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March 7, 2002

Brooks Sales

Derrick Snowden

Jay Wright


COACH JAY WRIGHT: For anyone that's followed Villanova this year, I've said this a lot of times but it's true. It was a great college basketball game. We played a great team. We have great respect for the way they play, how hard they compete. We want to be that kind of team. And I'm proud, I'm proud of our guys and how much they've grown this year. And that we're able to play a team like Connecticut like that and be right there. You know, we're learning how to finish it. We've finished some and we haven't finished others. But I think they made a big play at the end. We had a chance to make the big play. Gordon made it; Gary didn't. But Gary shot it with confidence, and that's all we can ask for. I'm proud of them. I'll take that any time.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Jay, the last play of the game, was that exactly what you wanted? If you were going to go down, that's how you wanted to go down?

COACH JAY WRIGHT: Yeah. Obviously, we always give Snow the opportunity to make a decision. But he knew that we were going to get Gary off that screen for a three. We wanted to win it with a three but we also gave Snow the opportunity to make a play on his own. I thought he made a great decision. I thought he had great composure getting the ball. Brooks set a great screen. You know, just didn't make the shot. But, you know, in a lot of -- in these guys' careers they're going to be in a lot of games like that. Sometimes they'll make them, sometimes they won't. We got the right shot and I liked our execution.

Q. Talk about how many guys stepped up in the first half when Gary didn't have it. You got five guys that double figured.


Q. How pleased were you that you were right there at half time without Gary's point contribution?

COACH JAY WRIGHT: I think that's a sign of this team's growth. Andrew Sullivan is stepping up as a scorer. Brooks has done everything in his career. He's starting to assert himself offensively. He's got the ability, just always kind of let other people do it. He's done all the dirty work. But he did it. Snow did it. Reggie Bryant. I mean, you know, I think we're a good team. You know, it took us some time, but I think we're a good team. I think we got beat by a great team tonight.

Q. You're up 4 with 2:49 to go. What were you telling the guys in the huddle to keep them ahead?

COACH JAY WRIGHT: We were still trying to be aggressive. We only went one possession where we tried to run the clock down. And on that possession they doubled Snow and Snow got to the foul line for a jumper, which we always tell him to do. You know, I probably made a mistake. In one timeout we ran a cut for Snow. We reversed one of our normal cuts to the left when he lost it off his foot. I shouldn't have put him in that position. But, you know, our guys made good plays. Reggie Bryant got a great three. We got a jump hook for Ricky Wright, and we got a foul-line jumper for Snow. So other than that turnover, which I think was more my fault for trying to be too tricky, I like what they did. I like what the guys did.

Q. Is this game kind of epitomizing the season you've had in terms of determination?

COACH JAY WRIGHT: Yeah, you know, we've played Connecticut twice. We like -- we like their style of play. We like that they play great defense. They rebound. They play hard. They play with great heart. That's a team that kind of gives us a barometer for where we are. I feel very good. Again, you know, there's a lot of tears in that locker room. We're very upset. But, you know, I feel good about where this team is playing and where this program is. I feel great for Brooks Sales, who just has given everything this year and has been a great leader. And it is, it's about what happened. You know, you follow us, you know. We've come a long way. And we're looking forward to playing more. We are.

Q. Snow, talk about the last play and what you saw as you dribbled down court.

DERRICK SNOWDEN: They kind of played me kind of tight. I figured they were going to blitz me on the ball screen. I figured I had a chance of making the shot. I knew he was going to screen for Gary. I drew the two defenders, and when he went to screen for Gary, gave him the ball. That's the play we wanted to run. Just didn't go down for us.

Q. Coach, I know you have some more basketball to play obviously. Can you talk about how you finished the season. There's a lot of courage you guys showed the last two nights. Can you talk about that. And, in general, where the program is heading to, as a question as well.

COACH JAY WRIGHT: Thanks, I appreciate that. Because courage is important to us. And I know fans and people look at it differently. They want us to win right away. I understand that; they should. But within our family, we got to look at different things. We got to look at do we play hard every night? Do we compete hard every night? Do we play to the level of the teams in this conference? Do we have the courage? UCONN's got courage. Ben Gordon's got courage. He hit a big-time shot. I'll put my guys up against them any time. Right now. It hasn't been easy. It's been harder on them than me. We want to play more. We're looking forward to hopefully playing in the NIT. I hope we get a bid. We want to play. Because we like -- we've really come together as a team, as a family. We lose Brooks, which we're going to miss a lot, but these guys are going to get a lot of experience hopefully in the NIT. You know, we're excited about it if we get the bid.

Q. Brooks, I know it's hard to put it all in perspective right now. But do you take pride personally in what happened this season?

BROOKS SALES: Yeah. You know, Coach came in from the start, you know, he was demanding. And, you know, every day in practice, you could just see it in our guys, the determination. There's no other team I'd rather go into battle with than these guys right here.

Q. Jay, you know, earlier in the year you talked about this team having to learn how to be tough. Did they learn that over the last half of the season? Is that something they learned the last ten games?

COACH JAY WRIGHT: I think so. We've lost a lot of games like this, which you guys have seen. But we lost them in different ways. You know, we kind of gave them away. I thought we played good defense. Gordon hit a good shot. We contested it. Sometimes we didn't execute it down the stretch with turnovers. We got the shot we wanted. We got three shots we wanted, we just didn't make the shots. That, again, like counting turnovers, good ones and bad ones. You count your losses. We have to do that. I understand fans don't have to do that, the media doesn't have to do that. We do right now because we're learning how to build this program the way we want to. Please don't mistake that for how upset we are and how we came into this tournament. We wanted to win this tournament and be good enough to do it at this time of the year. But when you see the loss here, you realize you're just not good enough yet. But you're close. And that's the way I want to look at it. We're close. We want to keep playing and we want to keep getting better. Thanks, guys.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Villanova.

End of FastScripts...

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