Jan. 8, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. -
Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright
"This was a good win and much needed for us. I'm very proud of these two, especially these guys [Dominic Cheek and Maalik Wayns] and Mouph [Mouphtaou Yarou]. We have just been trying to teach these guys how to be leaders. I said to them the other night, if we had seen this you wouldn't have to do this, but I said, I'm asking you to act like your 22 and lead like you have been playing for four years. They just did a great job tonight. DePaul is a tough team and they keep coming at you, so I'm proud of our effort."
Q: Does this win today boost confidence within the locker room?
"It definitely helps. I'm sorry that I'm going to keep saying it to you. We just want to keep getting better. The thing about the South Florida game for us is that we were getting better and we took a step back. We had to do it to get some things straight within our family and it was worth it today, but we knew maybe we knocked ourselves too far back that we couldn't respond today. It was possible, but we were going to try to keep getting better. This definitely makes us feel better, but we would have been okay. We are getting better and with these guys leading us we will be okay."
Q: Can you talk about the phonetic pace of the game and turning the ball over 28 times?
"That is them. I give them a lot of credit. They were 17 and 14 and are used to playing that way. They are good playing that way. We don't really have our style yet. We are just trying to get our group together, but we don't mind playing that way. It was good for us that a lot of our guys made great plays in the open floor. That was a good challenge for us and it kind of forced us to play basketball and not run cuts because they don't let you. I give them credit for that."
Q: You said that you need to get things situated within the family. Is there anything in particular?
"This is simple. We are asking Maalik [Wayns], Mouph [Mouphtaou Yarou] and Chico [Dominic Cheek] to act everyday as if they were a senior like we always had with our seniors. We tell them it is hard and you're not ready for it yet, but we are going to teach you fast. That was the issue with South Florida. They didn't do anything. We had a film session. I said we needed to do some things in practice and they didn't do how I wanted them to do it as leaders. Being a leader is a lot of responsibility. It is a privilege and we made that point. These guys did a great job defensively and getting the team playing that way too. It was good for us. We really rebounded well."
Villanova Guard Maalik Wayns
Q: Can you tell us what was going through your head the last 48 hours just from the past game and then getting ready for this game.
"Just the same way that I do every game and just trying to get better. I think it was those two great practices. The guys were feeling good about themselves coming into this game and we got it done tonight."
Q: We heard your coach say that this is a team that is still searching for their identity. How did that make you feel in terms of just trying to get better and establish something without having a senior guy?
"It just takes some time. It is starting to come around for us. We have young guys that are starting to find themselves and guys that are trying to do things that they have never done before. It is a new role for everybody, but everyone is adjusting well and we are going to keep getting better."
Q: How big of a step is it to get on the right track and get a win today?
"They just beat Pitt [Pittsburgh]. That is a good team. To come in here and play the way we did today, not to just get the win, but to just play the way we did proves that we can play defense like that. It is great psyche for our team." Q: Are you taking the Syracuse game any differently than another Big East team?
"It is the same as playing South Florida, DePaul, or West Virginia. I just come into the next game as if it's the next biggest game. Our next game is our biggest game, so I don't pay much attention to that they are number one."
Villanova Guard Dominic Cheek
Q: Was it apart of the game plan to take it to the rim rather than shooting from the perimeter?
"Most of the game they were pressing us. We were just breaking the press most of the game and taking it up for layups. If my shot isn't falling than I got to continue to take them, but we just tried to drive to the basket and make plays."
Q: Was the press something that you guys worked on in practice?
"Yeah I think those two practices helped us a lot because we knew DePaul was going to press us. We just tried to take it step by step and it helped us a lot."
DePaul Head Coach Oliver Purnell
"I'm not sure quite where to start, I guess 10-0. I don't know what put us in the hole that we dug ourselves into. It just seemed like we were in that hole all night and trying to get out of it. We were about to get out of it and then we kind of shot ourselves in the foot with an untimely turnover, bad shot, and missed free throws. I give Villanova credit. I don't think they felt like they played great either, but they hung in there and made free throws and got some stick backs. It was enough to keep us at bay and they were just trying to survive. They survived today and got the win. It was important for them and we didn't get the win. We continue on the road and we have to play better than that on the road in order to win in this league, but the key to this league is how you bounce back. Everybody is going to get knocked down and go through a tough stretch. That is what our young team has got to embrace right now and learn from this game. We didn't play great and didn't do certain things well, but now it's all about bouncing back and giving ourselves an opportunity to win on the road on Tuesday."