Press Conference: UVA basketball coach Tony Bennett

tony-bennett-newlinks2UVA basketball coach Tony Bennett talks with reporters after the fifth-ranked ‘Hoos (10-0) defeated Cleveland State, 70-54, on Thursday.


Opening statement:

Cleveland State is a scrappy team. I thought we were good offensively. Once we got going a little bit, we shared the ball. There was a good balance, and I liked what we did defensively. I knew Cleveland State was a team we had a lot of respect for. I respect their coach and how they play. Overall, I thought we were pretty solid. We had to work. It wasn’t easy, but I thought we executed well, and we needed to against their defense.”


On Malcolm Brogdon guarding Trey Lewis:

“That was important. We have some size and length in our guards corps. When you are going against a guy who can score at all three levels, you hope you are in position. It is the same story for us – make them hit contested shots, and we did for most of the game. Lewis hit some tough ones and got going in the second half, but Malcolm has size and length, and he really takes that challenge to guard those good offensive players. I am hoping our other guys will be able to do that, as well.”


On getting the ball inside in the second half:

“We tried to make some adjustments at halftime to get inside to touch the paint and really make them work. We were hoping to get some easier looks and the guys started knocking down shots. Justin Anderson got some good looks in the paint.”


On the long break:
“I have been here six years, and this is one of the longest breaks we have had. It had been 12 days since we last played. We got better at using the break time in how we practice and addressing what we do. It was a long time, but I told the guys not to buy into the excuse that we would be rusty. We practiced hard and got rest. I know there was stress on them with their exams and studying, but if you can play, you can play. I didn’t want them to have that crutch of how long it had been. I knew playing Cleveland State, we would have to come prepared.”


On shooters:

“We are balanced. We can score inside. When you lose a shooter like Joe [Harris], you wonder who is going to knock down shots, but guys are still getting the right kind of shots. Our guys know what they need to do. Offense can come and go, so we hang our hat on defense and be as sound as we can offensively. If you can get a quality shot, that is the key, but don’t let anyone off the hook defensively.”


On Cleveland State:

“The teams that they had played are good. They defended Louisville really well. The addition of Charlie Lee gives them a different dynamic. He is quick and can get in the lane. I know they are glad to get him back. We certainly respected them. I know what kind of coach Gary Waters is, and how good they are defensively. They don’t score a ton, like we don’t score a ton, but you knew you were going to have to work. They had our attention.”


On Harvard:
“They are a very good ball club. They know how to play. I will watch more film as we get going. They have lost one and won the rest. Again, they are another well-coached team that has really established itself. That program is really cooking, and we will have to be ready to go.”


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