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UVA coach Tony Bennett on loss at Duke

tony bennett uva basketballOpening Statement

“They’re a heck of a team and they made some terrific plays defensively and offensively. I told the guys in the locker room it wasn’t our effort, it was just a couple possessions at the end of the game where we were a bit unsound whether it was not getting a block, reaching on the ball, or turnovers. In order to beat a team like Duke in this setting, you have to be at an A or an A- in those components or those areas. It was just a little unsound. Now, some of those plays those guys made were good, we’ve got to look at some things, they made some good plays. We had our chances but 63% is what they shot in the 2nd half. We’re a solid defensive team, but tonight we were not solid enough. That deserves large credit due to their play and we have to be better than that.”

On defending Zion Williamson:

“We put Jack [Salt] on him and he did a pretty good job, but he [Zion] just gets a head of steam and…there were times down the stretch that we just tried different things and whether it was underneath that out-of-bounds play where he [Zion] just worked his way in to get that catch shot. Those are really valuable possessions and we just did not win enough possessions. And it’s not just him [Zion], I mean he’s one of the top players, but the entire team is obviously well coached. But we need to be sounder to have a chance. We had some chances, we left some points on the board.”

On Duke’s offensive rebounding:

“I think they were making all their shots in the 2nd half so we didn’t have to worry about defensive rebounding. I know that they’re strong, but that’s what I meant. It wasn’t about effort, we just weren’t sound. Sometimes, it was just not boxing out or they make an amazing or athletic play, but that’s what we can’t let be acceptable. That hurt us and those were points that if we did our job wouldn’t happen and in these games that come down to every possession it proved costly.”

On Virginia’s shot selection:

“We got a few good looks. We really did. A couple maybe not so great. They switched everyone defensively. They can switch 1-5 and they were doing that consistently on off ball, on ball and I think we did a good job spreading out and attacking and we got some looks. So I mean offensively wasn’t the issue, we were shooting the ball so well the last few games from three and shooting can kind of come and go where your soundness defensively, defensive rebounding, has to be at a high level and it wasn’t enough to be where we needed to.”

On being removed from the spotlight following this loss:

“I mean that’s for you guys. For us, it’s when that ball first gets tipped and for 40, 45 minutes, doing whatever it takes to play quality basketball. And I think I mentioned this before but you mentioned that unanimous coaches poll before and for us it’s just trying to go 1-0 every time. That’s got to be the mindset. I remember last year we came. I mean they’re so talented and I’ve got guys who are terrifically talented too so the fact that we won [last year], I get that you can’t get confused with all that stuff and it’s just being clear and I thought some of those things we didn’t do at a high level. We just didn’t execute the way we wanted.”

On growing from this loss:

“It’s always that way, fine-tuning, it’s just a—I don’t know if it was Coach [Bobby] Knight that said it—‘Basketball was a game of mistakes.’ It comes down to eliminating those errors. So we’ll look at those areas and for sure growth mindset. That has to be at ‘Play Tuesday’ and get back and ready to play.”

On lessons taken from playing in an environment like Cameron:

“Yeah, I think it’s just soundness and toughness. We just got to figure out what team are we and I think offensively we were okay for the most part, maybe a little out of character and it’s a frenzied environment down the stretch their guys made plays and maybe we were frustrated that they got some calls and we just got to play the possession in front of us and forget the last one.”

On success against Duke’s defense:

“We tried to spread the court. You know it was Coach Boeheim and Syracuse that tried to open the court and attack since they switch 1-5 and our guys made some good plays and that’s what was available. There wasn’t a whole lot, but we tried a lot of different things and we did get to the paint and we made some plays.”

augusta free press
augusta free press