Dec. 28, 2006
Virginia Head Coach Dave Leitao
"I told the team, obviously, and joking with the coaches, that I challenged them at half time to be as good, especially defensively, in the second half as they were in the first. I almost wanted to keep them out on the floor, and not go into the locker room, to do some defensive drills so that we can keep the intensity up and challenge them mentally also. Obviously against a good team, and I believe American is a very good team, you have to keep the intensity up. The bottom line is we still have some work to do, but I think in the short time that I've been here that's about as good a twenty minutes of defense you can play, especially against a team that had as many veterans and is a good team. It doesn't take long to watch them on film and know they are a good team, well coached, and have some weapons. I thought we really took them out of their rhythm, but just so we don't get let off the hook. I still have to have my stomach churned. We still have a lot of work to do because we did let up the intensity and gave them fifty points, which is part of what got us into the trouble that we were in over the last week or so, so we still have a lot of work to do. We've been talking for two or three weeks now about getting Sean and J.R. to play like the players that they are, and get both of them to play with the speed, energy, and confidence, and today the fact they did it on both ends of the floor was quite pleasing. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come that as we get into tougher competition that we can depend on their consistency in the way they play. That was probably a lot of our problem that we were trying out different things while those guys were not playing up to their capabilities, and they did tonight."
On Sean Singletary tonight ...
"For Sean as well as everyone, it's a mental thing. We've been talking about it for a couple of weeks with him, and everyone else. I think he was off balance as a player, and when you do that you begin to question things you've never questioned before. I told two assistants this morning that he had as much rhythm during the shoot-around today as I've seen. I was hoping he could carry it over, and he did."
On returning home to play ...
"Of course everyone across the country likes to play at home, and so there's a higher level of comfort. Again, we hope that it doesn't happen just here. We have to continue to work to make the practices both home and away count. There is no difference when you practice every day in the same gym. It's a maturity issue. We've got a long way to go to be a trusted, mature team, particularly on the defensive end of the floor."
American Head Coach Jeff Jones Quotes
"It was pretty clear from the outset that we caught these guys at the wrong time. I can't imagine that basketball team losing two games the way they did down in Puerto Rico. They came out looking for the knockout punch right from the beginning. They did that exactly. They came out being very aggressive defensively, being very physical and we certainly did not respond to that very well."
"If you look at the stat sheet after watching the game, they shot the ball extremely well. In the first half, we didn't (shoot the ball well), but I don't think that was the story of the game. The story of the game was their aggressiveness in virtually every area especially in the first half.
On Sean Singletary running the team ...
"Clearly, Sean Singletary is the real deal. It was the first time I had seen him in person. He's just a great basketball player. We talked about trying to find ways to double team him. With the way he makes plays, we'd still be out there trying to chase him. He's aggressive offensively. That's what great players do and players that provide leadership. He wasn't just going out there looking for shots. He was attacking and that set the tone for the entire team."
On his team's play as of late ...
"It's the same lesson that we have to learn about ourselves. Virginia went through it down in Puerto Rico. A lot of teams across the country are going through it right now. You're looking to establish an identity. You're trying to figure out who you are. Our basketball team needs to come to the realization that we need to play with some aggressiveness and some physicality. We knew it was going to be hard for Virginia like it is for a lot of teams to maintain their focus with such a big lead after one half. Our guys came out with a little bit more fire and competed a little bit more. The results in the second half were that we were much better.
Virginia Players Quotes
#44 Jr. G Sean Singletary
On his performance...
"I just felt more comfortable. We got back from Puerto Rico and we felt like we really embarrassed the program. We lost games we shouldn't have lost, but I just started feeling one hundred percent healthy this week and I had a great week of practice and I was able to get extra shots like I was last year and my jump shot felt fluent and when my jump shot feels fluent I'm able to do a lot of other things."
On scoring his 1,000th career point...
"I didn't really know. I didn't really take much consideration into it. I know it's a great accomplishment, but I'm just concerned with winning and whatever comes with it, I'm happy for it."
On how the team responded after losing two games...
"We definitely took it personal, we know we're better than that, this program is better than that and the fans deserve better than that."
#2 Sr. G J.R. Reynolds
On how the team responded since returning from Puerto Rico...
"I couldn't wait until our next game. I just wanted to turn the page. I didn't even have a good holiday, because everybody kept bringing up, `What happened in Puerto Rico?' I have to take every game like it's our last. We can't afford to lose another game like we did in Puerto Rico. I can't give games away. I have to come out with the intensity like we did in the first half, day in and day out."
On the teams good start to the game...
"Our focus was on defense. Coach told us that we need to step up our defense and that's what we did tonight for the first 20 minutes and then we kind of relaxed, but it was a good stepping stone for us."
American Player Quotes
#20 Sr. G Andre Ingram
On his thoughts on tonight's game ...
"I don't think we came out ready to win the game. [Virginia] was a team that experienced some tough losses recently and we should have known that coming back and playing on their home court was going to fire them up. We didn't come with the energy, or the intensity, or the focus to even be prepared for a game like today."
On what Coach Jones said at halftime ...
"It wasn't anything special he told us. It was all things we knew. We have to come out with more energy, we have to come out with more focus. We didn't play like we wanted the game as much as they did. They wanted this game. With their tough losses recently, they want this game. And we had to want it more. We had to come out and fight."
On if a tough road schedule will benefit his team later in the season ...
"We have to learn from each game, win or lose. We can definitely learn from this one. After competing well against a team like Maryland and feeling good about ourselves, coming in here and not playing as well as we should have, you can learn something from that. It just shows you that you have to refocus each game. Your last performance doesn't count at all. Next game, next page. We can take this, learn from this, and realize that we need the same mindset, the same focus for every game or a performance like tonight can happen."
#3 So. G Derrick Mercer
On his thoughts on tonight's game ...
"Basically, I don't think we came out ready to win the game. Virginia had just suffered two hard losses and they came out ready to fight and we weren't there to fight with them. They gave us a punch and instead of us taking it and giving it back it seemed like they knocked us down. And it seemed like we didn't get back from that. We wanted to come here and focus, but we didn't want the game as much as they did."
On some of the positives he saw from his team ...
"I thought in the second half we started pushing it and got the ball up the floor. We started getting the ball inside and tried to get to the basket. In the first half our shots weren't falling and it seemed like we were unsettled. In the second half, we started getting to the basket and that helped us. We got the ball to our big guys. But defensive transition wasn't good, defense in general wasn't good and our shooting clearly wasn't good."
On what lessons you can take from a game like this ...
"Staying focused. Coming in here and trying to win more than the other team wants to win. If the opposing team wants to win more than we do that is going to kill everything."
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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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