March 16, 2018
UMBC - 74
Virginia - 54
TONY BENNETT: First, hats off to Coach Odom and his staff and UMBC. They played a terrific game. They thoroughly outplayed us and they did a heck of a job. Very hard to guard offensively and they defended us well. I was concerned with the 4 guard or a 4 perimeter offense heading into this, and we didn't do the job. And I told these guys in the locker room, you know, a week ago we were cutting down the nets at ACC Tournament and how good that felt and they had a historic season, they really did. I said that to Tracy, CBS, after the game, in terms of ACC wins and ACC Conference Tournament Championship and then we had a historic loss being the first 1 seed to lose.
So, that's life. We talk about it all the time. The adulation, the praise, it comes and we got a lot of that this year. Then on the other side, they'll be blame and people pointing that out. That can't, in the end, you know, define these guys and our team or us, because it was a remarkable season but we got thoroughly outplayed. That's the reality of it. And I hate for this team, the way they played to lose like this, but for Devon and Isaiah to go out like that and Nigel being a fifth year for us.
So, with that, if you play this game and you step into the arena, this stuff can happen. And those who haven't been in the arena or in the competition, maybe they don't understand that. But there's chances for wonderful things to happen, but when you're in the arena, stuff like this can happen and all those who compete take that on. And so we'll accept it. And again I want to congratulate the job that Ryan and his staff did. They played well and we did not.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kyle or Ty, raise your hand.
Q. Both of you guys, what was UMBC doing effectively really at both ends of the floor and then especially at the start of the second half?
TY JEROME: They spread the floor, they made shots. I don't think we defended well. We didn't pass the ball well. We didn't come off screens well. We didn't do anything well tonight, to be honest. And give credit to them, too, because they played well. They're a good team, but we didn't do anything well.
KYLE GUY: Defensively they were very quick and were beating the screens and were cutting and stuff. Just hard to get in a rhythm. Once we got down 8 or 10 we we're trying to make home run plays because you don't want to be in this position and so --
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for Kyle or Ty?
Q. Ty, you know, you listed a bunch of things that sort of were happening about why you guys didn't -- about how you guys didn't play that well. Do you have any idea why it happens that way?
TY JEROME: You know, it's basketball. You're not going -- I mean, I don't know why. I don't know why, no. I guess we didn't -- maybe we didn't come ready to play today. We didn't shoot well, that definitely doesn't help. But to only have five total assists as a team is pretty bad. So, I guess we didn't move the ball well, didn't shoot well. We probably should have gone into the post more. I don't have the answers.
Q. Both you guys, obviously it's a tough spot to come in here and answer questions. I'm curious what have you learned from Coach Bennett that prepares you for this part of basketball?
KYLE GUY: You know, I love Coach Bennett, but there's not really a whole lot that can prepare you for this kind of feeling. He has instilled a lot of humility and unity throughout our team. So it will be easy for us to bounce back, but there's not really any answer to make you feel better in this situation.
Q. This question is for either one of you. What did you guys talk about at halftime being tied 21-21? What did you think you needed to do in the second half to sort of swing things back in your favor?
THE MODERATOR: Ty.
TY JEROME: It's tough to remember but I think we just said every possession was going to matter. It was 21-21 and they had a 3 off an offensive rebound and a 3 when we didn't scramble correctly and make a right rotation. That's 6 of their 21 points. Every possession is going to be matter, we're going to be in for a battle and we had to buckle down, especially defensively, and offensively just be more aggressive, spread the floor a little more. And we didn't do either one of those things.
Q. Kyle, Lyles had taken only two shots in the first half, I believe, scored 5 points. Then gets 23 after intermission. What did they do differently and what made it so difficult to check him after halftime?
KYLE GUY: He was, you know, a tough player to guard. He's very shifty and could hit tough shots. And the first half, honestly he wasn't being all that aggressive. You know, Devon was playing pretty good defense but other guys were hitting shots so didn't need to do much. The second half he got it going, and, you know, Coach said when you let a team hang around for awhile, they get a lot of confidence and he definitely had that.
Q. Ty, were you aware that a 16 had never won before and did you just kind of dismiss that ahead of time?
TY JEROME: I think everyone is aware of that. Thanks for bringing that up again. But, you know, I was aware of it.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Last question for student-athletes.
Q. What kind of life lessons does this teach both of you?
TY JEROME: I mean, if you're worried about the outside world, Coach Bennett and the staff told us earlier in the year that it's a flip of a coin. It's the same people that will tell you how great you are and praise you, you know, when you're on top, you feel like you're on top of the world, will the same people are going to kill you when you're at this point.
But to be honest, I don't think this team has never been worried about you guys, the media, the outside world. But it just shows you that really anybody can beat anybody and if you don't come to play you're going to get beat. It's basketball.
