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Villanova/Creighton Postgame Quotes

Jan. 20, 2014

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Head Coach Jay Wright...
Opening statement:
"They were outstanding. We've played a lot of good games and we've had some good games where we haven't been on top of it. We didn't execute well defensively; they executed extremely well offensively. They were just really on top of their game. Getting behind the team like that, the way they moved the ball and with their quickness, was really tough to overcome. You have to give them a lot of credit. [Ethan] Wragge was just incredible, and I thought [Austin] Chatman as well really controls the tempo, and we had great respect for him coming in. As a point guard, he just controls the tempo and gets everybody shots, and then when he needs to make a play, he makes a play."

On Creighton forward Doug McDermott:
"They run their offense through him. That's why I mentioned Chatman, because they put the ball in his hands and let him set screens and let him just read the defense and you're trying to stop him, and he makes great decisions. But Chatman does that, too. They've got two guys that do that. It's rare to get a guy that does that out of the post, which is McDermott, but they've got a guy who does it on the perimeter, and that's Chatman."

On coming out in the second half:
"We felt good. We felt they came out, they hit shots. I thought the first possession of the second half, we got a great stop and didn't rebound it. The second possession, we got a great stop and again didn't rebound it. Right there, I could tell we just weren't ourselves. You've got to try and fight through it, but when they're up by 13 and they've established the shooting like that, you've got to get two stops to get it to nine, get it to eight. Then there's a little bit more game pressure on those 3s."

On takeaways from the game:
"We'll definitely learn from this. It's still early in the season. We're going to learn from whatever - if we won the game, we'd learn. We have to keep getting better. It's really simple. You certainly don't like to do it this way. You can win and learn; you can definitely do that. That's what we wanted to do, but we've got a lot to learn from this game. Sometimes, we've got to say, OK, we've put together a lot of good games in a row. We had an off night tonight, but you have to give most of the credit to Creighton for that."

On Creighton's improved shooting percentage from its loss to Providence:
"I thought Providence did a better job sticking with Wragge, not leaving him. In our press early - we tried our press. That's what we do, and early, they really moved the ball against it. We started pressing and we really didn't get any traps. We were just standing around. When you open the floor up and don't get any traps, a team like that is going to move the ball quickly, and they got open 3s. When you let a team that's a good shooting team get hot, you're in trouble for the night. I thought at Providence, they didn't let them get going from the start. When the game stays tight, all those shots mean a lot more. When you hit nine in a row and you're up 20, the next five 3s - if you miss them, it's not that big of a deal. It's fun to shoot that way.

Junior Guard Darrun Hilliard...
On the game plan around Creighton's 3-point shooting:
"We didn't really count on them missing shots. We just have to continue giving great effort and doing what we do. We knew that coming in, that they were a great 3-point shooting team, and we just had to execute on defense and on offense. We didn't do that to the best of our ability. We didn't count on them missing shots to do what we do."

On stopping Creighton's 3-point shooting:
"We just had to play harder. That's basically what it was. It wasn't anything special. They were hitting shots because we weren't playing as hard as we could. We went on that run and started playing harder and getting back to what we were doing for the whole year. We've just got to get back to work and learn from this."

On if being ranked fourth contributed to the loss:
"We don't really pay attention to any of the rankings or anything we don't focus on. We just focus on each other and what we work on in practice and playing hard together - smart with pride. We don't focus on any of that stuff."

Senior Guard James Bell
On Creighton hitting the first nine shots of the game:
"I don't think it was a blur. They just hit one after another. We didn't get stops and they just kept making shots, and we didn't."

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott...

Opening statement:

"That was one of the more incredible things that I've ever been a part of as a coach, the start of that game and the way Ethan (Wragge) shot the basketball and the way our guys shared the basketball. And probably equally important is the way we defended the first seven or eight minutes, which allowed us to create some separation early. We have tremendous respect for Villanova. There program is about what we're about, playing unselfish basketball, playing with toughness, doing your job and not caring who gets the credit. That's the type of program coach (Jay) Wright has built here and that's what we're trying to do in Omaha and I think we were able to exhibit that tonight."

On how big Jahenns Manigat has been on both sides of the ball:

"He's not unsung in our locker room. We all understand the value he brings to our team. He's our vocal leader, he's our emotional leader and the guy doesn't have a bad day. Defensively, he does a bunch for us but his game has matured so much. I don't know what his assist-to-turnover numbers are now in league play but I think their off the charts (30 something assists to maybe only four or five turnovers) and that's where he's made strides. Two years ago he's a guy that had one turnover for every assist but he's learned how to pass the ball, he's taken better care of it and obviously he knocked down some big shots for us tonight as well."

On what kind of statement the team made tonight:

"We weren't here to make a statement. We were here to try and win a basketball game and keep ourselves in position to compete for a league title. Obviously, that goes through Villanova and we were well aware of that. They've played great basketball throughout the season and we were coming off a loss that stung a little. Providence played very well, took us out what we wanted to do and tonight we were able to get back to how we like to play."

On what's going through your mind when shooting like this:

"Again I was pleased with our defense because we got stops and a lot of those threes by Ethan (Wragge) came in transition. When Doug (McDermott) is sprinting to the rim it puts pressure on the defense. As Ethan said, most centers aren't used to having to chase a guy out to the three point line in transition, most of us, me included when I played, are taught to sprint to that rim as fast as you can and you're trying to find him. So, I was really pleased with the defensive part that allowed us to get out of transition and do what we're able to do on the offensive end."

On Ethan Wragge:

"It was a start like I've never seen before but I can't say I'm surprised because I've seen it in practice. I've seen this kid do this before and I've said to a lot of people I think he's as good as a shooter as there is in the country. Now I think people may believe me."

On how important it was to regain momentum early in the second half:

"I really felt like Villanova took the momentum the last four or five minutes of the first half. So, our stress to the guys at halftime was, hey they're going to come out hungry, they're going to come out focused. We need to have good possessions on the offensive end and we've got to play without fouling and giving up second chance points on the defensive end. The first possession couldn't have gone any better. I think Ethan missed a wide open three, we got the offensive rebound and Jahenns hit a layup as the shot clock was expiring. So, we took a minute and were able to take the lead from 13 to 15, which can be a little bit deflating to a defense, after you play good defense for a minute and give up two points. That was a big possession, but they only scored on two out of 12 possessions to start the second half and Providence the other night scored on eight out of nine to start the second half and really took control of the game. So, we've talked a lot the last couple of days about what are focus needs to be to start the game and the second half."

Senior forward Ethan Wragge...

On his performance against Providence impacting tonight:

"Shooting at Providence wasn't my best game this year so I just try not to think about it too much and got a couple extra shots up yesterday at shoot around and today. You can't think about it too much or can't overthink it or you just going to dig yourself in a hole. Just go out there and let it fly."   

On Villanova's ranking being extra motivation:

"Yeah this was a big opportunity for our team and we did not want to go 0-2 on this road trip. We wanted to compete for the first place spot in this league so it was a huge opportunity for our team and we had to step up to the moment."

On Creighton's defensive rebounding:

"Providence really kicked our butt on the boards. So, we really made it a point to not let that happen again. We just tried to fight, crawl and scratch to make sure we don't give up those kinds of points on offensive rebounds and just really lock in and focus on what we wanted to do defensively."

On regrouping at halftime:

"Villanova did a good job of coming back and cutting the lead down and we decided in the second half, let's go out and take it to them. They're going to come out hungry, they're going to come out pressing hard so we just wanted to go out there and throw the first punch. I thought Jahenns (Manigat) did a great job and Doug (McDermott) the second half knocking down some shots and kind of getting us back and going."

On what it felt like to shoot like that in the first half:

"I think our first offensive play of the game I got a pretty good wide open look and I felt really good coming off. My teammates do an unbelievable job of once I get one; they know I'm hunting for two and three. It's a hard feeling to describe once you get one, you kind of just let it fly, don't think about it and you have to shoot it to make so you just let it go."