March 18, 2010
Villanova - 73
Robert Morris - 70
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Villanova student athletes Scottie Reynolds and Mouphtaou I can't remember you. Coach WRIGHT, would you please make an opening statement.
COACH WRIGHT: I'm going to start by saying how impressed I was with Robert Morris, man. What a great team. Great effort. I love their guards. Mike Rice does an outstanding job with that team. They were tough defensively. They battled us on the boards. They were smart. I think we might have had a little more depth. I don't know if we had better players. We had more depth. The point guard was a big difference. Even they deserve so much credit.
And I'm proud of our guys for gutting it out. This is survive and advance, we all know it. We gutted it out and we found a way.
Q. Scottie, you had kind of a rough day shooting from the field 1 for 14 but when it mattered you hit the big 3. I know the shot clock was running down on you?
Scottie Reynolds: It was something we were doing all game. Reg made a drive, and I came behind. And I knew the shot clock was running down. I tried to get Abraham up in the air, he didn't go for it. I tried to use any legs for the final time.
Q. Just wondering, were you disappointed you weren't starting? Was there a decision why you didn't start?
Scottie Reynolds: I wasn't disappointed at all. It was a teaching lesson. I take full responsibility and that's what you do as a leader. Coach Wright wants to make a point to the team and he knows I can handle that. And I just have to be the same as everybody. There's no one person bigger than the program. I know that, everybody else knows that. And we move on. We move forward from it, keep a good attitude.
Q. First 35 minutes of the game or so, almost half your shots were from three point range. A lot of getting to the basket, a lot of getting to the free point line. Were you talking about that in any of the huddles, or was there a more concerted effort to get to the free point line?
Scottie Reynolds: Yeah, we felt we were taking some good shots and we were just missing them. We wanted to stay aggressive. We got the ball inside to move. Mouphtaou did a great job. Even if we didn't score he got the ball in there and he got fouls into them. And then in the later half of the game, into over time we were able to get to the rim, get to the line. And I think that was the biggest difference in the game was us getting to the free throw line and being able to get stops.
Q. Scottie, you mentioned a teaching lesson. What did you need to be taught? What did you learn?
Scottie Reynolds: That even I'll try to put it in a good way. That even if you have to be excellent all the time, put it like that. You can't have any flaws, even if it's so minor, even an inch, because that's the margin of victory. You saw it today. Whatever it is, you have to be excellent every time you step on the floor. And that's in preparing for the game and everything, because it's such a small margin between a win and a loss.
And I think you saw that today. And if we didn't get this win, I would have been disappointed, but I'm glad we did. And we can learn from what happened yesterday and just move on from it.
Q. Scottie, I know that Pittsburgh game last year was an Elite 8 game, it was a little different. Can you compare winning that game on that shot as opposed to this game where you won it with a couple of foul shots at the line late?
Scottie Reynolds: This game was, it was kind of a mixture of the Pitt game and our first round game against American. It's a mixture of all those emotions and all those games. We did a good job keeping a good attitude. We had to go to each other if we were going to make big plays.
Not just us scoring, but us getting into situations that we're going to be successful. We just did a great job with that and the rest of the guys followed. I was just very impressed with our guys poise and for our first game in the NCAA tournament with this group.
Q. Scottie, I'm sorry to have to belabor this. What exactly happened that caused the star player to not start a game? What happened?
Scottie Reynolds: I don't think we're going to share that. I don't think Coach Wright will share that, either. Like I said before, it's nothing major, but to this program it is major. To people that is not in our program, you know, it might not be a big deal, but for us, and me being the leader, me being the guy in charge of this team, you know, I've got to be sharp at all times. And I wasn't sharp for a split second and it got me.
And I learned from it, move on from it. I'm glad we got the win. And I'm glad it happened now, and we can move on. I learned from it. Thanks, Coach (laughter).
Q. This was your best game as a college player, by far. Did you know that this was going to be a situation where the big men were going to be this important? The shots weren't falling from the outside. Were you nervous at any time? You went to the line, you were perfect at the line. How do you hold together in a game this big as a freshman?
Mouphtaou Yarou: Every day after practice we work on that. Every day after practice we step up on the free throw line and we shoot free throws. So I just think about practice and I just shot the ball?
Q. It's been over two weeks since you had a win, can you talk about what it felt like to get that under your belt again?
Scottie Reynolds: I forgot what that felt like. After the Marquette game, I think we had a lot of time to look at ourselves and we didn't make any excuses. We probably didn't play our best out there but we played hard and we played with a lot of intensity.
Each practice that we went into each day, we just kept getting better, kept having a great attitude and didn't let the past interrupt what we were trying to accomplish and just try to be the best team we can be at the end of the season. We got another day to play, another day to be together and we're going to cherish this moment and keep going for our goal. .
Q. What aspect of the situation you were in 8 down with 4:19 to go, bothered you the most?
COACH WRIGHT: Probably our inability to penetrate their defense and then make the extra pass to get the better shot. I think each guy thought, all right, I've got we penetrate their defense, we'd make a pass, I'm going to be the one to hit it, I'm going to be the one to get us back. I'm going to be the one. Even when we got it early, before we got down 8, there were times we got it to two, we just took a rushed shot.
But now that it's over I'm glad we went through that and we're going to learn from it and I'm glad we had the will to overcome their will, which was outstanding.
Q. What did they do defensively to take away and force Reggie and Scottie to have such poor shooting nights?
COACH WRIGHT: This is probably a boring answer, but they're very sound. And like I was saying, most teams when you break down their defense the first time you make a pass out, you're going to be open. They recover so quickly, they're so quick, they force you to make two or three extra passes, which we weren't doing.
