressive and just kind of forced the issue. We’ve kind of been in that spot the other way when teams just put their head down and go, and Malcolm was very aggressive driving. We got to the free‑throw line and we’re better.
But, yeah, that thing could have been separated a lot more. But I think at least our guys responded with a tremendous second half effort. That was kind of nonexistent for most of the first half.
Q. What did you see in Justin today? It looked like his ball handling is still a little bit shaky, but got some good rebounds for you, and had a three‑point attempt at the end.
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, it ended up he got a decent look at it. It wasn’t a designed play for him. He was an option. But, yeah, it’s rust. I mean, it’s time. How many minutes did he play? He played 14 yesterday, played 12. He looked like a little better defensively, and we’re going to need him. So I thought those were important minutes that he got. I wish he could have gotten a bucket to go in whether a free throw or not.
But it’s part of being out for that long. So he certainly brought some passion and some heart. It was nice to see him. How many rebounds did he have? He had a couple of rebounds. I thought he was a little better today than he was yesterday or tonight than yesterday.
Q. As you look towards Selection Sunday now, I know you don’t like to look ahead too much, but do you feel like a No. 1 seed is something that you guys deserve?
COACH BENNETT: Oh, 1 seed, 2 seed, that’s not for me to decide. We’ve just got to get ready to play better than we did in the first half for sure and work at that. But that’s not for me at all to worry about. There are so many good teams that you have to play. The parity in college basketball is there so whatever will be will be with that, as they say.
Q. One, I’m taking it you were a little bit unhappy going off the court at the end of the first half, to put it mildly. Two, is it possible that Justin will get the bandage off his finger next week? Because it seemed to impede his ball handling a lot?
COACH BENNETT: I’m not sure about that. I guess I’m not sure. It would be nice. Yeah, it is a little bit, but he has to protect it at least. What was the timeframe they gave? I don’t know if it was five or six weeks that it had to be protected. But we’ll certainly look at that. That is to be determined. The first part, yeah, you’re right, I wasn’t very happy. Did you ask something about that or were you just making an observation?
Q. Yeah, it’s very unusual for you not to do the TV timeout thing at halftime?
COACH BENNETT: I didn’t do the TV thing. At least you should have one privilege if you’re losing. Usually the winning coach, whoever is leading does that interview. So if you’re losing you shouldn’t have to do the interview, at least that’s what I understand. If we were winning, I’d do it, if we were losing, I thought that’s how it was. That’s one benefit of losing at halftime maybe. I don’t know.
But what I was so disappointed because that wasn’t who we were to start. And again, Carolina came after us. They were charged and just the easy looks they got, we were on our heels, their pressure really bothered us, and we just looked‑‑ I don’t know what the word is. Our guys have been in that spot, so I don’t know if we were tight or scared or nonchalant. I don’t know. But we’ll grow from it, and hopefully be ready when that ball is tipped next game.
Q. Malcolm said you got into him a little bit at halftime. Could you share what you said to motivate him?
COACH BENNETT: I just challenged him. That’s kind of locker room stuff. Let our guys know what I thought was acceptable and what wasn’t acceptable. That was it.
Q. Down three twice in the last minute. Went for three‑pointers on both possessions. It was one of those borderline clock was close deals.
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, they got the lay‑up on the one. But that was two possessions before.
Q. Brogdon missed and Anderson missed.
COACH BENNETT: Right. You’re right about that. The one I thought Malcolm had made. He had hit a couple threes, and I thought he had rhythm. What we said is if you can get a clean look, take it because we tried to run that little action that we’ve run before. He got a pretty good look, and he had made a few, so I was okay with that. But both of them, the other one both had, if we didn’t get it, attacks. So it kind of had a three look, clean look, and then it had an attack look behind it for a two, so it kind of had both on that one.
The one with Justin, it was actually designed for Malcolm, but they kind of channelled it the other way, and London just attacked it.
Q. Going into tonight, Justin Jackson was a 26% three‑point shooter. Makes four out of five. Is that just shocking?
COACH BENNETT: No, he’s a good player. Someone asked the scouting report on him. He’s good. We were really Delayed or behind the play. Well, first of all, he moves really well without the ball.
He’s a McDonald’s All‑American. He’s a talented kid, and you could see that. He’s been playing well and did a good job yesterday. He got some easy wraps where we had some miscommunication breakdowns and got him going. And some of his shots we had a little too much cushion on him. He can put on the floor, but a little late on our closeouts, little soft on our ball pressure. A player of that ability, those guys get one or two going, and they feel it, and I thought he obviously showed his talent, and I know he’s a great young man too. I know that. So he took it to us.
Q. You went Evan back to the four spot tonight, which hadn’t happened in a while. That seemed to be a little bit of what sparked your run late. Can you just talk about that decision?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, we were kind of struggling. Evan’s smart. We thought okay, he can maybe get us back. He can stretch it a little more. He’s more mobile, can get some catches, and we try to trap the post if they exploit him down low. But we thought maybe in the stretch hit a three or even a little ball handling out there would open it up for some drives from Malcolm, which kind of did start happening. And I thought he did a good job for the most part in that spot. Again, we thought we needed to do something, and it did give us a spark.
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