March 8, 2017
Virginia - 73, Pittsburgh - 65
THE MODERATOR: Coach, we'll open it up with a brief opening statement, and then we'll go to questions.
COACH BENNETT: It's about midnight. Any questions, let's go.
Q. Tony, they cut the lead to one, and London scored 10 of your next 15 points. Just talk about how he is in the clutch.
COACH BENNETT: He responded. You know, I challenged the guys. I told them in the locker room after the game and I think about the 12-minute mark, we've got to tighten it up defensively, and they did, but then London made some big shots. You know, he's done that for us his whole career, and we needed that.
Pitt, you can look at their record, but they're an offensive team that's hard to guard. We had to answer them with some baskets, and then we tightened up the defense, and that's where a bit of the separation occurred.
Q. Tony, Jerry mentioned that stretch where London went off, and you mentioned you separated there. Jack made that great save kind of dive --
COACH BENNETT: That's right.
Q. -- diving out of bounds. Just what did that hustle play mean to that stretch?
COACH BENNETT: It's huge. Big play. He didn't look like he had a chance at it. We had a couple of those plays, but those are momentum changers. I tell our guys, it's about the heart. At this level, every possession matters, and that one mattered. I didn't think he had a chance at it. I don't know if that was more impressive or him trying to run away from the guy trying to follow him at the end of the game. They were both very impressive.
Q. Tony, while we're speaking about Jack, the four fouls, and the fourth foul seemed to particularly bother you in terms of the call, are there things he's doing that he shouldn't be, or are things just not going his way?
COACH BENNETT: Are you trying to get me fined or in trouble here? What's the deal? I disagreed. I'd have to watch it on tape. I thought he was set. He was walled up, and it was a fourth -- that foul, I didn't see. I didn't agree with it, but I'll look at the tape. That's about all I'm going to say about that.
Q. London, what has been so good for you guys against Notre Dame? It's been a long win streak. Coach Braves talked about the matchup trouble that you give them. I know you're just getting your head into it now, but in terms of Notre Dame, what have you had success with?
LONDON PERRANTES: Our defense. Obviously, our defense is a huge part. They can spread the floor, just like Pitt. Obviously, different types of weapons, but they can go to the spread, five-guard lineup with -- I kind of count Bonzie as a guard. But it gives people trouble. As long as we hang our head on our defense, I guess that's why we've been having a good record with them.
Q. Tony, talk about your freshman guards and what they did on a pretty big stage tonight.
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, they made some big shots, and actually, defensively we're solid. A couple of fouls late that we probably didn't think on. But they've done that at different times through the year. London was like that as a first year as well. You saw that different times of the year -- Ty kind of came out in that Notre Dame game and showed that, and, of course, Kyle has as well.
So it's playing the game and just -- they don't -- they're not afraid of the moment, but they have an unselfishness about them that makes a difference.
Q. For Coach, you just mentioned at this level it's about heart, and although you have to be technically sound to play great defense, so much of defense is heart. I'm curious, how do you evaluate that? And then how do you get them to buy into it?
COACH BENNETT: I mean, you just kind of try to impose your will as a coach on them and demand it. But they know. I think, like London said, it's validated when they have success.
We have to do that. We rely on each other. It's a hard way to play, but we know it's our way to play. We work at it, and we know we have guys that are bought into it.
Q. Evaluate it. When you look at it as a kid, how do you evaluate that?
COACH BENNETT: Just you find out what kind of character they got. Anyone can play defense if they're willing. When you recruit them, you don't sell them a bill of goods. You say, you're going to have to guard. You can ask both these guys. I said, we're going to work defensively, and it's going to help your game.
You have to see, do they move laterally? Do they anticipate well? Do they have vision? I remember London had quick hands and the ability to do stuff. Kyle, as he's learned our system, is getting stronger and can spread out. So those are things I look for, but they have to do it tomorrow too. So I'm not going to give them too many compliments. But they're willing, and they're able.
Q. Kyle, you hit four threes tonight. The last one, they had cut it to two, I think, about ten minutes left. That's when the crowd -- it was a pretty pro UVA crowd, really got into it. And you hit that three. You've risen up to big moments. Did you sense that in the game and in the atmosphere to kind of rise up there?
KYLE GUY: I knew that we needed a bucket, but it wasn't like, we need a bucket so let me shoot it no matter what. I didn't even think that shot was going in, to be completely honest. Thank God it did.
Like Coach said, I'm not really afraid of the moment, but whatever the team needs from me, I'm willing to do.
Q. You're now the first UVA player to advance in four consecutive ACC Tournaments. How do you gear your game up for postseason? And what do you need to do in postseason?
LONDON PERRANTES: It's just a program. I mean, obviously, we actually were talking to Joe Harris today and how our defense is built for March because we're going to play teams with high powered offense, but as long as our defense is there night in and night out, we'll be able to give ourselves a good shot to win games. I feel like, ever since I've been here, our defense has been pretty good, to say the least. That's just given me the shot to even advance.
And then obviously, we have some good offensive players, myself included, to help us. So I don't know if it's exactly me, but just the program.
