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March 14, 2019

Myles Powell

Kevin Willard

New York, New York

Seton Hall - 73, Georgetown - 57

THE MODERATOR: Myles Powell and Coach Kevin Willard.

Q. Kevin, you guys played so well in the first half. Are you a little disappointed that you didn't finish it off in the second half, or how do you feel?
KEVIN WILLARD: Not at all, J.P. That was a good "W."

I was thrilled the way we played. I thought we played well all game. Offensively, we got a little stagnant, but that was my fault. That was kind of -- come out, we did exactly what we wanted to do offensively and defensively, and I thought we set a good tone.

Q. Kevin, in your career, where does that first half for Myles rank in the performances you've seen?
KEVIN WILLARD: This is going to sound crazy. That's what I see every day. So I don't think it's any different. I'm surprised -- I'll be honest. I'm just as surprised we haven't seen more of that. I think he's played unselfish all year, which is maybe one of the reasons. Any time he steps on the floor, I expect to see that. So do his teammates, to be honest. It wasn't like we were shocked in the locker room. It was kind of just Myles being Myles.

Q. Myles, in terms of your performance and how you were able to get in that zone, how did it feel to see your teammates finding you offensively and everything just coming within the flow?
MYLES POWELL: That's the best part about my teammates. They're always looking for me. They're always cheering me on, my coaching staff, too. When you have a group of guys like that, that's always behind you and pushing you forward, it's a great feeling.

Q. Just one quick one for Myles and then Kevin. Myles, how do you feel right now? We saw you come down kind of awkward. How are you feeling physically right now?
MYLES POWELL: I feel great. I'm going to be ready for tomorrow. We're going to prepare for a great Marquette team and go back to the hotel and get ready.

Q. Kevin, this season has obviously been so unpredictable with the teams and the way it's gone. You played Georgetown a couple weeks ago and had that double overtime game. Talk about coming here and playing them and just the game being so different and the way everything's played out for you just this last week.
KEVIN WILLARD: They played really well at home, and I was actually -- after we lost the double overtime, I was really impressed with how hard we played there, given how well they played. I mean, they beat Villanova pretty easily. They beat DePaul pretty easily. So it was a place they've played well, which young teams do.

So I said it after that game, you know, I was very encouraged of the way we played, and I thought we came out tonight really focused on what we wanted to do. So we're a good basketball team, and when they're focused and we play defense the way we do, we're very, very tough to beat.

Q. Myles, you've obviously gotten it going a lot during your career. You've had stretches like that before, but what was different about doing it on this stage? You were showing a lot of emotion that first half, especially off those steals and fast breaks you had. It just seemed something about being here in the Garden and Big East Tournament that brought it to another level emotionally for you.
MYLES POWELL: I know what my teammates need. My coach always tells me, pick up your energy, get your guys going. I was just trying to do whatever it took to get my team going and for us to get the "W."

Q. Coach, your defensive effort held them to 36 points percentage. Your defense, is it where you want it to be, or are we expecting more?
KEVIN WILLARD: No, I mean, at this point --

MYLES POWELL: Coach is always expecting more (laughter).

KEVIN WILLARD: No, I like where we're at. I do. I like where we're at. I think we're understanding concepts very easily. For the most part, we're complicated. That's one of the hard things about playing for me is that it's not -- we do things that -- we do complicated things on defense to try to get teams not to be comfortable, and I think at this point with this team, they kind of understand what we're doing, and because our concepts are down, I think that's why we've played some really good halves of basketball over the last -- ever since February, to be honest with you. We've played some really good defensive halves.

Q. Looking ahead to Marquette tomorrow, Coach, what kind of challenges are they going to present to you tomorrow with having played tonight and obviously with them playing well in their quarterfinal?
KEVIN WILLARD: They played really well. Obviously, I think the biggest challenge is, obviously, I thought Markus played really well today. I thought he played under control and got everybody involved. That's what makes him hard to defend and hard to stop is the fact that, when the Hausers are spacing the court, and Sacar -- I always mess his last name up, and I apologize. Anim. I think when he plays the way he played in the first half, they're really tough to beat. The good thing is we just played them on Wednesday. The reviews will be quicker. The guys will understand what we're doing. We'll make some adjustments offensively and a few tweaks defensively, but for the most part, we have to deal with one of the best players in the country.

