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March 26, 2016
Villanova - 64, Kansas 59
Q. Jalen, congratulations. When you guys finally sealed the deal, take us through those moments with your teammates, hugging with your coaches. What was that like?
JALEN BRUNSON: It\'s unreal. Still trying to sink it in. Never give up, get the positive attitude.
Q. After halftime, your coach had to call a quick timeout, 20 seconds in, and Kansas went on a 9-0 ride. What (indiscernible)?
JALEN BRUNSON: It\'s a habit, looking forward to the next play (indiscernible).
Q. How were you able to hold Perry Ellis to four points?
JALEN BRUNSON: He\'s a great player. We disrupted his shots. He\'s a great player. We were fortunate tonight.
Q. Take us through the dramatic last few seconds on the court. Bridges lands on the ball, quick timeout by Arch. Take us through the scene and what was that like for you guys?
JALEN BRUNSON: It was how we practice. Mikal diving and Arch calling a timeout, being the leader he is. (Indiscernible).
Q. Your coaches said your defense has come a long way. Showed it tonight. How does it feel? You\'re going to the Final Four.
JALEN BRUNSON: It feels great. Like I say, it hasn\'t sunk in. So many emotions jumping around. Just so awesome.
Q. What stands out your teammates have said in the locker room?
JALEN BRUNSON: We\'re not done. Enjoy it, but we\'re not done.
KRIS JENKINS: It just shows the great people that are around us, how hard everybody works, how everyone is willing to sacrifice for the greater good, everybody\'s buying in to a program that\'s bigger than themselves. Each individual has the same status. At the same time, we\'re all trying to achieve something great here.
Q. A sense of relief with that?
KRIS JENKINS: No relief. We\'re still motivated. Motivation is effective.
Q. What was the game plan against Ellis?
KRIS JENKINS: Make every shot tough. Don\'t let him get easy post position and attack him. Make him play defense.
Q. Did you sense any frustration in him?
KRIS JENKINS: No, man, he\'s a great player, man. He was locked in the whole time, even though his shots weren\'t falling. He\'s a great player. Great team, well coached. No. 1 team in the country.
Q. What do you look at as a point in the season where you were like, we can be a Final Four team. Was there like a proving point, a game or something where you just like --
KRIS JENKINS: Every guy on this team works hard. They believe that they\'re the hardest workers so they work that hard. And we have 13 guys, including Eric and all our redshirts that believe they\'re the best on the team. That\'s why the team has continued to get better, because we push each other.
And it started back in the summer, man, when we first got back in summer school. We worked. We worked extremely hard, built more team chemistry, and we\'re still getting better.
Q. You forced eight turnovers in nine possessions, kept Kansas scoreless for like seven minutes in the first half. Walk through that stretch. What were you able to do to force the turnovers?
KRIS JENKINS: Just be aggressive defensively. Be aggressive, be tough, play hard, play together. That\'s what our program is built on, and that\'s what we were able to execute down the stretch.
Q. Talk about what you\'re feeling right now.
MIKAL BRIDGES: Just happy. Especially for the seniors. They went through everything, and it\'s just -- they were here when they were 13-19 and they built to where it\'s at right now, and I\'m so proud of them because they played their butt off. I knew they were.
So us guys, other guys had to step up for them, and I just -- I love my guys. They\'re my brothers. One of the happiest feelings I\'ve ever had in my life.
Q. Can you describe that feeling of you cutting down that piece of net there on your hat?
MIKAL BRIDGES: It was amazing. It was a dream. It\'s something you dream about, get to a Final Four, win an Elite Eight game and cut down the net. It just feels amazing. It\'s going to keep a smile on my face. We\'re going to be happy tonight. We have to get back to work Monday. It\'s not over. We\'ve got two more games left. It\'s not over.
Q. Does it do anything for you guys, Kris Jenkins goes to the bench with four fouls. Does it do anything for you guys going into the Final Four, you guys take the lead?
MIKAL BRIDGES: Just to know that we got depth. Everybody is going to step up for each other. We all have confidence in ourselves. So especially myself and Kris. When Kris had four fouls, when I see him have trust in me as a young guy, that gets me so, like, really -- that gets my confidence up. Like for him to be like -- look at me and clap, let\'s go, I know you got this. It gets me ready, get a lot of confidence in myself.
