Feb. 9, 2008
Villanova head coach Jay Wright...
Opening statement: We certainly needed that one. That's the understatement of the year but it was great to get it that way. I'm glad that getting this win came in a game where we executed and got some defensive stops. I thought Seton Hall played great. I give Bobby Gonzalez a lot of credit. They know who they are and we have been a team trying to figure out who we are. I thought our second half defense was one of our best efforts of the year. That's what we have been trying to do and we're getting there. There is still a lot of work to do but this group has been together for a while now. We are having fun coaching them and they all have had great attitudes. Tonight our two junior leaders stepped up when the team and the program needed it.
On Dwayne Anderson: There is a long story on this. Throughout his first couple of years here he was our greatest team representative off the court. I get e-mails all the time about what he does with kids and what he does on campus. Then when it came to on the court he was doing things his way. At the end of last year we talked about that and he wanted to be a part of what we're doing even if that meant he wasn't going to play a lot. We knew we were going to ride the young kids this year but Dwayne kept working in practice and has been so dominant in practice that he earned the start. We had to start him and he's been awesome. He knows what we're doing. Some of the young guys are playing so hard for us but they don't know what we're doing yet.
On Anderson's defense: This year that is what his role is. Last year he didn't play as well defensively and so he didn't play. This year he has been one of our best defensive players and rebounders. We knew we were going to give the young guys a chance. Dwayne and I agree on that. He's the man and we talk about everything. At the same time I wasn't surprised at the offense. He was the leading scorer in the Catholic league in D.C. in high school. I have been more surprised about his defense and rebounding being so consistent.
On defending the last play: We honestly had no idea. We thought either Brian Laing or Jamar Nutter were going to make the play but our concern was about not giving up a three-pointer. We wanted to make sure that if they scored it would be two points.
On Dante Cunningham's defense: Dante gives us a good matchup because we can cause mismatches for the other team. Dante is a great defensive player in the post but he is one of our best perimeter defense guys too. That is a good combination for us.
Junior forward Dwayne Anderson...
On his role with the team: Like Coach said I was trying to do things my way on the court the first two years and alum Jason Fraser came back in over the summer and talked to me and said that I had to do things the team way or else the team wasn't going to win. I came back and this year I have done everything that has been asked of me and here we are. It was a difficult transition but I just try to give a great effort everyday and do what the coaches ask of me.
On hitting the game-winning three-pointer: There was a loose ball that popped out and Scottie Reynolds passed it to me. They always tell me to shoot with confidence and that's what I did.
Junior forward Dante Cunningham...
On the team's defensive effort: It was a team effort. We all came out and got the job done. When it came to crunch time we wanted to make things go our way.
On ending the five-game losing streak: We just wanted to stay focused and stay hungry no matter what the result. No matter what happens you don't want to go into practice the next day and not give your best effort.
Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez...
Opening statement: First of all I think it was a great college basketball game. I am proud of our kids' effort coming off the Notre Dame game. Even though Notre Dame is a tremendous team and probably the worst matchup in the league for us but in that game the other night I thought our defense and rebounding was unacceptable. Tonight we wanted to make a concerted effort to win the battle of the boards and we won it by four. The second thing we did is to put in a defensive guard on the boards and we said if they got more than 74 points we were probably going to be practicing at midnight. They got 72 points but unfortunately that was enough to win the game.
We reached our rebounding goal and our defensive goal but the problem is that the last play of the game came down to a scrum and a 50-50 ball. It's not the play on the other end to try and tie the game. The game comes down to getting a defensive stop and coming up with a 50-50 ball after a second and third tip. Instead Scottie Reynolds gets it and Dwayne Anderson hits a three-pointer to win it. The thing is that Anderson had made two three-pointers all year coming into the game and tonight he hit a three to start the game and he hit a three to end the game. That's what happens when you play on the road and I guess that's why we haven't won here in 14 years. Villanova has great players and coaches and they are a dangerous team when the game is on the line.
When we went to two NCAA Tournaments we got the 50-50 ball and when we don't get that ball we don't win. Once we scored to take the lead you have to get the ball back and run right out of the building. If you don't do that you are not going to win.
On the game: It was a physical game and things were going back and forth. People were getting beat up and there were a lot of foul calls. Both teams had trouble scoring but I think we got the best open looks we have gotten all year for Jeremy Hazell. But he is a freshman playing on the road and in the second half he was 0-for-3 on three-pointers. I thought those three looks he got were maybe the best looks we have gotten him in a month and it changes the complexion of the game if he makes those. Jamar Nutter and Brian Laing missed some three-pointers too. We made 5-of-16 in the second half. That is 31 percent and we probably needed to make one more to win. It is easy to say that they held us to that but we have to finish some plays. John Garcia and Mike Davis gave us some of their best minutes in a long time tonight.
On the last play: We wanted to get a dribble handoff from Nutter to Laing and have him attack the rim. The problem is they defended Brian very well and stayed connected to him. The next option was for Nutter to drive in and make a play but he pulled back for a second or two and that cost him some time. That ended up with us taking a shot we weren't looking for but some teams don't even get a shot off in that situation. On the road when you are down two you can debate whether to try to make a tough play to get it to overtime or go for the jugular and try to win. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have tried to win the game but at the same time we really got beat on the play before when we didn't come up with a 50-50 ball and they made a shot.