Press Conference: UVA coach Tony Bennett after win at UNC

bennettUVA basketball coach Tony Bennett talks with reporters after the third-ranked ‘Hoos defeated #13 North Carolina, 75-64, on Monday night.


On back-to-back games in 48 hours: “They fought.   I think we got back to the mentality that we needed to.  I said in the postgame interview after that our way is a blue-collar way.  It’s a fighting way.  Our guys, I think, responded well and really rallied.  We were better in transition.  We were really on the edge and got exploited against Duke, and we said first things first, we’ve got to do that.  They only had two transition points, so it started with that.  And then we were pretty good on the offensive glass.  I thought early on, we were a little shaky, but when it got to the guts of the game in the middle of the first and the second half, we really clamped down defensively and then got good looks and played for each other at a high level today, and I thought that was the difference maybe than in the setting of 48 hours ago or however long ago it was.”

On London Perrantes: “We talked about that.  You’re too good of a player.  You’re never going to force, and I don’t worry about him forcing, but you need to look for the shots, step and take them.  When you look at that stat sheet and the balance of those 17, 16, 15, 13, our perimeter guys and Anthony [Gill], that’s really significant.  But London, to answer your question, him taking 10 shots and just aggressive in the lane with his six assists, that just adds another dimension to us.  And we needed all of it for sure, and I liked his approach, it was good.”

On the missed layups in the first half: “It was because a couple of times, we trapped the post and our rotations were slow, our guys were losing vision and trying to chase a screen, and then the ball went in the post.   We’re supposed to be in position, and our trap was soft a couple of times, and I just said, ‘Listen, we’re trapping it like we tried to trap Jahlil [Okafor] when we played Duke, you’ve got to pin your ears back and go, and you’ve got to be there quick.’  And then we took it off some and we used it on and off, but overall, it helped us, and I thought we got a lot more alert and aggressive with it.  And we said at halftime, if you can really play the lane and make them play over the top all game long and rebound, you’re going to get some stuff on the offensive end.  We felt like we had good rhythm because of how we were playing for each other, and they really buckled down and made it hard for Carolina to get quality looks.  That’s what we try to do, contest the shots on that end and get the good rhythm shots on our end.”

On containing Brice Johnson: “We probably trapped the post a little more, and Darion [Atkins] did a good job, and we just tried to bother him.  Guys at this level are so talented, and the best you can do is make them earn it and stop giving them the easy ones, whether it’s offensive rebounds.  It was just make them earn, all those guys, nothing easy.  And I thought our guys with the resolve, you could just see it, that they realized, “All right, we can do this.’  We had a pretty challenging practice on Sunday.  Having coached in the Pac-10, you have a lot of ThursdaySaturday games, and we’ve got to get back to some good old-fashioned blue-collar basketball, and I thought that’s what we did.  And the guys, when they do that and they’re right, they can play.”

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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