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March 18, 2017

Jay Wright

Donte DiVincenzo

Josh Hart

Buffalo, New York

Wisconsin - 65, Villanova - 62

THE MODERATOR: Joined by Villanova University head coach, Jay Wright, as well as Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart. We'll open with a statement.

JAY WRIGHT: Great college basketball game. Just fun to be a part of it, and give Wisconsin a lot of credit. They played a great game. I'm proud of our guys. We played tough, battled. These were what NCAA Tournament games come down to. Down the stretch, they made two great offensive plays, two great defensive stops, and that was the difference in the game.

We knew it was going to be a tough game because we have so much respect for them and they deserved it. They got it but we played hard, too. I was proud of our guys.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Donte as well as Josh.

Q. Josh, on the last offensive play for you guys, was that inbound supposed to go to Jalen, and what did you see after you received the inbounds play?
JOSH HART: Yeah. We wanted to get the ball to Jalen and go down to the half court and run a play. You know, they picked us up full court, and we couldn't get it to him, passed it to me, and we went into a ball screen. But Wisconsin made a heck of a defensive play.

Q. Josh, the accomplishments of the senior class are going to live forever. Obviously it's hard to look back at that right now in this moment, but just the idea that you guys aren't going to be on the court together as a group, how difficult is that to sort of accept or process right now?
JOSH HART: I'm always going to be with my brothers. I'm not going to be there on the court making plays with them, but I'm going to be talking to them all of the time, texting them, face-Timing them. They're my brothers for life regardless what happened this year. We're close on and off the court, and that bond is never going to be broken, so that is what it is. But I guarantee, you know, I'm going to be closer to them to the day I die.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions for how student-athletes?

Q. Yeah, for Josh, just you're down there, you're behind, sort of five, six, seven minutes into the second half and it seemed like you guys just started getting downhill. Can you talk about getting that lead by -- I mean, was it a kind of conscious effort. I know that's what you do, but get it to the rim more and you kept scoring that way?
JOSH HART: We always want to be aggressive. We always want to try to get into the paint. And for a good couple minutes, we were doing that, and we were able to get it in the lane, either make a lay-up, or get fouled. So, give them all the credit. They're a heck of a team. They made great adjustments. That's what it is, but we just tried to be aggressive, really.

Q. For Donte, you guys went up 57-50. Did you feel at that point like the intensity level dropped because that's -- it seemed like maybe you had things in control at that point but then they were able to make the comeback?
DONTE DIVINCENZO: I don't think the intensity dropped for us. I think we were intense on defense the whole game. They just made a heck of a play down the stretch. Their shots went in. Offensively, we executed and so did they. They went on a little run, but I don't think the intensity dropped at all.

THE MODERATOR: Donte, Josh, thanks for your time. Appreciate it. And we'll open for questions for Coach Wright.

Q. Jay, kind of the same question I asked Josh. It's always difficult at this moment, but the perspective of the senior class that you're losing, pretty remarkable run that they had, winningest all-time, I think. And for you to accept that you're not going to have those guys in your gym as well?
JAY WRIGHT: Yeah. Three of the -- Josh and Kris and Darryl are three of the greatest Villanova basketball players of all time. Their class is going to go down as the most successful class in Villanova history. But what we take pride in at Villanova even more is all three of them will graduate on time, all three of them, on the court, good times, bad times, always conducted themselves extremely well, represented Villanova well. Off the court, big part of our student body, great Villanovans. To be that successful on the court and really represent the University like they do, is something special. We told our younger guys that that's what you want to be. That's what you want to be as a Villanova basketball player. You want to be like Kris and Josh and Darryl.

Q. Jay, same question I asked Josh about you're playing on the last play, what did they do to just bottle up Jalen. I guess you were trying to get it in to him?
JAY WRIGHT: Yeah. It's simple for us. If they let us get it to Jalen, we're going to run a play. If they don't, we're going to get it to Josh or Donte and run a middle ball screen. Josh got -- down two, we got all of the way to the rim, and that's what you want to do. You want to be aggressive going at the rim and try to score and get fouled. They made a great defensive play.

Q. And also, when it was 57-50, you guys only had one basket after that, and five points in the last five and change. What did they do to just bottle you up and try to keep you from scoring?
JAY WRIGHT: The game -- from 57-50 the game really got shortened. They had a couple of possessions where they got an offensive rebound. They had another possession where the shot clock went down to zero, and then there was a foul called at the shot clock, so they got a whole other possession. So there weren't that many possessions.

We just had a couple -- I think that's what the game came down to. We had a couple empty possessions at the end, and they had two great possessions, the one by Nigel Hayes driving the baseline, and that one baseline out of bounds when Koenig hit the three was huge. That's what close games come down to. We've been on the other end of that a lot. And when another team steps up and makes those plays and two great players like Koenig and Hayes make those plays, you got to give them credit.

Q. Two years ago, No. 1 seed, lost in the same round. We look at a three-year window, you've won the championship but you were also eliminated in the second round twice. You talk about how difficult this tournament is, knowing first hand the highs and lows of it all?
JAY WRIGHT: First, there should be nothing negative about this tournament. This is the greatest, I think, sporting event in our country. You know, just being in it, I say this every year to our team. I say this every year at Villanova, we can't take it for granted. It's so special to be a part of it. Every time you win and you get a chance to advance, cherish it. You're playing the best teams in the country. You're going to come down to games like this, you know? We had a game like this against Kansas last year and we came out of the good side of it. We had a game like this against N.C. State last year, and we had a shot to win it and we missed it.

To me, there's no dishonor in losing in this tournament but I do know that -- and we've lived through it. You are judged by how you play in this tournament and that's the reality of it. So, you have to accept it.

Q. Could you just sort of comment on Koenig's performance and their ability to get him the ball and get him decent looks?
JAY WRIGHT: Yeah. I thought the biggest play was when he came off that baseline out-of-bounds and hit a three. That's a breakdown on our part, but it's also great execution on their part, you know? You know they're going to them based on out-of-bounds and he set his man up as -- he goes out opposite, sometimes, sometimes he comes out the same side. And he set his man up like he's was going out opposite, and he beat us on it. And that was a big play.

And we had shut that down all during the game, but again that's where you got to give them credit. It's great execution, great job, great coaching job, and that's how you win and lose these close games.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, congrats on a great senior class.

JAY WRIGHT: Thank you, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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