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March 10, 2017

Kevin Willard

Madison Jones

New York, New York

Villanova - 55, Seton Hall - 53

THE MODERATOR: Coach Kevin Willard and Madison Jones.

Q. Kevin, just what can you say about the fact that this team beat you pretty handily twice. Your guys, pretty handily twice. And tonight you just, I mean, almost won, could have won. What kind of an effort did your guys give tonight?
COACH WILLARD: The guys played phenomenal. Their effort was off the charts. This is also the first time we've played them even.

I mean, the first time we played them, the third game in six days, it was three in a row on the road, and second time playing, they were coming off a bye week, we played Creighton at 9:00 on Wednesday. So I actually knew this game was going to be just like this.

I had a lot of confidence in the guys. I love the way we're playing. We're playing great defensively. Brunson hurt us, made some great plays towards the end of the game, but we still had a chance to win it. So proud of my guys.

Q. Kevin, after the game, right after it ended Josh Hart came over and consoled Angel Delgado and told him: We had this feeling last year; you don't want to have this again in the NCAAs and you won't. What can you say about that act of sportsmanship, the way it unfolded?
COACH WILLARD: If I've got to lose in the Big East Tournament, and I hate to lose, but there's not -- I have enjoyed Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart develop as young men. They represent this league at the highest level. They play the game tremendously. And I couldn't have more respect for Josh and Kris for the way they represented not only Villanova but the way they represented the Big East throughout their career, just shows you what a great program Jay has.

Q. Obviously this one hurts, but how good does it feel to be playing this well going into the most important games of the year of the tournament?
MADISON JONES: It's definitely a great thing to be playing. Feel like we're at the top of our game right now especially this time of the year.

And we've got a lot of momentum, even though, like you said, this one hurt, we still are positive and coming back strong on Sunday, back in the gym, and just ready for the NCAA.

Q. Madison, your team held Villanova to 23 percent shooting in the first half. How important was it to just kind of set the defensive tone right away with a team that can easily rattle off shots and put you out of the game really quick?
MADISON JONES: It was definitely important. Starting the game off, we just stayed solid on the defensive end. That was our game plan, stay solid and stay focused on their key players, and I think that's what we did coming out strong, don't let them get anything easy.

Q. Kevin, what did last year's kind of experience and kind of big-time atmosphere weekend, Big East game, did you take anything from last year into tonight's game?
COACH WILLARD: No. No, I thought the atmosphere was great. I thought both schools really showed up well. It's good to see that everyone was worried about -- all we hear about in the spring meetings all the conferences are coming, it's -- I'm so tired of it. This is the best basketball tournament in the country. And the fans show up; they're great. It's a tradition. It's phenomenal.

Q. Madison, you shut down 3-point shooters for two nights, the whole team, a lot of good 3-point shooters, you really dominated them back to back nights. Do you feel at this time you can just force any team to beat you with tough twos, that it's going to take a play like at the end?
MADISON JONES: That's what we want to do. It's tough twos. Especially a team like this, we've got to force them off their line. And like I said that was our game plan coming in, making them shoot tough twos. And that's what we did pretty much the entire game. The ball fell that way at some times. And we knew they were going to make great shots. They have great players. Take your hat off to them. Definitely want them to shoot tough twos all night. And that's pretty much what we did.

Q. Kevin, last year Villanova took a gut-wrenching loss on this stage to you guys and turned it into a springboard for something great. What can you guys do? What can you guys get from this for that next tournament?
COACH WILLARD: That's just what we talked about in the locker room. It's tough. You give your heart out. You play arguably the best team in the country right down to the wire; you lose -- obviously Josh Hart makes a phenomenal play.

But we've got to bounce back. I've got a lot of confidence in these guys, I've been saying it all year, when we were 3-6, I have a lot of confidence in this group. We'll bounce back. We'll fight back. It's who we are. It's what we've done.

And we'll get back to work on Sunday and Selection Sunday will come and we'll get ready to see who we play, we'll fight and battle whoever we have to play.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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