Q. This was a real grind-it-out, tougher team won kind of a game.
DANIEL OCHEFU: Definitely. We both knew both teams were on offensive rolls the whole tournament. Kansas is extremely talented, well-coached team, extremely tough as well. And we just wanted to make this ugly, make this a street fight. Glad we were able to do that, come out with the win.
Q. Are you feeling all right now? Has it sunk in?
DANIEL OCHEFU: No. Amazing. That\'s the only word I can use. That\'s the only word.
Q. What makes you so tough to be able to win these grind-it-out, ugly games?
DANIEL OCHEFU: It\'s something we preach and practice every day. From day one, since I got here, to right now we\'re still talking about the same thing, making it ugly, making it tough on the blue team. We love the fact that it was a pro-Kansas crowd. We were wearing our blue jerseys in practice. The first blue was always the team on the road. It\'s just something we just -- oh, man.
Q. Daniel, compare the feeling of the way the last two years ended to now be in this position.
DANIEL OCHEFU: It\'s like two ends of the spectrum. It\'s amazing. The last two years, the first three years, you know, just all the shortcomings and just continue putting in hard work and failing year after year. This senior year, finally getting there, just wow.
I really give this to our senior captains that we had since I was a freshman. They\'re the guys that made us the men we are today.
Q. How does that net necklace feel?
DANIEL OCHEFU: Amazing. I might never take it off. Never.
Q. How does it feel to get a win for those guys on the team you\'ve been with for so long?
DANIEL OCHEFU: Oh, man, it\'s amazing. For my fellow seniors, Pat, Kevin, Henry, Arch, it just means the world to us to be that class that brought Villanova back to the Final Four. Then for all the seniors we had, Mouph, Tony, Taj Bell, JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard, they made me, Arch, all the seniors, they made us the guys we are today.
Q. Here you are, one of the last four teams standing.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: It\'s a surreal feeling. Growing up, watching Villanova, I never thought I could be part of it. But we\'re not done yet and we\'ll get back to work on Monday and focus on Oklahoma.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: We\'re not just an offensive team. We can grind games out and win on the defensive end. I think we did that tonight. We ended up shooting the lights out of the ball the first three games in the tournament. We knew it would come to an end at some point. Our backbone is defensive rebounding. I think we did that.
Q. What did you do defensively that made it so difficult for them?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I think we changed defenses a decent amount of the game. That kind of messed them up a little bit. I think we tried to focus on Perry Ellis and not let him get going, not let him get to his left shoulder, right hand, and we defended as a team.
It wasn\'t just one on one. It was everyone, a unit out there.
Q. Give us an idea of what\'s going through your mind, at the free-throw line, a minute left, four different times. What\'s going through your mind?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: At that point, I was thinking of what I was at every single time I\'ve worked on my free throw throughout my whole life. This one gym I especially shot at, my AAU coaches, just by myself with no one in the gym. I was thinking about how we always end practice shooting free throws. I thought about our video director, because we were working on my free throw throughout the whole year, and I found a groove throughout the end of the year. So I had a lot of things running through my mind. I was confident it was going to go in.
Q. Talk about the way the last two years ended, the feeling that you had to be feeling, to this moment, how it\'s like --
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: Definitely ended a lot earlier than we wanted to, but I think for us to go through the struggles and early exits really helped us persevere in this game and in this tournament. It wasn\'t about trying to get past the second weekend. It was trying to be the best we can be at the end of the year.
Q. Does the high of this --
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I\'ll lose in the first round my first two years to get to a Final Four. I said that to Daniel. He said yes. It\'s our last go-around. We went through the struggles. We lost to Columbia our freshman year by 20 at home. We know what the lows are. Now we\'re getting to see the highs.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: You have to trust the process and trust the coaching staff and trust Villanova basketball. That\'s what we did. We trust the coaches and our teammates. It wasn\'t one guy. It was a team effort.
Q. What makes you so tough and resilient to win these kind of grind-it-out, ugly games?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: We practice the most difficult situation. Any time we turn the ball over in practice, the other team gets five points. We\'re used to coming back and battling and making it ugly. It\'s a mentality about this program, each guy on this team.
