Virginia-Hampton Post Game Quotes

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VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

Dec. 16, 2006

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Virginia Head Coach Dave Leitao

On his ejection from the game...
I'd like to apologize to the university for getting kicked out of the game and my actions that led up to it. Although I want to challenge everybody, it is not by leaving my players without some level of leadership. That's not why I came here, that's not what I'm about, so to President [John] Casteen and Craig Littlepage, my boss, I apologize. It's not something I believe in, it's not something that should be done, it's not something I will do.

On playing against Hampton's style...
I thought they were going to force us to make enough plays, and fortunately we made enough plays to put 91 points on the board. It gave me a little bit of an uncomfortable feeling because I don't think that we are and we still have not practiced with the consistency and have not played with the consistency to have an identity. An identity for me has always been on the defensive end of the floor, and we are still very much a work in progress and have to get a lot better on that side of the court to be as successful as we believe this team potentially to be.

I thought it was going to be an open game - force the issue, force turnovers. We did a good enough job in the open court at making plays. I thought that every time the ball was attacked via the dribble, something good - a very high percentage shot or a foul - came of it. When it wasn't , when we settled for a jump shot, that's all we got was a jump shot. That's something we're trying to get them to balance. We have the potential to have a lot of people who can make perimeter shots, but when you take them, we have to toe that very fine line.

On going to the foul line...
Hampton sends teams to the foul line an average of 32 times per game, which is an astronomical number. Maryland went there 54 times. They wanted to rat the game, and in the first half, they were successful. There were a lot of whistles. There was a lot of stop action. I thought that once we settled in that the game became a little easier to manage because you knew where the people were coming from and where to attack.

Hampton Head Coach Kevin Nickelberry

Opening comments...
"My hats off to Dave, Coach Lanier. They responded in the second half, they went at us and they played Virginia basketball. They got on the transition, they got some threes on us, they got some second shots. I warned my guys, if we let this team get into transitions, we're going to have to make some tough plays, got to keep Sean Singletary off the free throw line, I believe that he's second or third in the nation. They played Virginia basketball in the second half, and we just didn't do what we needed to do to respond."

On adjusting to Virginia and sticking to their normal style of play...
"I always like to stay true to who we are. We have five freshman; they're young guys. I'm trying to build a program, and I'm looking to each game. We've got to learn to be tough, and we weren't tough tonight. My goal is to have them mirror me; I want to get after it, and I want my guys to get after it, and we just didn't get it done in the second half."

On freshman forward Matthew Pilgrim...
"This is his first game in college. He may be one of the best freshman talents, I'm not sure if that's going to come true, but he may be one of the best talents. He's a guy that's 6'9'', can shoot the three, and get to the basket. I've got to do my job and help him. My goal is to get Hampton back to the way it was a few years ago, where people don't want us to play them."

On his game strategy towards sophomore guard Sean Singletary...
"Our goal was to not let them run the offense. I knew most of their plays having been in the ACC at Clemson prior, and we thought that if we could keep him out of that flow, and make them score the way that we play, get some charges on Singletary, frustrate him a little bit, then we could stay in the game. I think we did a pretty good job in the first half, but got too tired in the second half. He took over. I probably played Pilgrim too many minutes. He just wasn't ready for all the minutes."

On head coach Dave Leitao's ejection...
"Yeah, well after we shot four of five free throws we made a slight run. My team is going to fight in every game. I'm not sure what happened. All I know is that I was yelling at my team, and the next thing I know, I look up and Dave's gone. He's got his jacket off, and he's out. Anytime that happens, when the other coach gets kicked out of the game, it's a lift. Only way we would have won that game maybe is if Rob got kicked out, then we would have won."

Virginia Players

#44 Jr. G Sean Singletary

On his performance tonight...
"We started out kind of slow and then Coach got us riled up a little bit, got us to go harder and play harder. And then we came out in the second half and beat them."

On whether a twelve-day layoff contributed to his team's slow start...
"I guess you could say that. We had some really intense practices this week and I think that contributed to it."

On how his conditioning has improved due to working with Strength Coach Shaun Brown...
"It's definitely helped. We lift a lot of weights and Coach Brown has helped with our conditioning. We can handle it when teams play scrappy, physical games because we are all stronger."

#34 Jr. F/C Ryan Pettinella

On his performance tonight...
"I thought we came out a little flat. Started out with a few turnovers. Obviously when Coach left the game, that really inspired us. We saw his energy level and it really made us step up our game and really execute better."

On getting his first career double-double...
"It's just huge for my personal game. It's been a goal of mine for awhile since I started playing basketball to rack up a double-double. It finally happened and it's just a great feeling. I can just gain confidence from this game as we move to Puerto Rico."

On working with Coach Seymour on his offensive rebounding...
"Coach Seymour has really been focusing with the big men on box-out drills, offensive rebounding, getting the ball and going right back up. On busting through a defense, not being hesitant, going up without question. And I think working with Coach Seymour on those things over the past month has really paid off."

Hampton Player

#14 So. G Demario Mattox

On the team's inability to create turnovers in the second half...
"Like Coach said, I think fatigue got a little to us in the second half. We didn't come out hard like we did in the first half and after they got in a rhythm, they started going at us and we just didn't compete."

On what he thought the team did well today despite the loss...
"We played hard in the first half. We played hard every play. I also think we bonded well as a team. We still have to put a few pieces together. A few guys need to come in and compete a little bit more. Personally, I just have to get back to what I usually do - playing hard and playing better on defense. I think I started focusing too much on shooting the ball on offense, and gave up on defense a little bit. I just have to get it all together, and we have to come together as a team, while working harder to get better."

On if he thought fatigue was the biggest factor in the difference between the first half and the second half play...
"Fatigue was a big factor, but also we needed to be more competitive. They got in to their rhythm in the second half and got the crowd in to it. They just kept going at our net - something we should have done to them when we first came out. After they got in to their rhythm, it was all over, and it seemed like our guys started giving up."