KYLE GUY: You know, it's all a blur right now. It's really hard to answer these questions as you guys know. And one thing this team is really good at and built on is resiliency. I think bouncing back from something that's so heartbreaking will be a huge key for us. I just, you know, just feel so bad for Isaiah and Devon and Nigel because it's not how we wanted to send them out.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. You can head back to the locker room. We appreciate you being here. Congratulations on a great year. Questions for Coach Bennett.
Q. Coach, I know it's got to be difficult for you to tell these guys really anything to sort of comfort them now, but in the locker room post game, what do you try and tell them?
TONY BENNETT: There's not a whole lot you can say right now. We talked about a few things, but, you know, heads are down. And again that's the reality of it. You can say all the soothing things or whatever and time will heal. And I did share with them what I started my opening statement with, that's life. This is not the end of the world, okay? This is not -- there's a lot of worse things that can happen. It's the first time it happened, but this is a possibility. We knew that.
Again, we had a remarkable year, but we also knew our margin for error wasn't huge and they just played. They were so good. I was so sad that now we're done with this group because they did everything I asked. And when we weren't quite right, we couldn't keep them out of the paint. And you ask that question whoever did about Lyles coming off the ball screen, 33 or 13 are both 4 men who can really shoot. So I think at times we were worried about we got to get back to the shooter and didn't stop the ball. They had us in no man's land. They put pressure on us in ways they did.
But back to the deal. There's not much you can say. I think they're strong character guys and have to bounce back. Like he said, resiliency has been their strength. Now it will be tested in a way I don't think they thought it would be tested.
Q. You mentioned earlier in the week that you've seen Lyles at your camp. Son of UVA alumni, what did you remember?
TONY BENNETT: Not much. I mean, he's really great. He went to VCU, obviously. I think he came back for his fifth year. I wish he wouldn't have done that now. But really good. One heck of a senior year or fifth year and dangerous. You saw the shot he hit to get them into the NCAA Tournament and again the way they play with the 4 guards and the spread and the quickness and that's -- their point guard did a heck of a job.
K.J., he was so quick and he managed the game. They really defended. So that quickness with a 4 separate ball screen has always been an issue if you can't switch it. And they put us in a tough spot and we didn't do a great job with it.
Q. You alluded to it earlier about them being uniquely gifted with the 4-guard system. Is there another team that you've seen in the last two years that kind of reminds you of them? They're very --
TONY BENNETT: We've at times had a little trouble with 4 perimeter teams, 4 guard teams. And this is not an excuse, but without De'Andre, I thought we had enough with what we had, but that allowed us to sometimes switch and he could -- his versatility helped us. When we didn't have that, we were always a little nervous. I think again their quickness -- their size is small and we couldn't -- couple times we couldn't take enough advantage of that. They did a great job blocking out, but again they put a lot of pressure on you with that and they run their offense. That's why I wanted to give credit to Ryan. They run their offense so fast. That ball just pop, pop, pop and they do the dribble handoffs, keeping it and moving it. If you're not really disciplined and really sound -- and we worked as hard as we could preparing for it, but it's like you can't mimic that until you go against it.
We lost our way. I think it was a good point, tried to get it back in one shot and got out of character. And I'm sure I'll look at the tape and I probably made a lot of poor adjustments and that's part of it. I'll grow from it as a coach, but our young men tried. They battled. It wasn't a lack of effort, but it was a hard team for us once they got ahead of us.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for Coach Bennett?
Q. Tony, in the steps you've taken to build this program, how will you view this season given that, as you said, you guys achieved a lot getting to number 1 but to have it end this way?
TONY BENNETT: Yeah. That's a good question. I don't know. Remarkable 31 wins. I think this team maxed out as much as any team that I've had. We were so healthy and so good up until this last game, so we needed all hands on deck. You'll remember this. It will sting. Maybe a 1 seed will get beat again, maybe not. Maybe we'll be the only No. 1 seed to ever lose. It's life. It goes on. We'll have to get past that. For some reason this is what we've got to deal with, and my job now will be to say hey, how do we bounce back, our players and all that. But a life lesson is sitting there about defining yourself by maybe not what the world says, but there's other things that matter and then you get back to it.
Phenomenal year. Can't take away an ACC Championship, can't take away the most wins, can't take away an ACC Conference Tournament, and can't take away so far being the first 1 seed to get beat and lose.
I grew up, played at Wisconsin-Green Bay, the hyphenated schools. I know how good they are. Said it yesterday, good basketball knows no divisions or limits or qualities. And they played. All that matters is who plays the best. They earned their right to play in this tournament. They earned their right to move on. It's who played the best for 40 minutes, and they absolutely did. Won't take away from some of the things, but it certainly stings. You know, I'll -- ask me that maybe next year or another time. We'll see.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?
TONY BENNETT: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports