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March 13, 2019

Jim LarraƱaga

Dejan Vasiljevic

New York, New York

Virginia Tech - 71, Miami - 56

JIM LARRAƑAGA: I thought Virginia Tech got off to a great start right out of the blocks. They jumped on us, had an 11-0 lead. It took us to while to get started, and at halftime we had dug ourselves a huge hole. I thought to start the second half we were much more poised and focused on executing our game plan and did a really good job, cut the lead to seven, and actually had a wide-open three that would have cut their lead to four, and had that happened, I think that could have made the difference. But right after that, it went from seven up to 14 again and kind of took the air out of our balloon.

Q. Jim, did what made them trouble to guard in the first two meetings this year, similar situation to today?
JIM LARRAƑAGA: Yeah, they do the same things. They don't change from game to game, they move the ball extremely fast to basically four guards on the perimeter and a big guy who can really handle. All five guys shoot the three. They spread you out. Their touches, where it's in your hand and out of your hand without dribbling, gives them a chance to get open shots. The defense can't move as fast as the ball can.

When they're making their shots, they're going to score a lot of points.

Q. You talked about their three-point shooting going into this one. In that 11-0 spurt that started the game, did you guys lose track of Outlaw, or what did you see on those three early makes that he had?
JIM LARRAƑAGA: He's really good, and they're really good at finding him. So the problem occurs in basketball when somebody has to help you. If you can just guard your own man, then Outlaw is not open, but when someone is getting beat because Alexander Walker is so good at putting pressure on you or Blackshear is so good at putting pressure on you that you have to help on them, then they just find the open man. Outlaw doesn't dribble. Did he take a dribble today? I don't think so. But that's -- whether it's Hill or Outlaw, their game is catch and shoot, and they're really, really good at it, and Walker and Blackshear and Bede are really good at creating situations where you have to help or the guy is just going to go by you and shoot a lay-up. When you do help, you're too late recovering to them.

Q. Jim, I know we see it all the time, Chris Lykes' contribution, but could you speak to that today, and how is he doing after that spill he took?
JIM LARRAƑAGA: Yeah, he ends up -- he's getting his ankle X-rayed, hoping it's not bad, but I'm not optimistic. He went down really, really hard.

Q. What takeaways do you take from this season? Obviously not the way you wanted to finish, but obviously some building blocks and young players for the future. How do you look at your program moving forward?
JIM LARRAƑAGA: Well, first of all, it was very, very challenging to really have only seven scholarship players available to us, and was very hard to prepare and practice properly because even amongst those seven players, they were dealing with injuries. Ebuka Izundu's back, D.J.'s back, Zach Johnson didn't play in the second half because of a knee injury that happened yesterday. But he's been dealing with that knee situation since he arrived at Miami in the summertime.

He actually sat out an entire month trying to rehab that knee so he could actually play during the season, and he's been in the training room for hours every day so that he can show up and play. And then just before the Carolina game, he sprained the ankle.

When you have so many physical issues that you're dealing with, there's very little preparation. Most of it's mental. A lot of it's just like a walk-through. And then those guys have to play 35 minutes or more. You look at Chris Lykes played 31 minutes, D.J. played all 40, Anthony Lawrence 38. I mean, that's game after game after game, and it's just very, very challenging.

But as far as the future is concerned, we've got a good group coming back. We have two good recruits coming in, and we're still very actively involved in recruiting several players.

Coming into this year, we were picked 10th, finished tied for 11th, but I thought we could have finished in the top five before the season started. I really was very optimistic.

But when we lost all those guys, when we lost those four kids, it was near impossible.

Q. Jim, that's fewer points than you've scored in either of the regular season meetings against Tech. Were they doing things better or differently today?
JIM LARRAƑAGA: That was the fewest number of points they scored, too. They only scored 71, the last time they had 82 and 84. So we went zone. Now, if you watched us during the season, in the last probably eight games, we didn't play a single possession of zone. But the way they started the game, we ended up with guys in foul trouble. We went to the zone trying to slow them down. It actually slowed the whole game down so there was probably fewer possessions today.

Q. D.J., can you just speak to the challenge their perimeter shooters presented and what you guys learned in past games that you tried to apply today?
DEJAN VASILJEVIC: I mean, they played with four guards pretty much, and even Blackshear can shoot the three, so they spread it out pretty well and they share the ball and makes it tough for us, but as Coach said, once we went to the zone we slowed the game down and they're a great team, full credit to them and we've just got to finish the season now and look forward to next season.

Q. D.J., I think you guys shot 33 percent today. Did their defense do certain things to make it a tough shooting day for you?
DEJAN VASILJEVIC: I mean, yeah, if we shoot 33 percent, that affects -- their defense it had an effect on us, but we've gone through so much adversity this season, guys are tired, some of my open shots weren't going in, just not getting my legs under it. But full credit to Virginia Tech; they came out and played hard.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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