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March 12, 2003

Craig Esherick

Gerald Riley

Mike Sweetney


CRAIG ESHERICK: That was a very tough game for us to play for a lot of reasons. The first reason was going into the game there was awful lot of talk about how many scholarship players Villanova had and it was almost like Villanova wasn't even going to show up; they were just going to give us the game. So I was worried that we would be overconfident. I was worried that the fans would get involved in the game on Villanova's side because of the fact that people were saying they only had five scholarship players. And also their style of play, the way Jay has decided to play these last two games is very difficult to play against. It is almost playing against a team like Princeton. Fortunately we scrimmaged Princeton early on in the year and we were used to it and they are similar to the way Pittsburgh plays also. I thought the second half, I thought we did a great job and went to the trap and defenses did a great job of (inaudible) and turnovers. Any time you get a lead on a team like this that's trying to shorten the game it causes them an awful lot of problems. Really hit a great jump shot put us up 4. Mike hit some great free throws down the stretch and Bethel hit a couple of big 3s during the course of the second half to give us a 4, a 2 or 3 point lead. I felt that going into this game certainly this was big for us for a lot of reasons and I thought the team really showed some heart at the end of that ballgame because of the fact that we have lost a lot of close ball games this season we didn't give up and we made some nice plays down the stretch to win the ballgame.

Q. Do you intend for your team to settle for jump shots as often as you did given the fact that they couldn't afford to get in foul trouble?

CRAIG ESHERICK: I think that what I was worried about was we were passing up too many jump shots. We had a lot of open shots on the perimeter. They had three guys on Mike, and I was trying to get the ball to Mike, but I also knew that if we stood around and tried get the ball to Mike, our shooters would be out of rhythm. I think that's what they did for us. They got our shooters out of rhythm a couple of times. We have a couple of good shooters including these two guys that sit next to me. A couple of times I felt, particularly in the first half, we passed up good shots to try and get the ball to Mike. They were trying to do what I asked them to do. It was difficult to get the ball inside because of how they were playing. They weren't just going to throw the ball to Mike if he had two people on them and we exhausted the shot clock because of it.

Q. You said that you were worried about the situation and with your team; what exactly did you tell them?

CRAIG ESHERICK: I told them that they watched the Pittsburgh game. We had practiced that day. They all had a chance to watch some of that game. Villanova did not give up in that game. They didn't give them the basketball game. It game was very competitive. Pittsburgh has a very good team. I told them if they can keep Pittsburgh competitive during the course of the whole game and have a chance to win they certainly can do the same thing to us. We had to be ready to play. Villanova was not going to give us the basketball game; we would have to win the basketball game.

Q. Syracuse for the third time, what do you have to do differently to beat the Orange?

CRAIG ESHERICK: First thing we have to do and these guys to my left are sick of me saying -- the number 60 and 24, we got to prevent them from getting 60 rebounds and from getting 24 offensive rebounds. If we do that we will have a much better chance of beating them. Last time we played them we gave up 24 offensive rebounds, they got 60 rebounds. Warrick, Edelin and Carmelo Anthony killed us on the boards. Got to do a much better job on the boards. We played well in both of those games. The score with about ten minutes to go was tied. First time we played them and this last game I think it went into overtime. We have played well against them. If you just base it on the very last game we have got to do a better job on the boards. Other thing is we have to do a better job on Jerry Mcnamara. He hit some big 3s against us to give Syracuse some momentum.

Q. (Inaudible) that's probably as far as you played away from the basket on defense.

MIKE SWEETNEY: It's a big adjustment but I had to do what I had to do to help my team win.

Q. Gerald, talk about the shot that you -- (inaudible) --

GERALD RILEY: The shot fortunately I was in a good position at the end of the game. My teammates found me on the wing and I had the shot so I just took it and it went in. So it was a big shot down the stretch. I am proud of my teammates finding me on the wing.

Q. Were you guys planning to pass the ball around that long before you finally took the shot three?

GERALD RILEY: Yes. Like he said Mike, he's a force down low, and the whole game we was just looking to get the ball to the side. It kind of took some of it out of our rhythm because we do want to get the ball to Mike whenever we can. We just want to pass the ball around and look for the cleanest shot that we can get.

Q. Comment on meeting Syracuse tomorrow night?

MIKE SWEETNEY: Pretty big challenge for us. We have to come ready to play. Big game for us we need to get to our team goals. We have to come and be ready to play and step up.

End of FastScripts...

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