Q. Tony, tonight Jack's game kind of recalled Marial's standout games that happened around the same time last year in the NCAA Tournament. Like London just said, is your roster kind of just built for guys to have those big pushes late in March?
COACH BENNETT: You said Jack you're talking about? Yeah, I think all year I said we're going to need them all, and it's been different guys at different times, and Jack has. He's such a warrior. You asked the question about what we look for in guys that are willing to defend, and it's just he'll screen, he'll rebound. He doesn't care if he takes a shot or not.
And to see him make those hustle plays -- he's been that energy. He and Isaiah are really good defensive players. They're good help defensive players. They know who they are as players. They're not confused what their strengths are and what we need them to do. And I think -- I don't know if I'm answering your question. Are we built for that? I just think that stuff is valued when possessions matter in tournament play. Those hustle plays, those bothering a shot, being in position, helping these guys, that's just emphasized and magnified more in these kinds of settings.
Q. Kyle, London. Kyle, it's your first ACC Tournament, London, it's your last. What kind of message do you have for the team, and what kind of stuff are you taking into these games?
LONDON PERRANTES: I just -- for me, my mentality is to have fun. Obviously, like you said, it's my last one, last go around. So I'm just going out, having fun, trying to lead these guys. I pulled them all in and told them how I love them, and I just want to go out there and go out and do what we do best. Don't put any extra weight on your shoulders. We've been here before. We've played all these teams before. We know we're capable of winning, but just go out and have fun.
Obviously, it's going to be a grind, but like we said before, our program is built for stuff like this.
KYLE GUY: Yeah, I basically just do whatever he tells me. He's been there, done that, like you said. So he's been a tremendous leader on and off the court, for me especially, and the rest of the guys. When he tells us that he loves us and he has confidence in us, it's really easy to play free.
Q. Coach, you guys have won four straight since losing four straight. This league is so tough. Is there a dramatic difference between how you have played when you lost those four games and how you have played when you've won these last four?
COACH BENNETT: I think the Carolina game was an outlier. They really took it to us. They played great. We really struggled. We weren't right. The other games, we've hung in there and tried to guard hard, just ran a little better offense. We've taken care of the ball better. We made some shots. We made adjustments. But we were really close in all those games. We had chances, played some good games.
So besides maybe some shots going in and our ability to handle the ball a little better, I think there hasn't been a big change, but we know the value of our -- again, I think our defense has tightened up in some of those games even a little more. Not a lot, but a little more.
Q. London, talk about your stretch in the second half. In the first half, you were a little quieter, I guess, as Kyle kind of got going. Wanted to ask you kind of your difference in mentality or rhythm or whatever it was in the first half and then once you got going in the second half.
LONDON PERRANTES: The defense they ran was a switching man. It's hard to kind of get a rhythm when you're trying to feel your way through the game. Or for me myself, I was trying to feel my way through it, pick my spots. I had some open looks, missed them, but that's the game.
Obviously, we had Kyle, so I was looking for him whenever he was open. He was on his run. For me, I was just trying to do whatever I can to win, whether that's make shots or just play defense and let Kyle make the shots.
But in the second half, I just had some openings and knocked down some shots.
Q. London, I was hoping you could kind of describe what you've seen in Kyle's development and maybe his potential once you move on.
LONDON PERRANTES: Yeah, Kyle is through the roof. You don't have to worry about that. He has confidence in his game. I think we all have confidence in his game. Shoot the ball. I think, like Coach said earlier, the stronger he gets, the better defender he's going to be. But, yeah, offensively he has a great feel. He can shoot the ball. Defense can get there. It's going to get there.
Yeah, obviously, with him and Ty, the two young guys, and we got two redshirt freshmen that have put in a lot of work this year too. So we'll be all right when I leave for sure.
Q. Your teams have had some characteristics. You know, right now you're 351st out of 351 in pace, length of possessions, but you're also incredibly efficient, especially on defense. Do you try to dictate the pace, or is the pace just something that comes as a result of what you're trying to do strategically?
COACH BENNETT: Definitely we try to take care of the ball, get good shots, make people -- I think, when our defense is set and we're in possession, it's hard for teams to score quick or shoot quick when we're right. And then offensively, I always tell them, if it's a great look and it's early, you can take it. Otherwise, we want to try to move the ball and get shots. Again, I think we know what works for us. We don't apologize for how we play. We play that way because it's effective for us.
You know guys are developing their game. They're having chances to play after, but it works for us. When we lose sight of that against the teams we play, then we kind of struggle.
But as far as the number of our pace of play, I think it's, yep, we try to be patient offensively unless there's something good. Then defensively, I think it slows it down a little bit because teams can't quite get shots quick enough.
Q. Kyle, for you as a freshman first time in this tournament with a late game like this and getting out so late, what was it like to wait all day for your chance to take the court?
KYLE GUY: I didn't really know what to expect this late of a game and stuff like that. But I was really excited and just ready to play, focused. Coach is always preaching to stay focused and stay on top of things off the court so that on the court there's no problems and we're focused the whole time. So with London as a roommate, it's pretty easy to stay focused because all he does is sleep. So I have a lot of alone time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports