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February 7, 2011

Tony Bennett

COACH BENNETT: Coming off of a tough loss at Miami where we played solid basketball, labored down the stretch to make some free throws, and that really cost us the game. I thought we had three times where I thought the game was almost put away being up 7 with two minutes and a half. And the front end of the bonus being up five under a minute, and we just couldn't capitalize at the line. Then Miami made some plays.
So that was hard dropping those. But there was good quality in the game really on both ends of the floor for us. So from that have standpoint, we have a bye week. You try to just keep moving towards quality and keep getting those spots again, and hopefully you come out on the right side.
We did it against Clemson the game before. But again, played well enough to get a victory, but did not come out with it against Miami. Now we said we go to work, and we get ready for Florida State on Saturday.

Q. You said after the game Saturday you wanted to look at the tape to see about the foul that Sammy may or may not have committed on that three-point shot. After looking at it, what did you think?
COACH BENNETT: I don't know what I'm allowed to say or what I'm not allowed to say. So I didn't think it was a foul, but I looked at it, and that was a hard way to lose but that's just my opinion. Not disrespecting an official or all of that. It's just I thought it was pretty clean.
Unfortunately, there were two called in the last 40, 50 seconds of the game. Two three-point shooters and of course I'm biased. But just looking at it, we talked about it in the huddle of guard the three-point line. We're not going to foul. We're not going to try to -- watch and certainly do your best. You tell the official don't let them kick the leg out. We're going to be careful on that.
But it's a bang-bang situation, and it happened. Then the kid made all three free throws. We could have put it away at the line, again, I don't know, I probably should be brushed up on what I'm supposed to say and what I'm not. Again, I wish it wouldn't have been called, but it was, and we couldn't finish it at the line.

Q. We asked you so much about the free throws after the game that nobody brought up Don tell he Evans play. His stat line looked very soiled for you. What did you think of him Saturday?
COACH BENNETT: He was good. I thought he defended well. I thought he took care of the basketball. Got to the lane, let the game come. He hit a big three at the end of the half to give us a three-point cushion.
He was out for a stretch in that second half. Just we had a nice chemistry or nice rhythm going with the personnel we had.
Then when he came in, he made one of the better hustle plays I mentioned in the press room after. In overtime when he picked up full court, I think he fell and hustled back into the play. He got a piece of the ball, stalled it, and laid it in. But he had a nice game. I thought he can did a very good job.

Q. Obviously Billy left last week. He's the third guy that's transferred since April. While I'm not at your practices and in your office, you don't come across as an ogre who runs people off. What is your feeling about that? Does it just speak to what's going on in college basketball today?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, I think it does. Last year, different -- the guy that's left last year, they were for different reasons. And I think in your first year, a new coach, not the players that you had recruited. I think that's a different issue.
But I think with Billy leaving, and that is also a unique issue with the situation with his father being a coach at Rhode Island and all of that.
But the way it is, nothing shocks me anymore. Yeah, I'm surprised. But every year I've coached even Washington State, I've had guys leave and just really whether it's playing time, academics, home sickness. Someone thinks they can move on whether it's a professional career. It.
Really is -- this one, the timing I was surprised. But you know with Billy again -- and in none of the cases have I had a bad relationship with -- I say that and maybe they'd say different -- but never been a bad relationship. It's just one of those situations where the players felt this isn't in the best interest of their future.
So I do think it's a different time than it was ten years ago or five years ago.

Q. Are you more inclined now to look at a player for 2011 or do you feel that would be bringing in somebody else that might not be able to play?
COACH BENNETT: In our situation now you're saying?

Q. Yes.
COACH BENNETT: Certainly there is that. You look at, okay, transfer situations. Is there something that makes sense that way. Is there a player that you can't pass up that's really improved, that fits the need? Is there a project player? Are there going to be players at the end of the year where coaching changes take place?
There are always a lot of things in play that I think you keep your eyes open to. And if something makes sense, you look at it. But there is also the option of putting it into the next class or as we rewarded Will Sherrill, our walk-on last year, a scholarship and things like that. And we put one in the next class. So I think you keep your eyes open to it.

Q. You probably talked about free throws and free throw shooting until our blue in the face, but I'm curious what kinds of things you do to for the kids to get them to focus a little better?
COACH BENNETT: Sure. You can make too big of a deal quite honestly if you don't. But a lot is who is shooting them? Who is at the line at what time. In our case we had guys that we wanted at the line. But I think you have to shoot your repetitions.
Sometimes you get in the season and you tell the guys you want them to shoot their shots, but you've got to make sure they're shooting their reps. There are a number of things, you try to put pressure on them. You have some fun competitions. We do swish games, streak games. We do streak games where you have to do so many in a row.
So you try to do so many things to get them to focus and work on their technique and their form. You try to change it up, get the reps, make sure the mechanics are sound. Having a good routine. Nothing any different than anyone else does. But trying to shoot a good amount of quantity and quality with that and getting in those spots.
Again, I've watched on tape a half, a couple of them as they've rattled in and out. They're halfway down and they've popped out. You just hopefully get to the line the next time, and it starts to even out statistically.

Q. I'm curious your take on having a week off at this time of the year? Good bad or indifferent?
COACH BENNETT: I'll tell you Saturday afternoon or after the game. You make the most of it. I mean, you're used to playing two games, but we make the most of it. From a preparation standpoint, getting guys -- you give them an extra day of rest, and you have to be as mentally and physically fresh as you can at this stage of the game.
But we'll try to do what we can with it. Everybody gets one, just depends where it is. I'll welcome it and use it to recruit an extra day. Give our guys an extra day of rest, do some skill work and prepare in the areas.
I heard Coach Greenberg saying you don't have time for everything right now as long as you let some basic things -- I don't know if you say let them slide, but you can really isolate those things for a day or two as a break away from your normal preparation for the team you're playing.

Q. Your last couple teams at Washington State you guys had such success with defending the three-point line, and understanding the nuances of the pac line. But the teams here at Virginia have sort of struggled with some of that. What would you say your biggest explanation for that is so far? Is it the youth?
COACH BENNETT: I think some of it, yeah. We talked about the anticipation for getting there. I think we were doing well early on in the ACC. A game could skew it. In the last game some big shots were hit, deep shots with the range.
But I think it's that ability to really anticipate and be able to get the shooters on the catch and bother their shots. I don't know statistically backing it up, but it depends upon the teams you play. It seems like guys ranges are improving, and guys can just go up and shoot with the hand in their face.
But you look at the quality of the defense. Are you making people earn? Are you taking away the lane? You look at each team. But if a pattern's developing and you're being hurt by it, you have to try to adjust.
But I do think the experience and anticipation, I think that's a big thing defensively. Being there on the catch. If guys are making tough, contested shots, then there's not much you can do, and you have to sometimes live with that. But if you look at what kind of shots are they getting, the quality of the shots.

End of FastScripts

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