Q. Coach, you talked about your ability to make teams uncomfortable with your defense. Are you more confident in your ability to do that against a team like Georgetown that does have a really young core that's led by three freshmen?
KEVIN WILLARD: Yeah, our whole game plan was to make sure, if you can get young kids to stop and think what they're doing on offense, it really takes them out of a rhythm. We were successful at home doing that. We were really successful actually there doing it. We just didn't play well offensively there. Tonight was the same thing, just trying to get -- Akinjo is to talented, McClung, and they play with so much emotion when they're making shots. The biggest thing for us is to get them to try to stop and think, be aggressive with them, and just keep them off balance.

Q. For Myles, were you aware that it was a tournament record for the first half? And what does that mean when you think of all the great players who have been in this event and this building?
MYLES POWELL: I didn't know that. Tom just told me walking out of the locker room, but it's truly an honor and a blessing from the man above to be listed with those group of names.

Q. Myles, one more. At the end of the half, when you really had it working, it kind of seemed like you were testing a little bit, a little heat check at the end. I wonder what was going through your mind. You guys had a big lead, so it wasn't like you were going to throw away a possession.
MYLES POWELL: I just had made two or three in a row, and Coach called a play for me to get one up. I just ran the play and I saw his hands down and just tried to let another one go up.

Q. Kevin, after the double-double against Villanova, Sandro goes for 12 and 10 and got involved on the defensive end, too. What have you seen from him the last few games that has raised his confidence and adds another dimension to this team?
KEVIN WILLARD: Sandro has been an unsung hero a lot this year because he's been really good with pick-and-roll defense. He's battled big guys. He gets a little worn down offensively with the amount of size he's battled. I think the biggest thing with Sandro is he's been more aggressive offensively, looking to shoot, which we've been yelling at him to do all year. Just looking at him to be more aggressive. And I just think, you look at him and Myles Cale, you have two sophomores who didn't play a whole lot last year who now got thrown onto the big stage. I just think you're starting to see kids grow up. When kids get a little more confident, that's a good thing.

Q. Kevin, when Myles picked up his second foul, I think there was six minutes left, you guys were up by 20 at that point. Quincy had two. Was there any consideration to take him out given where the score was?
KEVIN WILLARD: I take Q out because Q's emotions run -- he'll pick a third up because Q is going to try to be aggressive defensively. It really is the one true blessing about how bad a defender my guy is over here is I know that he knows he has two fouls and that I know he ain't picking up a third foul.

MYLES POWELL: Unless it's offense (laughter).

KEVIN WILLARD: He starts running for like -- I'm surprised he didn't try to start guarding you guys in the first half. He's going to look for someone that's going to stand around a little bit. So I trust him. This is my third year with him. I know he knows what's going to go on. Even though we're up 20, we're in a good rhythm. He was in a good rhythm. I didn't want to take him out.

Q. Coach, Myles Cale, you mentioned as of late, six threes against Villanova, three again today. It seems as the season has gone on, he's not only gotten more confident, he's taken smarter shots. Have you felt the same way about that?
KEVIN WILLARD: Yeah, I just think that him and Sandro are guys that -- they want -- I use him as an example. His freshman year, he got taken out every two minutes, every two minutes, because it was a disaster. And those -- Sandro and Myles Cale didn't really get that opportunity last year. He got the opportunity as a freshman to play with a group that was still learning. Myles and Sandro played behind four seniors. So they never really got the chance to -- I just think that Myles Cale and Sandro have just stayed extremely steady, they've worked extremely hard, and you're just seeing two really good basketball players start to grow into themselves.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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