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March 18, 2017

Mike White

Devin Robinson

Justin Leon

Orlando, Florida

Florida - 65, Virginia - 39

Q. Devin, Coach White was saying yesterday that over the season you made the biggest improvement of anyone defensively on the team. What's changed this year and how do you think that helped you this weekend?
DEVIN ROBINSON: My defense changed. I just wanted to play it now. My early years, I didn't really believe in playing defense effectively. But I know if you want to win games and try to win a championship, you have to play defense. If I want to have playing time, I had to play defense.

So I knew I had to step up my intensity, change my technique a little bit, and just work on staying lower and just the little things and just wanting to play.

THE MODERATOR: Coach White, if you would make a statement now and we'll return to questions.

MIKE WHITE: Obviously very happy. Great win for our program, for this team, especially having defeated such a high-level program, a program that we have so much respect for. We have as much respect for as a staff Virginia's program as any program in the country for what they've accomplished since Tony's been there.

It was a terrific win. I'm really proud of these guys. It wasn't one guy individually. It was a collective effort to hold a 23-win ACC team to under 30 percent. These guys really, really guarded to give us a chance. We made some shots, of course. It's a big win for us.

Q. To both Devin and Justin: Of course Virginia, like Coach White said, one of the best defensive teams in the country. You guys got going early and aggressive. What did you guys see that you wanted to pinpoint and attack them while you guys were on offense?
JUSTIN LEON: That's a good question. Really just us moving the ball, not being stagnant, and like I was told to set my screens in space, and I think with us doing that, it helped us on offense a little bit.

DEVIN ROBINSON: I think we just had to get them uncomfortable and play our tempo. We knew if we played at their methodical tempo, it would have been a tough game for us. We just tried to stay aggressive on defense and get in transition as best we can, and that turned to great offense.

Q. Justin, you kind of came alive there in the last three minutes of the first half, and it just sort of picked the entire tempo of the team up. Would you talk about that. Devin, would you follow that up.
JUSTIN LEON: I'm, like, known to give my teammates energy. That's kind of one of my roles. I guess for me to -- it's really something that I'm known to do, and I guess this wasn't really nothing new, like finding something to give my teammates energy. I guess today it was just knocking down a couple of the shots, but most of the time it's just me playing hard, and today it just happened to be me, I guess, getting some threes.

DEVIN ROBINSON: We always give Justin confidence to shoot the ball whenever he's open. We call him "Fifty". It stands for 50 percent, if you know what I'm saying, three-point percentage.

Just kept his confidence up and we kept feeding him the hot hand. He brought the energy on defense, so he deserved to knock down all the shots he did. He got us going, and we kept going and fed off his energy, his passion.

Q. Justin, you had a rough three or four games before this, even the other night, especially offense. I know you're probably doing all the other little things and everything. Did you ever have any lack of confidence in the last couple of weeks?
JUSTIN LEON: I don't necessarily know. I think my shot was just kind of off, like I think I was going back -- I didn't think I had my technique. And Coach White, he watched me shoot in practice, and he told me little things that I could do to fix my form back.

On a side note, I was trying to find something different. I was like maybe if I took off my undershirt, I would probably start making more shots. So I did it and hey.

Q. For either one of the players, the UNC-Wilmington tape, Perrantes totally, totally took over that game in the second half. What did you guys do differently to make things uncomfortable for him the whole night?
JUSTIN LEON: We just had to stay alert where he was at, do a lot of communicating because we know he's bound to take over games. We just had to stay locked in where he was at and just stick the course, stick the game plan.

Q. Devin, second straight game with a hot start, seven points early. Does it feel like your energy brings out the best in your teammates when you start off with a hot hand starting the game?
DEVIN ROBINSON: I think so. It definitely helps everybody get comfortable and things like that. They gain confidence for getting assists, things like that. So I think me getting an early start, it gets everybody going, and I'm not a selfish guy. So I'm fired up, and I'm giving my teammates the ball. When we're all sharing the ball, it's going to be a positive outcome.

Q. Justin, two nights ago you weren't introduced when they were doing the introductions.

Q. I'm just wondering if that inspired you in any way. And secondly, your T-shirt, do you take it off for this game?
JUSTIN LEON: I took it off for this game. But I mean, yeah, I realize I wasn't introduced. I just went to the scorer's tables and told them a joke, and I was like, "Where am I at?" I was just joking. It didn't really matter to me but --

Q. This one's for Devin and Justin: Just a couple hours before the game, Villanova lost. Did that hype you up knowing that you didn't have to face the Number 1 seed if you won this one?
MIKE WHITE: Be very careful with that.

DEVIN ROBINSON: I watched the game, but I wasn't worrying about any other team but trying to come out here and win the game. So I mean, it doesn't matter who we play. Just going to play our basketball, Florida basketball basically.

JUSTIN LEON: Just kind of like what Devin said. I watched the game as well, but really I think we were all just focused on tonight's game, our own game, and just trying to get a win for us and not really concerned about other games.

THE MODERATOR: Justin and Devin, thank you very much. We'll take questions for Coach White.

Q. Mike, your level of pride in this team right now and the way they played these last two games, especially as you documented before the other game, "We got to have a win." At the end of the regular season and the SEC tournament didn't end so well. Is there one or two things that caused this turnaround real quick? Just talk about how proud you are of these guys right now.
MIKE WHITE: I'm really proud. I guess I'll get that out of the way. It's a group I've been proud of all year. I mean, this group, we might miss some shots. We might mess up some execution. We might have a lack of communication or an error in following the scouting report from time to time or what have you, but this group plays really hard. They play for each other. They play the right way.

I think anyone that would have watched us play tonight would recognize how hard my guys play defensively. They're bought into it. They're about the right stuff, whether they get 2 points or 12 points. They're going to continue to guard.

Yeah, it was very tough. Going into the postseason, we were in a tough place, and we played really hard in those two Vandy losses, and obviously, they're an NCAA Tournament team, and we had chances at the end of both of them.

You take a hit a little bit, obviously, with your momentum, despite what Kasey said, and your confidence to a certain extent. I thought we gained a little bit of confidence there the way we started the other night. We played just as hard tonight. We defended probably a little bit better, made just a couple less mistakes defensively as we did those last couple games, those last couple losses we had, but we made shots. Sometimes that's what it comes down to in this game.

If Devin and Justin don't step up and hit the shots that they hit, this would have been a war until the end.

Q. Mike, same question as earlier that I asked the players about Perrantes: What did you feel like you had to do to keep him from really going off?
MIKE WHITE: They didn't give a couple guys credit that deserve all of the credit, and that's Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza. Those two guys have been a terrific job all year utilizing their speed and quickness and toughness. Again, those guys, you've heard me say it a lot here recently, those guys have become tough-nosed defenders. They take pride in it now, and at times we can even alternate them on really good players that are anywhere from, heck, 5'8" to 6'3", 6'4", depending on the matchup.

Despite their size, with their speed and quickness and toughness, it allows them some versatility in guarding guys off of the ball. Virginia does a terrific job with ball screens for London, but also setting a ton of screens off of the ball for him as well. They have played that role for us all year defending high-level guards coming off a million screens in SEC play, and they've always stepped up to the challenge.

Q. 17 points in the first half, 39 overall, 29 percent shooting, is that as close to perfection, defensive perfection, as you can actually hope for?
MIKE WHITE: Yeah, in Virginia's defense, they missed a few open ones. They did. We got a couple bounces our way. That's part of it. They didn't make us pay for a few mistakes that we made, but we reduced the amount of mistakes, in my opinion, as well.

Yeah, that's about as well as we've played defensively. We put a lot of it together tonight. I'm really proud of the defensive effort, the focus, the lock-in. Especially when we got up, I don't know, say, 16, we didn't have a drop-off, and we've had that four or five times this year. We didn't have it tonight.

Q. Mike, can you just talk about Justin. I mean, obviously, he's been kind of a roller coaster scoring-wise all year, but defensively, the effort's always been there. Just what he's meant to this team and then to have a big night like that.
MIKE WHITE: One of my assistants -- he made a mistake during the game, Justin did. I said, "What is he doing?" I think it was Darius said, "Coach, two years ago he was trying to get to the Junior College National Championship. He's trying to get to Hutch. Give him a break." Obviously, we were playing with a lead there, and it was lighthearted.

It's amazing how far the guy's come. It's amazing. He gets the double-double and goes 3-of-6 from three. But this was his best defensive effort as well. I can't remember one glaring mistake that he made. I can't remember him getting straight line driven. I can't remember him missing a blockout. He was really sound. And midseason he was being yanked in and out a little bit for -- he was rebounding and making shots, actually, at a higher clip, but he wasn't defending like he is right now. So tonight was his best game as a Gator.

Q. Did you anticipate the length differential being substantial? Because I think a lot of that had to do with maybe that 21-0 run when you guys got out.
MIKE WHITE: Yeah, I thought we were longer at some positions, but they're really, really long as well. I mean, Diakite, if that's how you pronounce it, Mamadi, he's a terrific talent. He's so long. And Jack Salt, they started both those guys who are both longer, at the four, five. And they've got some length too at the wings.

I think people can kind of get it confused. Devin makes us all look a little bit longer. He's incredibly long, and he got his hands on a lot of basketballs. He was terrific again tonight as he was in the first round.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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