Dec. 7, 2007
Villanova head coach Jay Wright...
On the game: You all saw it; it was incredible. We were terrible and LSU deserved to win the game, but we played with great heart and of course Malcolm [Grant] was incredible. That wasn't a surprise to us because we see him everyday. Dante came up with that big play at the end and it is the second time he has done that with the game on the line. That isn't a surprise either. We can take some solace in that and in winning the game even though we didn't play well.
On winning a game such as this one: I can't remember winning one like that. I don't spend a lot of time on winning and losing, believe it or not. It's about how you play and I am really proud of the play for 40 minutes tonight. We were down and lost our confidence. That really surprised me but we stuck with it.
On Malcolm Grant: If you had seen him play before Villanova you knew he is capable so there was no doubt that once he got it going we were going to stick with him. He makes plays. He is an incredible offensive player. He needs to learn how to play defense and he will. He's working at it, but that was an amazing individual performance.
On the defense: I was ready to say that this is the way it's going to be this year. We didn't come to play and we will still talk about that. The fact that we won the game is great but that's why you don't judge on winning and losing. We didn't play well. A guy came in and put us on his back and carried us. That's what it was tonight. We have talented players. We learned that tonight. But we have to be a consistent team and we learned that too.
On the comeback: When Malcolm got fouled on that first three-pointer and once we got it to six points I was thinking that it was a two-possession game. They did a great job taking away our threes all night; that's what they did to Scottie. Once we got it to two possessions I thought we had a chance.
On the success of the team's bench: Obviously that's what Malcolm did tonight and once he got going we rode him. I never want to tell a guy to go into the game and get it going because I want us to play as a team. They did a great job on our top scorers, Shane, Scottie and Reggie. They really pushed out on them. That's why we knew at halftime it would be other guys that carried us. We didn't know it was going to be Malcolm but we knew it had to be other guys.
On Scottie Reynolds: Scottie didn't stop doing the little things tonight. I don't want to take anything away from LSU because they were really great. But Scottie worked really hard off the ball to make them guard him and allow Malcolm to get to the rim. That's what happened last year with guys like Mike Nardi doing things like that while Scottie scored a lot of points. We want the other guys to learn that; that is what Scottie did tonight.
On the effect this game has on the team: Everything the team goes through now is in our collective consciousness. Hopefully we won't be down 21 points again with eight minutes left but if we are we know we have come back from that. You can talk about it in the huddle all you want but until you do it the guys don't really believe it.
Villanova freshman guard Malcolm Grant...
On the game: I'm just happy we got a win. Like coach said we got lucky. I hit some shots but I wasn't doing it by myself. It was everybody. Dante did a great job rebounding and we played defense. We didn't play the way Coach wanted us to but we played hard enough to get a win.
On his role when he comes into games: I just want to go in and bring great energy because that is what the guys out on the floor have already been doing. That is what I want to come in and do, just help the team any way I can.
On hitting free throws in pressure spots: The coaches tell us everyday in practice to put pressure on yourself when you shoot free throws and try to think of a game situation. That is what I try to do, just put myself in a pressure situation when I am shooting. I did that tonight and just made them.
Villanova junior forward Dante Cunningham...
On the last play of the game: It was a combination of us doing the same thing everyday. We practice game situations and we always know who is shooting the ball. When it goes up you just crash the boards. Tonight I went to the glass and the ball fell into my hands.
On what a game like this means for Villanova: A game like this shows our depth and our potential. We have a lot to learn. Obviously we need to come out and play like we played the last eight minutes for the whole 40 minutes of the game.
On the mood on the bench leading up to the comeback: I don't remember when but during one timeout before Coach came into the huddle the players talked about just trying to stop them. It seemed like more and more time went off the clock and that we had our chances. I don't know exactly what it was that led to the comeback at the end.
LSU head coach John Brady...
On the game: Never in 32 years have I had a team to that. Jay Wright said we deserved to win but I never believe that any team that loses deserves to win. Whether you are on a basketball team or just living your life you are where you are. You do it or you don't do it and tonight we didn't do it and we lost the game. We did it to ourselves. We committed fouls 40 feet from the goal and fouled three-point shooters. We didn't make free throws when we needed to. It is extremely disappointing. Our team is inexperienced but I don't buy that. We had the game in our hands to win it and didn't do the things we needed to and that's why we lost.
On the 14 blocked shots by LSU: We're long and athletic but what did that get us. Fundamentally around the goal we are not that good guarding post people. We aren't good because other teams are catching it on us where they want to and tonight we just happened to get pieces of the ball. That's what we need to do. It used to be in the past that we were big and mean; now we are long and lean. We don't have that toughness around the goal. Defensively for about 30 minutes we were pretty good but it was disappointing the way we finished the last five minutes. The fouls to stop the clock hurt us and they show that we don't know how to win. We had a chance to beat a nationally-ranked team on their floor and let it slip away. We need to get better.
On defending Malcolm Grant: I thought our game plan was pretty good of stopping the perimeter and guarding them and not allowing threes. It worked for a long time until we fouled guys and they made a couple at the end when they needed to. The defensive effort was good but we made mistakes down the end fouling uncharacteristically and unnecessarily. They made their free throws at the end and we didn't. We have to use this experience to get better. It's not a good experience but we have to use it to get better.
On LSU: The guards are good but around the goal against some teams we might not be as physical. I worry about our team in the league because coupled with the athleticism of the league we are short. I never felt comfortable with the size of the lead tonight because this team hasn't proven that it can do the things necessary to win. We don't know how to win. We couldn't win close against Oklahoma State or in overtime against Arizona State. We beat those other teams but those really didn't count. We can't beat a team that counts yet. It doesn't get easier for us so we have to get better. This was one we had and we let it go. Now we will see how we respond.