Feb. 6, 2017
Virginia vs. Louisville
February 6, 2017
Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett
On London Perrantes’ free throw performance tonight:
“He’s got a good feel, as I’ve said many times, so I trust him. I felt we needed to try to attack and touch the paint and be assertive and make the right plays from there. He had a nice feel and he did draw some fouls, which was good. We’ve had those dry spells where we haven’t been able to get to the line so that was big tonight. To be able to cash in and make 18 of 20 is obviously important.”
On Louisville’s offense and Virginia’s defense in the second half:
“I hope you guys liked it because I liked it a lot. I think that’s what we have to be. We flew around and we jammed the lane. It was a challenge in the first half, they did spread it out and attacked off the dribble. Yes, they were shorthanded, I understand all of that. They’re talented and I don’t know if they got worn down or not. I just know the crowd was into it, Isaiah [Wilkins] was terrific with his activity. Jack [Salt] was too, and our guys really tried to spread out and help each other. It wasn’t just one guy on the ball. We’ve had some trouble recently against Villanova, Syracuse and even Virginia Tech. We’ve been a little bit stretched and then guys would beat us off the dribble. I felt like we were a little more collective defensively and then, you had the energy of Mamadi [Diakite] and some rim protection. I thought those three interior guys were terrific in the second half. They’re playing good ball for us.”
On Mamadi Diakite’s defense:
“He can slide. He’s got the quickness. He just doesn’t understand space and protecting and getting away when a guy puts it on the floor. I felt like we needed rim protection because people are trying to attack us off the dribble. To have Jack back there and then Mamadi and Isaiah, that can clean up some mistakes. I thought there were some big plays where maybe they did get into our paint, but we were bothering them defensively. That was good. On the ball, I think Mamadi, with his quickness, just needs to understand more protection. Protecting his feet, spacing, and not hugging up on a guy because they’ll call that pretty quick.”
On if Isaiah Wilkins is becoming London Perrantes’ defensive counterpart:
“He’s always been our heart and soul, our glue guy, since pretty much day one. That’s how it’s been. He knew we had to respond to the challenge of stopping the ball collectively. It’s not about one guy. Our defense has been good for us and we’ve gotten gashed a few times in some games and we really said, ‘let’s rally’. He was the leader of that rally of bringing us together, just demanding a better team defensive approach.”
On Virginia’s successful play against Louisville:
“They were undermanned today. They’ve been playing really good basketball without Quentin Snider and then the backup point guard and then they lose these guys, but they’re hard-fought games. We’ve played some of our best basketball against them, for whatever reason. I don’t know if there’s any specific thing. We just played good basketball and we knew after the Syracuse game, we had to come home and play because every game is significant at this stage in ACC play. I think we felt the importance of it, as you do every game. We needed that and we’ve been fortunate, [Coach Pitino] is obviously a Hall of Famer. He has terrific players and I think our guys really know they have to be right to compete with Louisville.”
On whether or not he reminds everyone that losses are inevitable:
“We talk about that all the time. I can live with a loss. It’s not who we play, it’s how we play and then what happens from it and if we can grow from it. Because everybody’s capable of knocking each other off in this league, I said, ‘Every game, you’re playing for your basketball season.’ I tell them that not to make them feel tense. I say it because it’s a privilege. A lot of teams are in spots where maybe every game doesn’t matter as much. Now we’re getting to the second half and every game has major significance for a lot of reasons. Embrace that, appreciate it, and play that way and then we’ll pick up no matter what happens. Win or lose, we’ll adjust and go on. I think our guys have a healthy perspective that way and I’ve tried to be that way with them. I think if you get so consumed with a big win or a big loss, that’s not the right way, at least with our team, and I try to instill that. I think we responded well after a great first half and a poor second half against Syracuse. We had a chance to right the ship. Maybe playing that quick was good for us, but you can’t do that in this league. It’s on you, whoever you play next.”
Virginia Senior Guard London Perrantes
On Jack Salt’s tip-back going into halftime:
“It gave us a lot of energy. We were down by two going into the half and that was what we need from him. We need energy, we need those offensive rebounds, we need his blocks. Everything we get from him is huge, but obviously, there was a lot of energy from that moment.”
On Louisville’s offensive attacks:
“In the first half, they made some tough shots. There were some big defensive plays and some good offensive plays. Good offense beats good defense. We knew that they weren’t going to hit tough shots all game so we just wanted to make sure that we contested every shot, didn’t let them get to the paint very easily. They got to the paint sometimes but in the second half we just played with a lot more energy and flew around.”
On aggressive offensive night:
“It’s just the way it happened. I hit my second shot, a three, and obviously, everyone knows that I can shoot the ball so after that I’m just taking what the defense gives me. There were some opportunities to get to the paint and I got to the free throw line because of that.”
Virginia Redshirt Sophomore Jack Salt
On team dynamics:
“We just always have to be ready. You don’t know when you’re going to be called on, just staying ready in practice and preparing and knowing that you will be called on to step up in the game.”
On effort to increase number of passes into the paint in second half:
“We’re just trying to finish everything we get. Guys are driving during plays so we’re just trying to be ready. Coaches tell us that when guys draw players, be ready, so that is what we try to do.”
Virginia Junior Forward Isaiah Wilkins
On first career double-double:
“I had no idea I had it, I just found out in the locker room. I was hype and started jumping around when I found out. I didn’t think I had the rebounds for it.”
On the importance of the last 20 minutes in the game:
“I feel like we were sluggish in the first half. We didn’t have much life. We talked about it in the locker room and said if we don’t come out and play with energy then we would lose the game. We got it together and rallied from there.”
On being the guy the team looks to for spark:
“I feel like I’ve been that guy since I got here. I’ve always had energy in some way, shape, or form. I don’t feel like I was doing a good enough job of that in the first half. It could be me screaming, hyping guys up, and things like that. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and that’s who I am.”
Virginia Freshman Forward Mamadi Diakite
On being tested this season with playing and not playing:
“I’ve learned a lot from playing and not playing in games. I have the mindset when I’m not playing to get more focused and even better. I’m ready to go the second they call me. I mean, everyone wants to play, so before you step up on that court you have to be ready to play.”
On who to lean on for support:
“Everyone is pretty mature. Devon [Hall], London [Perrantes], and Isaiah [Wilkins] have been in this program for a long time, so I ask them a lot of questions when I don’t understand.”
Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino
On first half versus second half performance:
“We played great in the first half. We did a lot of things we wanted to do. In the second half, we couldn’t make shots and we played poorly at the defensive end. But they tried their best, and when we’re at full strength we’re a pretty good basketball team, so I can fault them at all”
On being down in second half:
“I think fatigue was a factor, but we took really good shots in the first half. Because we are so inexperienced, we try hard when we’re down 12 or 14. We try to rush it to get back in the game instead of taking our time. And that is an inexperienced team.”
Butts' Bond With Benkert GrowingFootball10/18/17A redshirt junior from the Philadelphia area, UVA tight end Evan Butts has become one of quarterback Kurt Benkert's most reliable targets.Salt Evolving Into Pivotal PresenceMen's Basketball10/17/17A redshirt junior from New Zealand, 6-11 center Jack Salt has grown into a team leader for UVA, which has made four straight NCAA tournament appearances.Cavalier Men's Basketball NotebookMen's Basketball10/16/17The season starts Nov. 10 for the Cavaliers, whose third annual Pepsi Blue-White scrimmage is Sunday afternoon at JPJ.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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