And even inside, when we got the ball inside we were effective. But they were quicker than our forwards and they were just using their quickness to prevent the ball from going inside. They had good length and quickness. And the guys that aren't long get up in you. They're very, very coached. They're very sound. That's actually harder to play against than great athletes that are undisciplined.
Q. Yesterday you were talking about low seed versus high seed. And what does today prove about the parity of college basketball and would you change anything about the terror of 2 playing the 15?
COACH WRIGHT: I think I said this yesterday, they remind me of our teams when we were in Hofstra. We went the first year and got beat up a little bit. The second year we came back and didn't fear anything, and we almost beat UCLA. It was the same kind of game. Same kind of game. I was thinking about that all the way through. We have to keep grinding and grinding and hope we can win in the end and there's no shame.
I think sometimes if you get into a game like that and get embarrassed with a team like that or them out playing you, that's going to lose the game for you. I kept telling our guys, this is the kind of game it's going to be. And I think our guys responded. I didn't think if you allow your ego to get involved in a game like that you're going to get beat. I thought our guys kept their egos in check and played the next possession.
Q. When did you first made aware of the transgressions against Corey and Scottie? How long did you think it over, when did you make your final decision to keep it on the bench at the start?
COACH WRIGHT: It really was a simple thing and Scottie explained it better, probably better than I could. Corey and Scottie as starters, we expect excellence out of them in everything we do. There's a little thing about game preparation. They're wonderful kids. Nothing off the court, nothing in practice. Just game preparation, preparing for the game. They weren't at a level that they should be, and I wanted to make the point. I wanted to make the point. And Scottie gets it, Fisher gets it.
And we with have a lot of young guys on the team that got to know that the values of our program are more important than a game, a starter or a player. And they get it, they know. It wasn't really a big deal. I know it's going to turn into a big deal because they're in a NCAA Tournament. We do this during the season. They'll be back in the starting lineup. It's over. It's done. It really didn't affect us.
Q. Just to follow that up. You said it didn't affect you. Those two guys had unusually poor games for them. Do you think it affected those two players?
COACH WRIGHT: I don't think so, I really don't. Believe it or not, they've both done that before. And we've done this before in first round games. If you look back at last year we were down 14 in the second half to American basically at home, playing in Philly. We were down 18 in the first half against Clemson in the first round game. So as bad as this seemed we were in the game more than we normally are.
I really don't. I'm sure it would have been more comfortable, but it's all part of the game. Other things can happen in a game that can affect you. I was actually really proud of how Scottie handled it. I thought Fisher handled it pretty well, too.
Q. There are now three or maybe four job openings in the New York area, Mike Rice has been touted as a candidate for some of them. Do you think he'd be a good candidate and if so, what makes him a good coach?
COACH WRIGHT: I think Mike Rice would be a good candidate for any job. I think he's got great passion. He's an excellent teacher, you can tell by the way they play. He's a very good recruiter. You can tell by the players they have at Robert Morris. Not that they're better than Robert Morris, but they're the right kind of players. And I would recommend him for any job.
Q. What did you want defensively on that last possession by Robert Morris and did you get it?
COACH WRIGHT: The last one, the final one with nine seconds? We wanted to keep it out of Abraham's hands and not give up a three. And they did a good job, because previously they were inbound go the ball to him and we put Cheek to face guard and Reggie behind him. But they inbounded it to someone else and ran him away from the ball to set a screen coming to the top and we were supposed to switch that screen, we didn't, but Cheek got over the screen and didn't allow him to get that and Cheek did a great job. So as usual it doesn't work exactly as you can, and Cheek made a great play there.
Q. Your Big East tournament game against Marquette, the last seven minutes plus you played zero first year players. This game was the opposite. What was so different about this game? Those guys carried you. Your first year players had 33 points, 10 rebounds today, which is kind of amazing for what we've seen down the stretch. What was the difference and did you expect them to come through like that?
COACH WRIGHT: As I said, we learned a lot of things going through the year. That Marquette game you talked about, if that had happened in the beginning of January, we would have learned a lesson then. But we were winning. It's hard to figure things out when you're winning, even if you're not playing well. We learned that we need Mouph or Sutton in the game as an anchor to our defense.
We're not the same kind of defensive team we were last year. They had 10 blocked shots we had 10 blocked shots between the two of them there were 7 and a lot of them were big plays. If we don't have them on the floor we were giving up layups on the plays. I think those two proved themselves. And Mouph gave us offensively. He hasn't been playing, the guys were tentative giving him the ball.
You tell them to give him the ball, but when they haven't been in games with him it's hard. I think it was a big step for him and a big step for the team in the way he finished and made free throws today.
Q. Can you talk about your team's free throw shooting ability and how much a point you made to get to the line, because obviously you weren't shooting the ball well? Is Mouph I can't remember I can't remember a 100 percent free throw shooter?
COACH WRIGHT: Mouph is a good shooter, he really is. He's right now probably better face to basket player than a back to basket player, believe it or not. But it's something we work hard on, take pride in. And again with Mouph he's been in games in quick spurts, like one or two minutes. I count his free throw percentage, you don't play for a minute and a half at a time. I think when he got in a rhythm, that's the kind of free throw shooter he really is. And scottie has been a clutch one.
Corey Fisher is usually a good free throw shooter. Our guys always get to the arena two hours before and they shoot extra. And one of things in an NCAA Tournament, you can only get on the floor 50 minutes before. We didn't do it because it was so early, but I might do that Saturday.