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March 16, 2012

Tony Bennett

Mike Scott

Sammy Zeglinski


Florida – 71
Virginia – 45

THE MODERATOR:  Mike Scott and Sammy Zeglinski represent the student athletes, head Coach Tony Bennett is here as well, statement by Coach.
COACH BENNETT:  Certainly we were thoroughly outplayed.  I told our guys I felt like we were better than we showed, but certainly I give the credit to Florida.  They were the aggressor, they got the ball either in the paint or to the paint and we didn't have an answer so I was frustrated especially for these guys, for Mike and Sammy to have the opportunity to get here.  I think in time the sting will go away and they will be thankful for this opportunity but you saw a team that really took it to us and we did not have an answer.

Q.  What's going through your minds when you come out of the game for the final time with a minute 30 left or whatever?
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  Just a lot of memories.  I've been a part of Virginia for the past five years, some good memories, some bad memories.
I was fortunate to have a chance to play for Coach Bennett and serve this team and it was tough to end this way but I liked what I was a part of.
MIKE SCOTT:  Just like Sammy said, the memories definitely came to my mind, playing with Coach, how we all have grown.
I just kept thinking, I hedged on a lot of ball screens, I could have done better on ball screens.

Q.  Mike, can you talk about Casey Prather who is a guy who hadn't done a lot for Florida this year and why was he so effective this year?
MIKE SCOTT:  He was very active and he's 6‑4 but he's athletic, plays with a lot of energy and just like him and his other teammates, he took it to us, offensive rebound and go in shots, then getting rebounds.

Q.  Sammy, we heard about Florida's 3‑point shooting, seems like you guys held their 3‑point shooting in check, were you surprised at their ability to attack the basket?
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  No, we weren't surprised.  We did a good job defending the 3‑pointer, but way too many drives to the basket and we didn't do enough of a good job on ball screens.

Q.  Sammy, you know you got some good looks there, what were you feeling with your shot?  Did you feel like‑‑ both teams struggled from the three‑point line, why do you think that was?
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  I don't know, both teams got some good looks and both teams shot poorly from the 3‑point line, I don't know why, I got some good shots, good rhythm shots, they just didn't go down for me.

Q.  This is for Mike.  You guys got off to a 10‑2 lead, what did you think about the early play and also the way it turned around so quickly?
MIKE SCOTT:  I just thought we came out with a lot of energy, executed on defense, got what we wanted on offense but they made their run and they just came out in the second half very strong.

Q.  How much do you think the depth was an issue today, it seemed like Florida was throwing players in there and just had more depth.
MIKE SCOTT:  I didn't think it had anything to do with us.  We have been playing with seven players for the whole year, we have been playing against Duke, Carolina and Florida State, so that wasn't an issue.
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  It allowed them to full‑court press during the game, they sped us up during the first half, we had careless turnovers, but for the most part I thought we handled it pretty well but their depth allowed them to play at a faster pace.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else?  Thank you gentlemen for your time.  Questions for Coach Tony Bennett?

Q.  Tony, it seemed like a little bit of everything happened this year from start to finish.  Have you ever gone through a year like this as a coach and when you have time to reflect how do you think you will look back on this team and this season.
COACH BENNETT:  A lot did happen and I haven't been part of quite something like this just with the numbers.  The way this ended was hard, we will learn from it but I do think in time, I appreciate what Sammy and Mike stood for, what they contributed to the game, there is no greater thing for a coach to see the young men, the light go on for them, have them reach a goal as far as getting to the tournament, now, we wanted to go further, but it was a privilege to be part of that for them.
They have been through a lot, I told them the stage is set if you can do something special at the end of the year in this tournament with the numbers you have that will even be more rewarding and I hope at some point this thing goes away and I hope they will remember they were part of an important season, getting back to the tournament, which has been too infrequent but it was a challenge.
This last game, unfortunately, the way it ended‑‑ the first 10 minutes was sound and then they went on a 17‑4 run and their offensive put‑backs and we got sped up and made poor decisions and that hurt us and certainly the ability not to make outside shots has been an achilles heel for us all year and they took it out of Mike's hands with the trap in the second half.

Q.  It seemed as if Florida did a lot of substituting early, they hadn't been playing a lot of guys in a lot of minutes in that SEC tournament, but they had two guys playing 20 minutes off the bench, the rest 10, do you think they were trying to capitalize‑‑?
COACH BENNETT:  Perhaps.  Our bench is very inexperienced, and they looked as the game wore on certainly a step quicker and faster and they're athletic and their perimeters are very good off the dribble and you could feel their quickness but I think their energy level stayed at a high level and I think we probably wore down and it really showed up defensively as much as offensively where they were‑‑ that's the most I've seen the ball touch the paint against our defense, whether it's just a post feed, ball screen defense or just guys beating us off the dribble and we didn't have an answer and that was frustrating because that's something we have established and has been good for us all year.
That's the one thing we have had and that was not present and when that is not present the separation occurs and we didn't have enough to reel it back in.

Q.  Tony, did you have much film or information on Casey Prather and did you have an idea he could do this?
COACH BENNETT:  He is very athletic, as Mike mentioned and they played him at the four and you knew he was a heck of an athletic from the 3‑point range and the free‑throw line, his threat is more slashing on the glass and they play him a little bit as a four when they suffered their injury so he's a match‑up problem and at times when they went with four guards and either Young or Murphy or whoever, that caused problems because he was getting off the glass and he was quick off the dribble and our four guard lineup probably isn't the same as it was before so definitely remember him out of high school and how talented he was.  He gave them a great lift and when you look at someone off the bench or to give you a spark maybe‑‑ I don't want to say that you weren't counting on but that is a pleasant surprise and he was that for them.

Q.  Tony, wondering, did you guys defend the three well or did they just miss?  If you would have looked at the stat sheet after the game, 4 for 23, would you have thought there would have been different results?
COACH BENNETT:  We said our keys were to handle the pressure first of all, which first half‑‑ again, we had easy passes and there were unforced errors.  Stop 'em in transition and then play good ball screen defense.
I don't think we did a good job on ball screen defense but guarding their three's, early I thought we were on top of all their three's, I thought as we wore down and the game moved on they just missed, they were penetrate and go we were on a Yo-Yo, and I almost think, and you can ask Billy that they just thought they were going to attack them and get to the paint and go at us.  That exposed us.

Q.  Talk about Mike's game today, 15 and 6, looked as if he got in some foul trouble, did you have trouble getting him the ball, what were your thoughts on his play?
COACH BENNETT:  The one thing we couldn't afford was foul trouble he missed some shots he usually makes early, and then when we got him in the second half, they trapped him and he got great looks and that's where you have to capitalize.  Mike did some good things and it wasn't one of his or any of our players' good defensive outing and it needed to be both sides of the ball today, both ends of the floor.
So I think he really was a marked man and I thought he did a good job when they came at him and he kicked it out but we broke down too many times to have a chance on this one.  But he's carried us all year, Doug, you know that, you've seen that and he's had a terrific year and there wasn't a lot of help for him, but I think he will remember this senior year as a special one, as I will.  Off and on, I know you haven't said anything about it publically but do you think at all what the team might have done, what it might have looked like if you had the same group of players in Marchthat you did on January1st?
COACH BENNETT:  We were a different team, definitely a different team and we were certainly playing good ball but that's part of it.  A lot of these teams are‑‑ Florida is without one of their key players, their “Glue” guy, and that's why I was very excited and impressed that our guys could stick it stay together and stick it out and fight to get into this tournament and the hope was that they could be competitive and have a chance.
That was frustrating but, yeah, that's part of it and we were a different team certainly in the start of conference than at the end but they played well enough to earn a bid in this tournament and we got it another step.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Tony.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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