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March 8, 2017

Buzz Williams

Zach Leday

Seth Allen

New York, New York

Virginia Tech - 99, Wake Forest - 90

THE MODERATOR: To my left is Coach Buzz Williams, Zach LeDay, and Seth Allen. We'll start with a brief opening statement from Coach Williams.

COACH WILLIAMS: We'll just go straight to questions.

Q. You guys shot 61 percent from the field in the second half. What got that offense executing so much better in the second half than the first half?
COACH WILLIAMS: Go ahead, Seth.

SETH ALLEN: We just really played together. We touched the paint a lot. Every time we got into the paint, we found the open man, and he just drove it again. I thought we did a good job of getting the rebound on defense and just running in transition and kind of tired them out.

Q. Zach, you seem to be a very emotionally charged player. Can you talk about that and how that fuels your game. You had a great game today. And, Seth, does that get you guys going as players as well?
ZACH LeDAY: I wouldn't really say I was that emotional in the first half, but I knew that my guys -- I just didn't want to go home. It was just looking bad. We weren't playing as hard as we needed to, so I wanted to try to get my team some energy and some fight, and that ended up helping our whole team and getting us all the way right to play together and play as hard as we needed to win in the second half.

SETH ALLEN: Yeah, I think Zach's really a big part of our team. He's a really good energy guy. He's like the engine to the team. I think that, when he's rebounding like he did today, it takes pressure off the guards because he's down there 6'5", 6'6" rebounding with one of the best bigs in the league. So when he plays as hard as he did tonight, it changes our team, and it takes pressure off the guards.

Q. Zach, I know Saturday you talked about how bittersweet that kind of was, the Senior Day and everything. Did you learn anything in the process of that game that you were able to use tonight in terms of combatting Wake Forest's bigs and all that?
ZACH LeDAY: We just had to pick our energy up. We played -- like Coach said at halftime, we played the last three halves with them. We weren't playing our type of basketball. We weren't getting stops. We weren't getting out in transition and running. We were just walking up the court and calling plays. That's not how we play.

We were diving on the floor in the second half. We had a big amount of energy in the second half. And we did that, and that half just made that big of a difference. If we'd have did that the whole game last game, we could have done beast them both times. But we did that in this half, and that helped us get the victory.

Q. For both of players, guys, what's the confidence level like right now for this team coming off that loss in the regular season but then getting it back tonight and heading into tomorrow's game?
SETH ALLEN: I think the confidence level is kind of just remained the same. Coach Buzz does a really good job of making us take it one day at a time, one ATO at a time. We're going to just try to focus on tomorrow and just try to get our bodies right for tomorrow.

I think that we've got a good group of guys, good chemistry, and I think that we should be rolling.

Q. For both players, can you explain why you believed that at Virginia Tech, which does not have much of a history with college basketball, that Coach Williams would be able to take you to the places that you wanted to go?
ZACH LeDAY: Well, me, I played against him at USF, and he was at Marquette, and they beat us by 25 twice. It was insane. So I knew what he could do it with just guys. When I was on the court with him at USF, I was like, man, they got all small guys, and they just whooping us like it was just crazy. So I just believed he could work miracles.

I didn't have a choice. This was my only choice. I didn't take a visit or anything. I just came here just willing. Just I had nothing to lose. So I put all my trust in him, and I still put all my trust in him probably for the rest of my life.

SETH ALLEN: For me, when I transferred from Maryland, it was really hard to trust all the coaches that were trying to talk to me. And when I first met Coach Buzz and I came on my visit, the way he treated my mom and my dad, just with respect, looking them in their eyes and just -- I just trusted him from the jump. I mean, I cancelled all my other visits. I committed right as soon as I left, and I just really put my trust in the Lord and Coach Buzz.

When Zach came, when we sat out, we worked hard every single day. When we were the last place team four years in a row, and we just kept digging, and we just put ourselves in the hole from the jump, and we just kept digging and digging and trying to work every day.

It's eventually paying off. Now that it's paying off, everybody's asking, did we think about it? Just from day one, we just tried to work. That's really what he taught me and Zach was how to work.

Q. Coach, you didn't have Seth in your matchup earlier in the year against Florida State. Can you talk about the matchup you're going to have with the Seminoles tomorrow.
COACH WILLIAMS: First of all, I think they have 12 major players on scholarship, and they're going to play all 12. Seth didn't travel. He was calling me from the training room, and Dream turned his ankle three days before at North Carolina State.

We tried some different things for the first time in Tallahassee. I thought we played incredibly hard. Didn't have enough ammo to beat them. Not saying that we have enough ammo to beat them tomorrow, but thankful that Seth and Dream will both be healthy tomorrow.

Q. Buzz has kind of faced this his whole life. He's kind of been the overlooked guy, the guy who works his way up from the boot straps. When people think about the ACC, they think Duke and Carolina and all that. Do you guys relish this role of being the overlooked rabble that we're just going to come in here and ruin your life?
ZACH LeDAY: Same thing. I've been overlooked my whole life. I met Coach Buzz being overlooked. So I get used to the role. I'm used to it. I'm going to keep on working as hard as I can, just giving thanks to God and playing as hard as I can for my teammates every night and just give them my all because I don't want to go home. I don't want to lose. I'm going to do anything it takes to win and just play my heart out, play my guts out.

