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March 15, 2018
Alabama - 86, Virginia Tech - 83
Q. Guys, obviously, Alabama shot the ball well today. What made them so tough to defend. Petty got a couples threes and Sexton got them going there in the second laugh?
DEVIN WILSON: They got a couple open looks whether slipping or bad communication. They got a lot of looks, and down the stretch got open shots. That probably changed the game a little bit when they were making shots. Makes us kind of react to them. Hat's off to them, they played really well tonight.
Q. Devin, not the way you wanted to end it, but what was it like to end it in your home town, Pittsburgh?
DEVIN WILSON: Bad. You never want to take a loss no matter where you're at in the country. It definitely doesn't feel good, but, you know, the body of work that we've accomplished since we've been here, you can kind of hold your head high to that and kind of focus on that. Other than that, it's not the best feeling in the world.
Q. Justin, you guys were really shooting lights out from three-point range in the first half. What kind of defensive adjustments did Alabama do making the threes fall harder for you guys in the second half?
JUSTIN BIBBS: Um --
DEVIN WILSON: I thought we started to attack a lot more and try to get to the rim. We got 16 fouls in the first four or five minutes, so we were really trying to make an impact and get to the rim and try to get to the foul line, which I thought we did a good job of. We weren't settling for threes as we did in the first half.
Q. Guys, it looked like you had cut it to two, they called the foul on Justin. How tough is it to bounce back from a call like that, situation like this, down the stretch.
DEVIN WILSON: You talking about the charge they called?
I thought we did a good job bouncing back. They hit a lot of free throws down the stretch, obviously that kind of hypes the game for them. So, like I said, hat's off to them. They played well and pulled the game off. They had a bunch of shots, had a three from Petty and number 2 hit a side step, kind of shot at the end, too. They finished the game off well.
From the call, you can't control that, you have to kind of play through it.
Q. Justin, you guys have not given up more than 75 points since that Miami loss, that infamous Miami loss. Did the defense feel different tonight? Did the way you guys played -- the way you guys defended feel any different than the way it had down the stretch when you guys have really done a good job holding people down?
JUSTIN BIBBS: Yeah, you can say that. Early on, we were doing a lot of mental mistakes that we could have controlled, penetrated in too deep. Got too many lay-ups, and I just credit them how good on offense they are.
Q. Guy, I know leaving with another NCAA Tournament loss is tough, but can you kind of leave the program with your heads held high, kind of think you kind of built something pretty good over the course of your four and five years here? You come out with obviously a tough loss, but do you feel like you're leaving the program in good shape how you helped build this?
DEVIN WILSON: That's something you don't think about right now, maybe a couple weeks down the road, you can look back at that, maybe even years, you kind of come back to see guys that are here. As of right now, you're upset that we lost, and that's kind of all that's really on the mindset right now. But I can see where you're coming from with that question, though.
Q. Buzz, you get the technical after Robinson's foul. Really frustrating moment, obviously. Do you feel like that kind of changed the tone down the stretch, and do you regret that or --
COACH WILLIAMS: I shouldn't have had the towel in my hand, I think that made it look worse. I thought it was a block. John Cal, who I've known forever was at the game. He told me later that it was the charge. So, he said it was the right call.
Q. After playing much improved defense over the last ten games or so, did it feel disappointing to maybe go back to your earlier season form tonight defensively and what was the cause of that?
COACH WILLIAMS: The principles were the same. I thought too oftentimes our first line of defense on the help side didn't do their job, and now the ball's going downhill to our second line. And we're in rotation too often. And it's such a delicate balance, particularly when they have guys on the weak side that can shoot, right?
If the ball's going east and west, you want to hold your gap, but when the ball turns north and south, you got to stop the ball. And so I thought for the most part, when it went north and south in the first half, we handled it pretty well. In the second half, it just turned downhill too much. And I think that our ball screen coverage got a little discombobulated.
They were setting one ball screen, sometimes a double ball screen, and we just played out of rotation too much. They're obviously very talented offensively. I thought we played -- I mean, I thought we played pretty well offensively. Our OER was 1.2, which is the best it's been in a long time. Maybe a little bit too high of a turnover rate for us.
I thought we did a good job of creating turnovers, scoring off those turnovers, but it just went north and south too often through the first line of our help.
