Feb. 3, 2014
Villanova head coach Jay Wright...
“(It was a) very good win for us against a very good team. We are well aware that we are going to have to go back there (to Xavier) and play them. They’re good. I don’t think the score is indicative of the matchup of those two teams. We got hot at the end when they had to open the floor to try and trap a little bit and we got open threes. A good win for us against a very good team and I think it was one of our best defensive efforts this year.”
On taking over in the second half:
“Juniors and seniors are so nice to have in college basketball. Guys that are really mature, have seen it all, been there (through) the ups and downs. Nothing bothers them (upperclassmen) and they know what we need, they come out and do it. It’s very simple. We had a really simple, short half-time talk with no yelling or anything. Just said, “hey we know what we got to do and these two (James Bell and Darrun Hilliard) take care of it and it’s nice to have guys like this on the team.”
On what 20 wins means for the team:
“It’s not a big one. It’s nice but it’s not one we talk about (goal of 20 wins). We talk about BIG 5, BIG EAST, the tournaments we play in, we talk about regular season, post-season BIG EAST but I don’t know. We could throw that one in there (20 wins), it’s good. We still got eight games left to play.”
On winning 20 of the team’s first 22 games:
“That’s great. We got a good team, we really do. We just got to keep getting better and we are going to play a lot of good teams. You watch Georgetown play Michigan St. and they’re getting better. Providence is getting better. Everybody is getting better in this league and if you stop getting better all of a sudden you are not one of the best teams. So, that’s our challenge going forward and we can learn a lot from this one. We could still get better.”
On James Bell serving as the catalyst of the team:
“Yeah I think he’s right. It means a lot coming from (Temple coach) Fran Dunphy and I think a smart basketball person sees that. James Bell is much more than his 27 points, eight rebounds. That sounds kind of corny but he is. James is the only guy that has been in the program for four years. Tony Chennault does a great job with leadership; he’s only been here for two years. Tahj has been through it all. He takes responsibility for everybody on and off the court. Our guys know it. There are times I can just get at him and don’t have to go crazy on anybody else and I just go at him and he gets it done with the team. When you are a special team, you have special leaders like that and that’s really what he is.”
On Bell being the leader:
“He (James Bell) is the leader. Then you got Tony (Chennault) who is a senior and then Darrun (Hilliard) and JayVaughn (Pinkston) who have been with the program for three years. You’ve got four guys out there at all times that have been there. We’ve got some veteran, mature guys out there and it really helps in college basketball.”
On the level of James Bell’s play:
“When we recruited him he was a big-time recruit. We didn’t recruit him, he came to us. Right there you can see he knew what Villanova was about. We didn’t have to tell him, his mom and uncle who lives here knew. So he was a big-time recruit, he just got hurt his junior and senior year in high school and didn’t play half the year. He also got hurt his freshman year here, so everybody kind of forgot about him. We knew what we had and always thought if we can get him healthy, we’ve got great character and talent.”
Senior forward James Bell…
On being the leader and what it means:
“I’ve been here four years and seen a lot. I’ve got the coaching staffs confidence and it just allows me to display that (leadership) to the team. They look at me as an older brother and I take that role. Everything is pretty much on me, good or bad, and I think they respect me for it which makes us a better team.”
On his experience helping him lead:
“We always use the word attitude. Good or bad we’ve got to keep a good attitude. We just have to respond and it’s just about the next play, the next stop and making the right plays.”
Junior guard Darrun Hilliard…
On what it means to play well after a tough loss (at Creighton):
“It’s just a testament of what we’ve been through. We have kind of seen it all. Tahj, myself and coach have been through a lot over these past three years with the 13-19 season, coming back my sophomore year and nobody knew what we were going to do. It’s just a testament of attitude like James said. We always keep coming, we are relentless and were not going to stop coming at you. It’s just a testament of what we do every day. It’s nothing special or tricky; we just keep working to get better.”
On regrouping in the second half:
“The first half I was doing some things that were not suiting me and I just had to get back to the basics. I knew that my teammates had a lot of confidence in me and I never worry about missing shots that is part of the game. I just had to comeback in the second half, play defense and make shots. It happened to turn out I was making shots today but that was all a testament of the first half playing defense as a team and doing what my team needs me to do.”
Xavier Head Coach Chris Mack...
"It was Villanova's night, certainly in the second half. We clawed back and got back in the game. Justin [Martin] hit a couple of 3s. I thought when he got his fourth foul, the game seemed to change. A big part of that change was Villanova's tenacity on the glass. They did a much better job of getting to loose balls, getting their misses, and because of that, we found ourselves trailing the entire second half. We got down double digits - when we got down 15, we decided to press because time was running out, we had seven-and-a-half to eight minutes to go. When you're playing a veteran back court - you know, generally four guards at a time for Villanova - you're trying to get back in the game, but they make you pay. They hit back-to-back 3s and it became a 20-point game. It was a decision that you don't regret, but it's about the only way you're going to get back in the game if you do. Give Villanova credit. When we started the trap and tried to get turnovers and right up the game, they get open 3s and make us pay. You've got to quickly turn the page and get ready for a team that beat us just a week and a half ago, in Providence."
On playing two games in three days:
"It's not easy, but that's the schedule we have in front of us. I think not only the turnaround but also the opponent we played tonight had a lot to do with the way we played."
On the team's three-game losing streak:
"We're getting our [butts] kicked in the second half. Every game we play - tonight Villanova scored 28 points in the first half and almost doubles their point total in the second half. Again, part of that is the fact that we pressed. We looked a step slow in all three of those losses. They've outscored their output by at least 10 points. We've got to become a better second half team."
On freshman guard Myles Davis:
"Myles has to guard better, and offensively has to continue to get in the gym, put in time, make good shots. I thought a couple of his missed 3s were in and out. We didn't have the luxury of shooting around here before the game simply because of weather, but Myles is a good enough shooter that he can get it dialed in. Normally when you hit the first one, the lid sort of falls off and it didn't happen for Myles tonight. I have all the confidence in the world. He does have to get better on the defensive end, but offensively, I haven't lost any confidence in Myles."