Virginia Coach Tony Bennett Talks After Loss to Louisville

Photo: 247 Sports
Photo: 247 Sports

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On Mangok Mathiang’s game winning shot

I’ll have to take a look at the tape and I don’t know if we had anybody getting to him. But we obviously wanted to make it hard for Rozier and Montrezl. I thought we defended the possession pretty well. There’s always that could we switch ball screens? Could we do some things? But with the guys we had on the floor and not going with Anthony, we thought we wanted to clean up the rebound if it’s there. I don’t want to say I expected him to not make it, but I was okay with the way we defended that possession. I don’t know if someone was scrambling to at least bother the shot, but good for him. He stepped up and hit a big shot. I don’t think that’s his forte, but he did it in a big setting and that was obviously the nail in the coffin for us.

Was he going to call a timeout if they caught the long pass after Mangok’s shot?

I can’t give it away now. We had some good action behind it if it would’ve worked, but we also had the option to call the timeout too. We just tried to get a catch. Again I’ll take a look at that, but I think the ball just got away from him. We usually have Justin (Anderson) throwing it ironically. In that setting I thought we could get a catch. We didn’t execute it well to give ourselves a chance. It would have been nice to at least get a shot up at the end. They did the smart thing at the end by missing the free throw with .7 on the clock. We thought they would do that.

Was the game lost because of execution or effort?

I didn’t like how it started defensively. Credit to Louisville. Coach Pitino had them ready. They were cutting so hard offensively, they were all over the glass. Their ball pressure was terrific. The first time we played them at our place I think we had two or three turnovers only. They forced us into some turnovers – some careless ones we made. It was electric in here and they were charged. Their fans were charged and how hard they were cutting, playing, defending – all that. I thought they took it to us.

When you’re on the road, you have to take the game to them, at least defensively you’ve got to hold in there. I didn’t think we defensively had our sharpest, readiest approach to start. We did at Syracuse and it saved us because we were so poor offensively. This time we weren’t ready and from here on out it’s one and done. I told our guys that. You’re in the conference tournament. We can live with this, but you’ve got to be ready from start to finish. A lot of that is credit to the intensity in this building and the intensity on the floor. Those guys were ready. They made it hard for us. I wish we started stronger in this one; defensively especially.

On Montrezl Harrell

He plays really inspired at home. He feeds off the crowd and we let him get a few easy ones. I thought we trapped him up. He was real aggressive against our post trap. He just made some of those X factor hustle plays. When you talk about winning 50/50 balls or getting the X factor plays – they got the majority of them. He ignited them with some of those and made some tough plays. He made some easy ones on breakouts. He’s a good one. There’s no question. I saw that when I was fortunate enough to be an assistant on the USA Team and he can take over games. I thought we were a little better down the stretch on him but he’s a lot to handle.

On London Perrantes

He’s the one that kind of saved us a little to start the game, made some plays. A couple of those (turnovers) were just off the press, we just threw a couple away that we didn’t need to. Malcom (Brogdon) too, Malcolm was getting the ball knocked out of his hands. Again, they’ve got quick hands and they were swarming, but a couple of uncharacteristic turnovers for London and in a tight game like this when you’re fighting, those are those small incisions that are hard to endure. He made some good plays. We called the lob, probably a little too far out. It wasn’t a great call. We said if it’s there, throw it. We thought maybe we’d get something on the back line but they jumped up and got it. I think our guys will learn from it, but there weren’t a lot of easy things out there. They contested everything and they were running their matchup so you had to get a beat on where you could get your shots and they made aggressive plays.

Ready to get back to full strength with Justin Anderson?

Definitely. It’s just unfortunate. He was going to try to play and then obviously, with what happened to him (appendectomy). Depth is so important for us and we haven’t had it for a while. I can’t tell you when he’s going to come back. We’ll see how he recovers. It could be a week, could be two weeks. It’s just all how you recover. He’s been patient. He’s had to endure a bit. It will certainly be nice to get him back, whenever that time is. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

On Anthony Gill

I think he got a either a knee, or he fell, a contusion in his buttocks or in the glute right there. He just looked like he wasn’t moving well and it was tightening up. I thought Mike (Tobey) was giving us a good effort and I just made a decision. One time he (Gill) came to get the ball in the press and it just looked like he was hobbled and I didn’t want to put him in that spot.

What lift does Senior Night give teams?

You want to play well in your last home game. It’s always emotional, you could feel it. This was my first time here. Is the crowd always like this? Because if it is, my goodness that’s great. We’ve got a great setting too. I know Coach Pitino gave praise to our crowd when he came and I’ll do the same because it was live. You could feel it. But they played inspired of course with senior night. I don’t know if this put them in the double-bye, I’m not sure if it did. (Someone tells him yes it did) It did? So that’s a…they backed it up. I wanted our guys to be in the toughest setting. We were going to have to beat them at their best. We had to be at our best and we weren’t quite there for long enough. We will be thankful for what we learned and get ready for ACC time.

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