Q. Petty's 6 for 8 from three, what made him such a handful out there?
COACH WILLIAMS: He's so long, and can really, really shoot. Obviously he's a high-level specialist as a shooter. And just to kind of go on top of what I was just saying, you know, when that ball starts turning downhill, you've got to stop it. And then when we do stop it, it's pitched out to him, and we're, at that moment in time, not necessarily in rotation, but too oftentimes it went through the first line. And now our second line's having to help and now they're kicking it out to him.
Q. Coach, I know Devin said it's too painful to think about, him playing his last game in his home town. Can you talk about the contributions he made, especially tonight took a couple charges for you, stuff that doesn't always show up in the stat sheet but seems like he makes big contributions anyway?
COACH WILLIAMS: That's for sure. How I could describe Devin. I agree with Berman. I think Bibbs does a lot that doesn't show up in the stat sheet of the -- although he probably shows up in the stat sheet more than Devin. This is only my 11th time ending the season as a head coach, and no matter what happens, it's always difficult.
And I do agree with what Devin said, it's hard to answer these questions amidst all of the emotion, but the journey that those two guys have been on, I don't know that I'll ever be able to repay them as far as how hard they've worked and how they've represented our program, on and off the floor.
We'll miss those guys, not just in the stat sheet. We'll miss their character. We'll miss their spirit. We'll miss their work ethic. We'll miss their leadership. I thought it was fitting, after all that Devin had been through -- whoever that guy was that asked the questions yesterday that wrote the article on Devin. If you're here, thanks for doing that. He finished in last place as a freshman, he finished in last place as a sophomore, and then to be able to play in the NCAA Tournament, in essence, at his home, I think that's really cool.
Q. Buzz, I know you're big on having us wait until the end of the season, so you can make a full evaluation on what's -- dealing incrementally and stuff like that. Now that you've got the finished product in front of you. You're one point late in the season, you're the only team in the country with four wins against top 10 RPI winning teams. You got the winning record on the record for the first time in the ACC and another early exit from the NCAA Tournament. Where are you now as a whole?
COACH WILLIAMS: Give me a miss of all of those things that you just mentioned, and I've read all of those things to our kids on Sunday when we practiced before the Selection Show. Because you go so fast, and because it's always on to the next thing, I didn't even know all of those things. I knew the things that you just mentioned.
But so, so thankful for all of those guys. So thankful for their parents, incredibly grateful for our staff. I think there's been multiple times throughout the year. Like any team, but I think there's been multiple times that we could have went the other direction. And it's a testament to the fiber of who they are, that every time it started going south, they would turn it back around.
And like we've talked about multiple times, for those of you that cover us since the Miami game, the change that's occurred, has just been -- not only changed our team to allow us to be on that large pick, but I think it's changed our program, and it's hard, Norm, for me at -- now to kind of separate this season from the entire tenure.
And -- specifically with these two guys sitting next to me, because they've been through all of it. But I for sure think we're trending in the right direction, and I would not have anticipated that the first time that I talked to you, whenever that would have been, that over the course of the last three years, we would have won ten games in the ACC. And you know, upon arrival, I didn't know all of the history. I knew bits and pieces of it. But with you, I think what we're doing, and how we're doing it is right, and I think that we got a lot of people inside and outside the program that are pulling in the same direction, and in this day and age, that's really hard. And so I'm very humbled by all of that and very thankful for it.
Q. To follow up on that. You made a big step last year making the NCAA for the first time since 2007. You make another step this year going back-to-back years in the NCAAs for the first time since the 1980s. How hard is that next step actually winning the game in the NCAA especially when you keep getting in these 8-9 games?
COACH WILLIAMS: You're right, Berman. I looked this up yesterday, I think. And they hired us, we were 244, after year one, we were 221, after year two, we were 80. After year three on the seed line, we were 36. And then on the seed line this year, we were 31. And I didn't tell that to our kids because they wouldn't necessarily understand that.
But when we were -- when I did mention that, we were kind of clipping up some stuff we were going to show our guys in the conference room, and the trajectory has been very steep. And obviously, the higher you get, the maneuverability becomes more difficult. And that is the next step that we have to take.
As I was just saying to Norm, obviously getting here is incredibly hard and we're very thankful for that and we are striving to continue to get better. I think the maneuverability in our league is really difficult, too. And obviously, I think that's great prep for this. But the higher you go, the altitude changes. It's harder to breathe.
And so we need to continue to get reps at that, and I wish -- I thought tonight was a great -- a great game, and just didn't come out on the end we wanted to.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports