Soundbites: 2022 ACC Tournament Championship Game vs. Duke

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Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Youngguards hunter cat and Storm Murphy and forward Keve Aluma meets the media following the Hokies’ 82-67 win over top-seeded Clemson in the 2022 ACC Tournament Championship Game. Read some of what they had to say:

MIKE YOUNG

(On what worked for the Hokies against Duke) We played basketball well. We don’t click defensively. My point at half time was that if you think we can beat them, unfortunately you are wrong. We were much better. I don’t think they shoot the ball very well right now. They’re averaging 5.5 1/2 makes three per game, so we really wanted to cut it in the second half. I couldn’t convince them of that during the first half media timeouts where they only did two, but we had some bad closeouts with some guys we didn’t think were going make this particular shot tonight. Now it looked like a video game through early media. I think it was 15-14. We couldn’t stop them, they couldn’t stop us. But a much better second half. We’re down to earth defensively, but we’ve continued to play good basketball on the offensive side of the court.

(On what it means to win an ACC title at Virginia Tech) I mean, it’s really something special for our basketball team. It’s a special thing for Blacksburg; for southwestern Virginia where I come from, where I grew up; for the state of Virginia; for our amazing Hokie fan base. They will always remember this, this team and what they achieved. I’ll tell you something else: Hell, I don’t look at tipsters, parentheses. I think we will get to the ACC Finals, maybe we will lose this game. Holy cow, we have to be in the tournament, don’t we? We are now, so to hell with this stuff. Our name will be called tomorrow and we will be excited wherever we go.

HUNTING HUNTER

(On what made him successful tonight) I just think about the pace of the game, my teammates and Coach Young trusting me, just the system we play in. I was going through a tough shooting slump and every practice, every time in games, my teammates were saying Me, I’m the best shooter in the gym. So just having that mindset and that confidence from my players, it’s welcoming to hear that.

(On what it means to win an ACC title) That means a lot just for the history of Virginia Tech. Coach Young mentioned earlier that we’re not just doing it for our team here in this locker room. We were doing it for all the players before and everyone who came through Virginia Tech before. So that’s a story for Virginia Tech and the program, and it means a lot to be first.

STORM MURPHY

(On what it was like to play alongside hunter cat this evening) Yeah, my God, it’s like sitting on the couch watching TV. There’s just nothing missing. We want him to fire every shot when he’s hot like this. We saw that at Florida State, and yeah, we’re talking to him to keep shooting it. I think the really cool thing about Hunt is that in the last month or whatever, he hasn’t turned out so well, and he’s owned this fight. He talked about it. He embraced that. He did not hide it. So we all came up to him and kept saying, God, you’re the best shooter in the room wherever we go. He believed that and then left today like that.

(On how the team stayed motivated by playing four games in four days) Maybe the nightmares and fitness flashbacks at 5 a.m. with these guys and Coach Jackson maybe. But I think honestly, these mornings, moving forward with that mindset and that mentality kind of helped us. Whenever we felt tired or whatever, that we had to tell ourselves that we didn’t feel it, we had to move on. Maybe it was a bit of a slow defensive start, but I think we took it up a notch, finally woke up and finished well.

KEVE ALUMA

(On what it means to be ACC Tournament Champion) It means everything. I don’t think many people thought we would do this or even end up with a positive record. I mean, that says it all. I think it just shows that this team was resilient and we are fighting.

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