Postgame Quotes: Virginia 46, Vols 38

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

HEAD COACH Cuonzo Martin

(On the team's recent offensive struggles)
"It's tough, as a coach, because you work on shooting -- guys come in three times a week for 30 minutes in the morning to get shots up. You work on shooting in practice. Guys have to shoot the ball with confidence. We also have to find better ways to get the ball inside to Jarnell. I thought (Virginia) did a good job of sagging. But we have to find a way to get him more looks."

(On consecutive losses affecting players' ability to find confidence)
"I don't consume myself with talking about it because I was a player before, so I know that when you start talking about certain things over and over, guys start to see it and believe it. They read it. So for me as a coach, it's just `If you have open shots, shoot them.' I thought we had some good looks in the first half from 3-point range, and they just didn't fall. I thought we had some good looks in the post - one-on-one situations - and we just didn't capitalize. That's part of it. But I thought our effort on defense kept us in the game. We just didn't put the ball in the basket."

(On the second-half stretch when Tennessee made five consecutive stops on the defensive end)
"In that particular situation, we had cut it to five, and we had two offensive fouls on their ball-screen defense. Then we turned the ball over. And then I think one of the guys may have shot an air-ball 3-pointer. You just have to give yourself a chance. When you're defending at that high level, you've got to get some good looks. You can't turn the ball over."

(On the offensive struggles not seeming to affect the team's defensive effort)
"I think the guys are doing a great job defending. But on offense, guys just have to step up and make shots. Once again, it's a feel thing. I thought we had good looks. Because the key is that you have to put yourself in a position to get shots, and I think we did that. Some didn't fall, and that's part of it. But we have to find a way to put the ball in the basket. We're defending the ball. We're doing a good job in that department. We need to make shots and cut down on turnovers.

(On if he liked Tennessee's shot selection)
"There's never a game where every shot isn't a perfect shot. But I thought for the most part we took good shots. We've got to get the ball inside more without running plays. We have to be able to move and cut and get them the ball so that defense is not set."


(On the game)
"Yeah Virginia did a really good job, especially with their man-to-man defense. I thought we got some good looks. We just have to knock them down. If you hold a team under 50 points, you have to be able to score and win those games. We are just going to have to go back to the drawing board. Everybody is going to have to forget this and find a way to hit some shots."

(On Virginia)
"They play a really slow offense. They don't gamble much and they are going to make you shoot it from outside. The past few games we haven't been shooting it well, but everyone goes through slumps."

"They helped on defense a lot and they were going to make us beat them from the outside. We got some good looks, especially in the second half. It kills you because you keep wanting the shots to fall and it would be a totally different game. I think also in the second half we had some mental errors. When you come into another team's place, you can't make mistakes like that. That's the difference in the ballgame."

(On getting over the hump in games)
"It's a whole lot easier to get on runs when you are making shots. But I thought we played well enough defensively. I mean it was a close game at the end. We shot terribly and we still had a shot at the end of the game. We are giving ourselves a chance to win with the way we are playing on the defensive end but we just have to knock down shots. And I'll take responsibility for that. I can't shoot that poorly. I have to make shots to help us win. So I'll take responsibility for that. All of our guards need to be able to knock down open shots."

(On cutting the lead to four points late in the game)
"We have to be able to execute down the stretch. I felt like we had them backpedalling a little bit there when we cut the lead to four. But we had a couple of foul calls that stopped our momentum and we can't do that. We have to keep pounding. As long as we keep playing like we are defensively, the shots will come."

(On upcoming week off)
"It comes at a good time. We lost two games back-to-back but both have come against good teams... at both teams' home court. None of our losses this season have been bad. We just have to find a way to get over the hump and get wins on the road. That's definitely going to be big especially when it comes to getting in the NCAA Tournament. We have to have some good wins on the road. We will get back to the drawing board and work on some things. I think you will definitely see some improvement."


(On defensive intensity of the game)
"We are a defensive team, so I feel like that is how every game is. Both teams played good defense tonight, but we just couldn't score the way we wanted to."

(On getting within five points, getting five consecutive stops, but not scoring)
"I thought we would come back, but we just couldn't convert. We couldn't hit our shots. We've got to work harder to get better. We have to score the ball. That's all we have to do. Once we do that, then we will be fine."


(On the game)
"It looked great to me. I'll take it."

(On Virginia's defense and guarding Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes
"Tonight, those are two good defensive teams. Baskets weren't easy to come by. It was physical. Again, we're trying to play tough possession basketball. We left some buckets out there on the table. I thought that we had some finishers."

"Stokes is so physical. He's such a presence. Our guys used their activity and their quickness to bother him, and we tried to trap him. I think we did an okay job. "

(On Jontel's and Teven's presence in the game)
"Teven got a little sped up a couple of times and made a couple of uncharacteristic plays, but he made the free throws."

"We just talked about being ball strong. Again, with their defense, it's not like they're going to extend and try to turn you over away on the floor, but they make your catches tough, and you better be a two-handed player or it's going to be a long night. Both of us tried to find ourselves offensively. They're a very good defensive team, and I know how hard that is when you lose in two games when you don't score. They're good on the defensive side of it and your defense can only hang in there so long when you're struggling to score."

(On Jontel Evans and potential injury)
"I hope it's not anything too bad. I know he came back. I said `can I put him in?' That was my question, and they said `not right now.' We'll find out and get the x-rays. I thought he made a couple of nice drives and put pressure on them in that stretch, and was guarding well. We'll see."


(On defense)
"Darion and I have played a lot of really good post players in the past, even this season with the player from Wisconsin. It was emphasized coming into the game and we have been working on post trap all week. We got ready for their physicality. Darion really stepped in and handled it."

(On the game)
"There is no greater satisfaction than holding a team and frustrating a team with your defense. I think the guys in the locker room really like it, but I'm not sure the fans like it."

(On team progressing)
"We have grown up so much. We have matured as a team and found an identity. With a Tony Bennett team you really know what that identity is. We've really embraced and it is getting us W's, so I can't complain."


(On Akil Mitchell)
"He plays with a lot of confidence and he has a lot of trust in his game. We trust in him and value him as a player."

(On the team)
"I think we did a good job of not letting that first loss get to us. We really make a point to improve every game. We try to learn from the mistakes we might have made early in the season. We have a lot of room for improvement and we will come back to the drawing board tomorrow and prepare for the next game."

(On the game)
"Credit to Tennessee. They are a tough defensive team. They weren't allowing anything easy. They are very physical. Especially late in the game it was a fight and tough for both of us. Both teams take pride in their defense."





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