“I think the easiest way to put it is the more efficient team won the game. They had a nice run right at the end of the first half and at the start of the second half. We made a couple of turnovers. We gave them some easy ones and we didn’t finish. We had some offensive rebounds in the first half but we didn’t ours. I think they got five offensive rebounds and got nine points out of it. They were very efficient there. Joe (Harris) got them off to a great start, there’s no question he’s a heck of a player. I love watching him play when I’m watching games on TV. I don’t love watching him play when I’m playing against him.
"Tony’s (Bennett) done a really good job. Tony and his staff do a great job, gotten everybody to buy into a certain role and understanding how he wants them to play and he’s done a much better job of that then I have. We struggled to shoot the ball again tonight, four of fifteen from three, five of twelve from the foul line and that hurts you. A couple of turnovers and a couple of missed opportunities at the end of the half, it was a one point game then all of sudden we’re down nine.
"Then the first part of the second half (Mike) Tobey makes one and then Marcus (Paige) makes one and they get an offensive rebound and score, then we make a mistake on Joe coming off of a screen and Leslie leaves (Malcolm) Brogden in the corner. Brogden makes the three and they make you pay when you make a mistake. That’s a sign of a very good basketball team and a very well coached basketball team. We’ve taken advantage of things in the past and we’re not right now at this point taking advantage of mistakes when other people make them as well as we need to do it. It’s very frustrating to say the least but it’s college basketball.”
Was the problem tonight more deep-rooted than just playing with a sense of urgency and with great effort?
“Well effort is…and I’m not throwing my kids under the bus I’ve got to get them to play harder. I’ve got to get them to play with a greater sense of urgency. That hurt us a couple of times tonight. I thought in the first half they kept getting the loose balls and when they got an offensive rebound they finished the play. It’s not just effort, our kids are trying but it’s got to be a greater sense of urgency and alertness. Two plays I remember significantly, there’s a loose ball and we stand there and then we start to go after it and Virginia’s players just instinctively went after it faster and harder and end up getting it. One of the times they got a three and another time we fouled a guy on a two shot foul. Right now it’s not one particular thing. That’s been something that’s hurt us in a couple of games badly but tonight we had several mistakes.”
Was the inability to capitalize on offensive rebounds due to the team pressing?
“I don’t have an answer. If I did I would have already tried to fix it to be honest with you. We’ve got to be more attentive to finish the play instead of worrying about getting fouled is one of the things I say all of the time. Tyler Hansbrough was the best I’ve ever seen, had more old fashioned three-point plays than anybody because when he got the ball he’d finish the play and start to run back down the court and then realize the ref had blown the whistle and called a foul. So many times we’re in there looking where the defensive player is or not exploding up as much as we can and being a little hesitant with it.”
Did you notice any area defensively that was exploited during the run at the end of the first half and opening of the second half for Virginia?
“Well it’s a one point game and one turnover led to fast break and one turnover led to another score. I think they scored off both turnovers there so I don’t think it was necessarily that. It’s hard to defend when they’re running the break. The last play the freshman, (London) Perrantes, I think he was the one that made the three right before the half too. It’s sort of like a dagger is what it is. At the start of the second half, we gave them two easy shots inside. (We) didn’t front the low post and he turns around and scores from two inches and we score then we come back down and if I’m not mistaken we give up an offensive rebound and they score. Then we make a mistake on a switch on Joe so failure to box out, failure to get around in front and failure to make a switch so that’s three different mistakes.”
What went into the decision to keep Leslie McDonald on the bench for a lengthy period during the second half?
“Just didn’t feel like he was shooting the ball in the whole and didn’t feel like he was playing well and wanted to give somebody else a chance. I said last week that I didn’t think that Leslie had played well enough to deserve the opportunity to start but I wasn’t just going to sit around and do nothing. Guys get an opportunity to start then you better act like you’re Lou Gehrig. If you give me a chance to start in front of somebody then I’m going to play my butt off and try to make sure that I stay there and that has not happened yet whether it was Kennedy (Meeks) for two games, Brice (Johnson) for two games, Leslie (McDonald) for two games. Leslie shot the ball great in practice but defenses are aimed at him, they know he’s supposed to be a shooter so they’re doing some things. He’s got to get a little better shot selection. I did frustrated with him because we work on beginning the dribble every day in practice and to have a walking violation, traveling violation just beginning your dribble is not very smart.”
Was the pace at the beginning of the game what you wanted early and what happened to get your team away from that?
“They did a better job of settling down. They only had eight turnovers. They have three guys on the perimeter that do a really nice job of handling the ball. Brogden’s a point, London’s a point guard, Joe ended up four to zero so they have three ball handlers. They’re a very unselfish team. They very much understand who they are. I’ll tell you who I love is Akil Mitchell who plays 30 minutes as a senior and takes five shots, but you look down and he has 11 rebounds. He picked the ball up off the floor between two of our guys and laid it up. He was the one down on the floor sooner and that’d be a little bit of our sense of urgency after the play.”