Q. There were three or four times in the first half where you turned it over. They got breaks and didn\'t score.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: It started with my turnover and Kris got a charge. That\'s great transition defense.
Q. I see the way you\'re clutching that.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I don\'t know if I\'ll sleep with it. I\'ll probably give it to one of the guys on the team. But it\'s an unbelievable feeling. I never thought it would happen for us.
Q. Daniel or maybe Kris said you\'re not over yet. This is a goal, but not the only goal.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: Yeah, for sure. We try to be the best we can by the end of the year. We still have a game left. If we can do that, it\'s going to be great. Hopefully, we can play in the national championship game. We have to focus on Oklahoma. They beat us pretty good. I think we\'re just trying to get better every single day.
Q. What\'s it say about you that you can top the number one team in the country, shooting 4-for-8 from three?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: Our toughness on the defensive end. We didn\'t let the offense affect our defense. We stayed committed and stayed solid as a unit out there. Just our commitment to defense. We shot 90 percent or 95 percent from the foul line. We know we can shoot the free throws really well, and if we got to the foul line, it would be to our advantage.
Q. The sense of calm, when they scored ten straight and went up five?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: Yeah.
Q. Where does that come from?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: We knew they were going to make a run at some point, but we stayed committed and got stops, got out in transition. Josh made a layup. Someone else made a layup and we finally made a three. I hit one and Josh hit one. It was a big-time turnaround quick little run by us.
Q. Where does it come from, the sense of calm when a team makes a run on you?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I honestly think we\'re experienced. We\'ve been in those situations before. It comes from the coaching staff. Starts with Coach Wright. No one gets flustered when we get down. We stay committed to what we know.
Q. Take me through the last second when the buzzer rang and you ran on the court.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I didn\'t know what to do. I think I ran in a complete circle. I was freaking out. It was unbelievable and something I\'ll always remember. It was just -- it\'s four years of commitment to Villanova and as a program, I think it was just big time for us. And just happy for my teammates and for the training staff to the walk-ons to Kris to Josh. I\'m just happy for every single person.
Q. What\'s it mean to get this win for your teammates, for your guys, for your fellow seniors?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: It\'s unbelievable. The walk-ons, I can\'t preach enough about how much they do for our program. Everyone has a role on this team. It just showed tonight.
Q. Seven years ago, Scottie was sitting in the corner with the trophy and the ball. Were you watching that?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I remember watching the game. I remember he hit the shot. I was running, freaking out in the hotel hallway.
Q. Where were you?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: In the AAU Tournament in Island Garden. We were just all freaking out because we\'re all Nova fans.
Q. Where was it?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: The Island Garden. West Hempstead. We were all running around. We\'re all Nova fans.
Q. There\'s you running around --
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: On the court?
Q. You were running around six or seven years ago?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: For sure. I remember watching that. Now that I\'m part of the program, I see the last play going on and just to see the execution that we did at the end of the game on the defensive end, I think that it wasn\'t -- it might have been a blessing in disguise to lose to Seton Hall the way we did.
On that defense, we weren\'t supposed to help on Kris\'s charge. They called a block and we got an and-one. I think we ran the same exact defense and hit it tonight. So it was kind of fate that that was going to happen for us.
Q. When you were watching Scottie, did you think: I\'ll have one of those moments?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: At that point in my life, I was just hoping to play basketball for fun and maybe get a scholarship. I never thought I\'d be able to play for Nova.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I had scholarships, but I didn\'t know I could play for Nova. Coach wasn\'t really recruiting me or anything like that. I wanted to come here. To be able to do something like this, what he did, is something I can\'t describe and can\'t believe it\'s actually happening.
Q. Have you ever had an arena sing happy birthday to you?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: No. This is the first time I\'ve played on my birthday. I remember after we lost last year, the following weekend, I couldn\'t watch the games. I just couldn\'t. There was something about me in my stomach that we should be there, but we lost. I have to own up to it. Even out and about, going out to eat, I was not trying to go see any TV.
Q. Is this one of the best birthday presents you ever got?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: Best one ever, for sure. I think my 22nd birthday was better than my 21st. It\'s unbelievable. I don\'t want to focus on anything about me. It\'s a team effort, but it happened to be my birthday. There was no talk about let\'s win it for Arch\'s birthday. It\'s just let\'s do what we do and see what happens.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports