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No. 23 Virginia vs. Pittsburgh Postgame Quotes

March 4, 2017

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Post-game Quotes

Virginia vs. Pittsburgh

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On how special Senior Day is and Senior Guard London Perrantes:

“Well we did not have Thomas Rogers or Caid [Kirven] hit a late last second three, that was the only thing. Neither of our guys who are walk-ons are seniors, but very important. I talked to the guys before the game, ‘A way to serve London is to lay it on the line,’ and I so wanted it to go well for him. And when he came out of the game, I embraced him and I said, ‘We’ve had a lot of good times out on this court, haven’t we?’ and he said, ‘Yes we have.’ I remember my Senior Day, my father and I walked off the court, he was my coach of course, and he put his arm around me and we walked off the court, and that was the last thing we did for my last game at Green Bay. I waited for London and I said to him, ‘I want to walk off this court with you with my arm around you,’ I said because we have experienced special things. I am very grateful for his decision to come to Virginia. We have had so many special players, but he has been a catalyst for what has happened, and that brought me great joy just to be able to do that. It was a memory of mine from my playing days and to do that with London probably meant more to me than to him. I appreciated what happened and how the fans embraced him over his career.”

On the team’s recent defensive prowess:

“We were better. We were a little loose at times in transition [defense], and I do not know why those guys did not play and that is not for me to know. I think that obviously really affected them because they are a dynamic duo in terms of their ability to score and stretch you, score inside and score outside. Probably the lead helped us, and then in the second half we did still establish our defense, and said, ‘Let’s make them earn.’ I think we tried to forge our identity in the Carolina game, and we talked about a way for us was taking care of the ball, they switch everything so it was a little confusing, but take care of the ball and just get into the ball and battle defensively. We found a formula that we have been working toward, and the Carolina game brought it to fruition, and for the most part we carried it out here.”

On London Perrantes’ career at Virginia:

“It has been different this year. He has always been the setup guy, makes opportunistic big plays. This year he has been the featured guy in terms of the marked by the other team’s defense. It has been a process, it has. At times, I think that in a way has stretched him and made him better because at times it has been overwhelming and it has been all the guys on him. I think he has a nice balance right now and we will need that. Again, to have a point guard like that who has a mind and a feel for the game and is not afraid of the moment is significant. This year our margin for error is a little tighter, so with less experienced players he has been called upon to do more. I said, ‘It’s stretching you and it’s good for your future.’ I will never forget, we got beat by Tennessee by a ton, we played Florida State his first year, and he and I were at the hotel the night before, we were in the lobby and went into the restaurant and I said in so many words, ‘It’s time for you. Here are the keys to the car, or however you want to say it, but you have got to run this team,’ and from that moment on from a success standpoint has been really good, and it has been a collaboration of everybody. He just has a way of making everyone around him better, and he has shown that.”

Pittsburgh Head Coach Kevin Stallings

Opening statement:

“Defensively, the number one thing we talked about was taking away threes and they feed off them. We were not able to do that, obviously. That was the biggest breakdown for us. Offensively, I thought that for the first 26 or 27 minutes of the game that we got decent looks and didn’t make many. I thought we got quality looks on a lot of possessions, not every one obviously. They kind of had that barrage of threes at the end that killed our spirit a little bit. Other than their threes, I thought we did okay. We failed to guard their penetration, and that gave them some of their threes as well. Offensively, we could never generate enough to keep it going, and at our place we hit shots and could sustain the times where we didn’t. Today, we were not able to do that.”

On the decision to bench Michael Young and Jamel Artis:

“They were late, and we have penalties set in place for that. If you are late once, this happens, and if you’re late twice, this happens. Today, they were late 10 minutes, so they sat out ten minutes. We are trying to establish a culture here of doing the right thing, and having accountability and responsibility. We try to do the right thing for your teammates, and sometimes even when it’s not the opportune time, you have to uphold and enforce that.”

On the effectiveness of benching Young and Artis:

“It was not the first time that this has happened. I have no way of knowing, and honestly do not care, but my job is to uphold the integrity of the team and do things right by them. We struggled to score at the beginning of the game, and it is not like we closed it down once they came into the game. We didn’t. We didn’t all of a sudden threaten them because we had other players in the game.”

On the play of London Perrantes:
“He is just a great competitor. I think he is a competitive, gutsy kid who wants to take and make big shots. He plays for his team, and I think the thing that is easiest to admire about Tony’s team is that there is complete buy in to what they do and each other. I think that when you get that, I think your whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. That’s very admirable in what Tony does here. Those guys all buy in to each other, buy in to how they are supposed to play, buy in to what they are supposed to do, and they have a very effective team because of it.”

Virginia Senior Guard London Perrantes

On what the senior night has been to him:

“Different than how I thought it was going to be. I thought I was going to be a little bit more emotional. Just knowing that it is not over is huge. Just knowing that I have some more games to play with the team and with this coaching staff. Obviously, it is a tough day for me not getting to play here again, but I am glad we all came out here and played well and got the win. Now I just get to hang out with some family that is all in town.”

On the symbolism of the last two buckets he scored being assisted by freshmen:

“As Ty [Jerome] passed me the ball and I shot it, I was like this is weird, I think it is my time to go now, but it is weird how stuff happens. Ty played extremely well tonight, and Kyle did too – everybody played well and I think Virginia will be in good hands next year.”

On how the defense has come together in the last couple weeks:

“I think the slump helped us. We were not making shots, so we knew that we had to be good on the defensive end to even be a part of this game, or for it even to be close. Now we are hitting shots and still playing good defense. We knew that the shots were going to come, but now our defense has to be here for the rest of the season.”

On walking off the court with Tony Bennett:

“It was cool. Walking off the floor with Coach Bennett was huge. He gave me this opportunity. Without him, I would not be here. I would not have had the success that I have had, and the program would not have had the success that it has had without him. We have gone through ups and downs. We have fought and gone head-to-head and battled each other, but we have had some good times too.”

On when Tony gave him the “keys to the offense” in his freshman season after the loss to Tennessee:

“I just have to say thank you to Darius Thompson for that. He was a part of that Tennessee team, so without him I would not be where I am today. I remember it vividly – we sat down in the hotel restaurant to have a meeting before the Florida State game, and he just gave me the program and had the utmost faith in me. As a player, hearing that from the head coach is huge, and I think it was a good decision on his part. I had to obviously work for it, but I think I was a good meshing point for the other people around us, all the players – Joe [Harris], Justin [Anderson], Malcolm [Brogdon], Akil [Mitchell], and that whole freshman team. Obviously, it was a turning point for my career, and as I said, I would love to thank DT for that.”

On the role that he has had to play this year:

“I do not like to be the main part of things. I do not like to be in the middle, but obviously, I had to for my senior day and this team needed me to be more assertive on the offensive end and be that guy this season, but it is not just me. We have some special pieces around me, and we are going to need everybody going forward.”

On if he thinks about the state he is leaving the program in:

“It definitely goes through my mind, and especially when we were having that losing streak, just looking back and just cherishing every moment and everything that we have been through as a program for the past three years. Looking back at it, I do not think I will know how much I have meant to the program, until I leave and actually look back. As of right now, I just feel like somebody who is just playing for a program and being a regular dude, but I think we will be in good hands. I think it is only going up from here. I feel like every year we climb to new heights, and I think we are in some good hands for next year too.”

On what he said to Ty at midcourt when he was subbed out for the final time:

“I said, ‘it is not yours yet – it is not your program yet. I still have some games to play.’ He is coming into his own, and it is good to see. For him to grow over this year – the only year that I have with him – is huge. His confidence is through the roof right now, and we need it now, but this program is definitely going to need it next year and in the years to come. I really just told him that there are a couple more games and then I am going to hand him the keys as well, just as Coach Bennett did. I think he is ready. It was a good little moment for us, for sure.”

Virginia Junior Guard Darius Thompson

On the confidence he gets going forward from playing so much during today’s game:

“The more minutes definitely helped. Finally seeing a shot going in too – it seems like it has been forever, but just going out there and playing and doing some good things definitely helped my confidence.”

Virginia Freshman Guard Ty Jerome

On the team’s recent emphasis:

“I think we got back to the basics in practice. Coach Bennett said to really be humble, to know who you are as a group, and I think we got back to that, knowing what we had to do to win.”

On if he watches the other ACC basketball games to gauge potential tournament seeding:

“I am going watch them because I like watching basketball. I obviously want the highest seed, but we are playing good basketball right now, so I think we are not going to be too concerned. We just want to make sure we handle our business whether we are the four seed, or whatever seed we are.”

On witnessing his first collegiate Senior Day:

“I am just happy for [London Perrantes]. I only got to spend this year with him, but he has been phenomenal on and off the court, especially with me and the relationship that we have built in such a short amount of time. I am going to miss him, but we still have more basketball to play.”

Virginia Redshirt Sophomore Center Jack Salt

On the team’s battle with strep throat:

“It has just been going around, I do not know how. It is not like we are doing anything out of the ordinary. We are being good with sweat towels and not high-fiving; I am trying not to high-five anyone, just fist-bump, but it is still spreading. I have no idea how it is still going around.”

On Pitt’s starting lineup change and when the team was informed:

“Just before the game. Coach [Bennett] did not really make a big deal out of it. He said, ‘These are your new matchups. This does not change the game plan.’ It was last minute.”


 

 

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Jeff White

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jwhite@virginia.edu

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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