SETH ALLEN: Same. When I committed to Maryland, didn't nobody know who I was. When I was transferring, I got this -- I mean, some type of respect, but still, I mean, just the hardest thing about being overlooked is, once you start getting to ground level and people are noticing who you are, you've got to still work like you're not overlooked, you know what I mean? Our team does a good job of working like we're nobody, and that's how we play.

We just try to keep it in our huddle and just keep it one family.

Q. Zach, you had to deal with one of the better big guys in the ACC, and you had a great game. What enabled you to have a great game? And, Buzz, as far as the three-point shooting in the second half, what kind of got that improvement there? Was it a question of better looks, open looks?
COACH WILLIAMS: I'll go first so Zach can process his answer. We had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio at halftime. I think the threes that we took tonight, I would have to look at a different deal. I think the threes we took in the second half, I think 6 of the 7 were assisted. So that tells you how we were playing, right?

I think the numbers offensively in the second half were a tribute to the mentality that we played with, and I think the numbers in the first half were attributed to the mentality that we played with.

ZACH LeDAY: Collins was a really good player. I just wanted to try to play as hard as I can. I'm not really worried about the opponent. I can just control what I can control. I can control how hard I play and my emotion.

In the first half, we weren't doing what we needed to do, and I just wanted to give energy coming off the bench and help my team and be a leader in my own right and do what it took to win.

I don't really worry about the opponent, I just do what I can control, which is playing hard, boxing out, rebounding, and do what Coach asks me.

Q. For Coach Williams, when these two guys, they don't start, what's up with that?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think it's an unspoken symbolism of what we want the culture of our program to be about.

Q. Could you elaborate on that.
COACH WILLIAMS: I could probably elaborate on it for a long time. We're not in the position we're in. We're not playing on March the 9th if it wasn't for these two guys, and I think the example that they set for their teammates, but for our staff, for our institution, for our department speaks to it's not about them. Even in their answers to the previous three questions, I think that it speaks to who they are.

Q. And also, why did you believe you would be able to win where few have?
COACH WILLIAMS: I'm just demented. I don't think that it's about me. Only God could have authored and ordained a story like this. So I don't want to take credit. I think that, when you're doing it the way that we're doing it, it's the hardest way for sure, and it requires everyone to be accountable within their role.

There are ten people that I've hired since I've been at Tech. All ten of them are incredibly important to the lives of our kids. And I think, when you look at this year's team is comprised of two recruiting classes, in my opinion, it's the best league in the country. As they mentioned, for the fourth year in a row, we went 2-16 in year number one. Last year only three teams in the history of the ACC have improved by eight games. We were the only team in the history of the ACC that that eight-game improvement came from last place.

And then for us to be in the position we're currently in, I don't know how it will transpire down the stretch, but I think that it speaks to the character and the willingness and the effort and the time of all of the people that have been a part.

And I think the other thing, Roger, that I would say -- and I'm only saying it because of my relationship with you -- if you research even deeper, past all of that stuff I just said, which I wholeheartedly believe, all of them have a story, and it's the culmination of those stories when they're all together that make it what it is.

So Zach LeDay has never been All-Conference in any sort of way. Not to be a jerk to you, the only reason Seth Allen was voted Sixth Man of the Year is because I didn't start him. So I think, when you -- if you research it deep enough -- and I know you don't have time to do that -- but it's the culmination of all of those stories. So there's a lot of guys that will get on the bus tonight that have an edge to prove that they want to belong. They want to be a part of it.

In their heart, the intent of their heart is pure. They're not trying to do -- Zach's not trying to do 31 and 15 because he's 31 and 15. Zach just doesn't want to go home. I love that. Is it me and why did I come here and all of that? It's demented. It's perfect. It finished last place three years in a row. The president had been there 70 days. The AD had been there 50 days. The whole nation said, what a dumb move. I love it. Let's go, baby.

Q. You were bleeding through your shirt. What is that?
COACH WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's the dumbest thing ever. I went to Nordstrom yesterday and was looking for a maroon tie, and they sold a white shirt that had maroon on it, and I was like, we got to get that.

Q. What's the bleeding from?
COACH WILLIAMS: It was maroon.

Q. It's maroon?

Q. Bleeding through, showing through --
COACH WILLIAMS: No, maroon, as in the color of the shirt.

Q. I get the color.

Q. Buzz, just to follow up on what you said before, what did you think the mentality of the team was in the second half versus the first half?
COACH WILLIAMS: The only way that we can operate playing for one another, playing off two feet, trying to get a second ping touch, play north and south, put pressure on the rim so that they have to play in long closeouts so that we keep them in rotation. We call it point five. So in other words, I pass the ball to Zach. Zach is within 0.5 seconds passing it to Seth. Instead of catching it, holding it, taking empty dribbles, it's the only recipe, particularly over the last seven games without Chris, that's the only way that we've been able to operate.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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