Press Conference: Virginia coach Tony Bennett at ACC Tournament

virginia coach tony bennettVirginia coach Tony Bennett and Cavs players Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill talk with reporters after the Cavs’ 61-57 loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament final on Saturday.


THE MODERATOR: We’ll take an opening comment from Coach Bennett.

COACH BENNETT: First, congratulations to North Carolina. They really battled. Both teams played very hard obviously, but they made it hard for us.

It was a heck of an atmosphere. Our guys didn’t die. They kept hanging in there, gave ourselves chances. Obviously we didn’t shoot it as well.

I think a couple of our live-ball turnovers, in a game like that when some of our shots weren’t falling, some of those turnovers that led to buckets for them were costly.

Two teams playing their hearts out. Carolina deserved it.


Q. Malcolm, what made it a bad shooting night?
MALCOLM BROGDON: Your confidence doesn’t really waiver. You just have to keep shooting, even on tough shooting nights. You have to believe the next shot is going in. That’s all that’s really going through your mind.

Q. As disappointing as this loss is, you have bigger things coming up starting tomorrow. How do you go forward tomorrow and shake this off?
COACH BENNETT: I think we’ll find out who we play. You catch us right five, ten minutes after the game when these guys laid it on the line and you’re disappointed.

We’ll learn from that and get ourselves ready, find out who we play and prepare the right way. Hopefully, like I said, grow from this.

Q. Anthony, did you have a sense there was an offensive funk that you guys were in or did it seem like there were good shots?
ANTHONY GILL: Seems like we were getting good shots. We just didn’t convert on them. A lot of guys had wide-open shots that just weren’t falling for us tonight.

We did get a lot of second-chance baskets, a lot of second chances to run our offense, but we just didn’t convert like we needed to.

Q. Coach, you brought up the turnovers. You forced eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game, but only got five points off that. Was that a key factor?
COACH BENNETT: I think when you’re struggling offensively or the shots aren’t going down, any X-factor points, points off turnovers, at the free-throw line, we only went to the line three times, offensive putbacks, things like that, a lot of times, they defended hard.

We got stuck at the end of the shot clock and had to force some plays. But you have to in that spot.

We were a little stagnant at times. That’s partly on us and partly to how hard they played and got after us.

Q. Tony, the 15-2 run after you were up in the second half, how much of that was you, how much of that was what they were doing defensively?

I think the couple of turnovers were in there they scored. We got some of those looks, nice, open looks that we knocked down. Part of it was us. Absolutely, their defense was ratchet it up. When we played them at our place the first time, they were better defensively in that game. It was in our gym. But I noticed they were good. We saw the way they played in the previous two games.

Q. We’ve talked so much about the offense. Were you pleased with what you were able to do defensively?
COACH BENNETT: For the most part I think so. Again, I want to watch the film and see. A couple times we had some breakdowns. You could tell it’s a good team because they exploit you, make you pay when you aren’t there on a rotation, on a trap. They were good that way. Against some of those turnovers turning into points…

For the most part we fought and made it hard. That’s a team that certainly can score. We had the game where I think we needed it to be to have a chance to be successful. I thought the defense was solid, but I’ll hold my final judgment till I watch it.

Q. Malcolm, did they do anything differently on you than they had in the previous outing?
MALCOLM BROGDON: I don’t think so. I just missed a lot of open shots.

But my hat does go off to them. I thought they played a really good defensive game all around, flooding the lane when I drove. But I think on my part I missed a lot of shots.

Q. Anthony, in the last two years three of the best games I’ve seen you play have come against this team. You’re a North Carolina native. Is that a factor? Is there something about the way they play that brings out the best in your game?
ANTHONY GILL: I think it’s just the way that they play. They got two big guys that crash the glass a lot. You have to keep them off the glass, try to do your best there.

Then there’s opportunities to crash the glass on your end, too, which creates a lot of opportunity for me to get the ball in the bucket.

Q. Tony, you haven’t mentioned it, but how much of a factor was fatigue, your late game, really pressed by Miami to the end?
COACH BENNETT: I told the guys before, some guys are banged up. You’re tired. But so what? You’re in this game. We did have three physical games or two physical games. It was a physical game tonight. It was a wrestling match trying to get open. It was a physical, tough game.

Absolutely fatigue is part of it for both teams. We looked a little tired, but that’s not an excuse. It was just one of those games. It was who was going to impose whose will on the other one. We weren’t able to come through.

I thought there were times we were starting to. A couple of those runs they made it very difficult.



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