UVA basketball coach Tony Bennett on win at #23 NC State

On his postgame message to the team:

“Learn, certainly. I thought we played well enough to win, but a couple of those key stats (stick out) – the 16 offensive rebounds and the 16 turnovers. NC State plays good defense. They’re good with their hands, they’re athletic, they’re aggressive, and they did rattle us and take us out of our rhythm. Some of our offensive fouls and decision-making or defensive fouls at inopportune times almost cost us the game. Of course, I thought Walker was just a man on the glass. I thought he was hard for to handle. We didn’t do a great job in those areas. Usually when you give up that many offensive rebounds and that many turnovers, you’re not going to be successful. We made enough good plays and hung in there and got some good lifts from guys. I thought we had some chances to separate a little bit, but they made some big plays. We’re thankful for the win, but we need to grow from this and learn from it. We brought losing into the equation when I didn’t know we had to in certain situations with fouls and turnovers and unsound decisions.”

On losing the turnover battle:

“That’s not been our formula for success. We always talk about how you have to eliminate losing first, taking care of the ball, defensive rebounding and transition baskets, and we did not do a good job in those areas. I think we ran some good offense or just took advantage of some of their breakdowns. We shot 14 of 19 from the free throw line. We made enough big plays to pull it out, so I think it was just some of the baskets. Huff made some really good offensive plays for us. The usual guys did. It was just enough. It was just one of those games. You could feel it with the crowd. You could feel it with the intensity. I thought we had it, and then we fouled the three-point shooter. A lot of people say ‘Should you foul to put them on the line?’ We decided to foul the three-point shooter. That was our theory on that, which wasn’t sound. We’ll live and learn. We’re fortunate to get out here. NC State’s a good team when they’re at full strength, which they’re now getting back to. You have to earn it in here.”

On Kyle Guy’s overtime three-pointer:

“That was huge. That was huge for him. You always want him, when he has a good look, to take the shot. That might’ve been out of an offensive rebound if I’m not mistaken. We had 11 offensive rebounds, so there are a few key plays. Key kept a couple of balls alive. I think it might have been on that one if I’m not mistaken, but that was a big shot. I thought we answered when they went up three and then Huff got an and-one to start overtime. There was enough answering and that’s what you needed to do. We gave them a few too many chances that didn’t need to happen.”

On slowing down as a possible game plan:

“I think they’ll pressure you with three-quarter-court pressure whether it’s a one-two-two or a two-two-one press or man-to-man press. They make some catches hard. We shot 11 of 18 in the first half. We were getting some good looks. We were getting right at the rim, and you have to take the easy shots for sure. We shot a few and got it going a little bit in the second half. Take what the defense gives you, and that’s what they were giving us. They were doing a good job of getting to our three-point shooters, and I thought we did a good job at getting some easy ones, minus the turnovers and some of the decisions.”

On Wyatt Walker:

“I want to watch the film, but he’s very physical. Sometimes we didn’t just worry about a body being on him and shielding him off and let other guys rebound. It was a hit, and we’re jumping up. He was first to get position, and he’s strong. I saw him move Jack (Salt) a couple times, which guys don’t do. We were just a little sluggish to the block out on the ball. There were a lot of bobbles in there, and he carved out space. I had flashbacks to getting owned on the glass by Richard Howell. I mean we couldn’t handle him. I remember that feeling. They’re different players, but he’s physical and does a good job on the glass. He knows his role, and he’s very effective. I guess we’ll learn, hitting early, keeping him off, and everybody else better be in there.

On his timeout huddle:

“They’re good in that way, but it doesn’t matter if you’re calm in the huddle and you go out there, commit fouls, and do things we’re not supposed to. Ty Jerome was struggling. I don’t know if he had a tight back, but he was giving everything he had. There was composure, and those guys knew what they wanted to do. You try to challenge them to be ready to rebound, take care of the ball, and that kind of experience. They’ve been in those spots at times, this year at Duke, here were two of the time, and a couple other closer games. It was good to be in that, but we have to be sounder down the stretch with those decisions.

On De’Andre Hunter:

“We ran an action, and the shot Kyle Guy took at the end was the one we thought he was going to attack, but he got in foul trouble. His length is so good defensively to bother, whether it was Markell Johnson or other ones tonight. Our length helped us bother some of those outside shots, but De’Andre Hunter and Braxton Beverly shot down some big free throws. He was aggressive, and I know he will be frustrated with some of his turnovers. He was assertive and his game continued to improve, and there is so much more in there. Just thankful he had the pose and composure at the free throw line.”


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