March 4, 1998
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
COACH LAPPAS: More than anything else, I told the kids after the game that if we won the game in regulation it would have been a great win. But doing it the way -- it is not one that I don't know if I would remember it 20 years from now. Now it is one that I will remember 20 years from now. So, if it came out this way, not only did we get the win, but we got a heck of a memory out of it too. I thought our guys gutted it out terrifically. 12 turnovers as a team in a 50 minute game, which, for us, is incredible the way we have been with the ball at times this year. And we were down in the first overtime, down in the second overtime. These kids here, these two, they deserve it. I am happy for them. I am happy for the way they played. I am happy that they are happy. And to see some of our guys at the end of that game with tears in their eyes, it means that something special happened to us tonight.
Q. Did you think the last shot was going in? Did you have --
COACH LAPPAS: Howard's shot? Yeah, it looked good. Crazy as that sounds. Shot before that didn't look good from the time it left his hand, but that one looked good.
Q. Did you sense at any time the (inaudible) going on in either the first two overtimes; you fell behind by 4 in the first --
COACH LAPPAS: Obviously John made a huge three, I believe, at the end that was in the first overtime, I think. I get confused here about what was going on. He made a huge 3 from the NBA line when we were down 3. I don't know, probably under a minute, I guess. So, these kids made some huge plays. And that is, you know, when you win a game like that, a lot of times you have to make big plays.
Q. Did you talk in the huddle about defending Cummings' spin move?
COACH LAPPAS: Yeah, I mean, the problem is at that point, we don't want to give up 3. So if you give too much help in that situation, he kicks it. Because he is such a great player. But we knew -- we had talked about him spinning and giving enough help without leaving a guy open for three.
Q. Who made the steal?
COACH LAPPAS: I am not even sure. Do you know? John got his hands on it and Lynch picked it up.
Q. Were you trying to foul at the end of regulation?
COACH LAPPAS: No, we were not. There was -- I get confused between what was regulation, what was overtime.
Q. Cummings hit the 3-point shot.
COACH LAPPAS: No, definitely not. John makes a great block and the ball happens to land right in his hands. He made a great shot. He's a great player, no doubt about that.
Q. Does a strange game like this give you encouragement that this could be a weird tournament, that you could steal it at this point?
COACH LAPPAS: I have always felt that way from the beginning, that it could be like that - it is going to be a weird tournament. And as long as the guys play hard, as they can all the time, and that is all I can ask for. But this tournament is obviously -- you know, I was saying to somebody before the game, even though Pitt was 10th seed and we are 7th seed, it is not an upset if they beat us. The way it came out, so close together, there was 8 teams. I don't know how big -- I don't know if it would have been an upset.
Q. What about the 17 rebounds by Bigus, how --
COACH LAPPAS: Shocked me just that, when you said that. 17 rebounds.
JOHN PAQUETTE: 18.
COACH LAPPAS: Shocked. That is probably the best way to put it. These guys are shocked too.
Q. When you get the turnover, is there any concern that you are going to get the shot off at least and beat the clock, no problem?
COACH LAPPAS: It looked like -- I was glad to see that the presence of my -- I really thought that -- John, you passed the ball to Howard on that?
HOWARD BROWN: Lynch.
COACH LAPPAS: I thought we had a chance to take that to the basket. There was -- I looked up, there was 3 seconds and looked like we had the ball around halfcourt. So I am thinking, you know, maybe we have a chance going for a layup. But I will take it the way it happens.
Q. Did you get a look at the clock before you took that shot, Howard? I think the clock is above you there?
HOWARD BROWN: I didn't see it. I knew time was running out. I wanted to get the best shot I could get. I didn't want to get in the lane and get off balance and try and shoot like a floater, so I just pulled up.
Q. Did it feel good to you when it left your hands?
HOWARD BROWN: Yeah, it felt pretty good. I mean, it felt even better when it went in.
COACH LAPPAS: It looked better than it felt.
Q. Howard, talk about the pass to you. Looked like you had to kind of drift over to get it. You weren't really in stride.
HOWARD BROWN: It looked like it was to John, and John, he ran a little bit faster than Lynch expected, so Lynch threw it behind him. And I was right behind John and I was able to pick it up.
Q. When it went in, what were the emotions going through you?
HOWARD BROWN: Greatest feeling. Big time win for us. Just to fight like we did in those two overtimes and we played with the emotion throughout the whole game. To pull this out all season, we have been coming up short in these types of games. And just to see that we learned so much all season and be able to pull that one out in the end, it was just a season full of emotions.
Q. John, what has made the difference for you in your shooting over say the past 4, 5 games?
JOHN CELESTAND: I think over the past 4, 5 games, just my release, I have just been releasing it instead of thinking about the shot when I am taking it. When I was in the slump I was more or less thinking about the shot. Now I just release it, and if it goes in, it goes in. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I am not putting the pressure on myself when I release the ball. It is helping me keep my elbow straight and the arc is feeling good.
Q. Talk about the last defensive play on Cummings, how you played him as he was --
HOWARD BROWN: I really wanted to get over the pick and roll bus. I didn't want Zeffy to get on it. Would have been more like a mismatch. Zeffy played out there. He forced him to spin. I wanted to stay with it, because I knew he was going to spin. He spin, I deflected it. I ran out. I thought the pass was to me. I don't know if it got deflected. It bounced in Howard's hand and he shot the 3.
Q. When he spins like that --
HOWARD BROWN: That is his move. Coach, we were going over that, even in practice. They like to put, like, a foot on the base line. He penetrates to the hole, when you cut him off, he likes to spine. He did on me couple times. It just didn't work the last time. But he's a great player.
Q. John, Howard, alluded to how many close games you lost like this. What was your emotion when the shot went in?
HOWARD BROWN: It was great. We have been through so many tough games, losing it, win the last minute down 3, up 2, losing it. It has been disappointing. For us to win a big time game like this in a tournament, especially, and to keep ourselves alive so we can go on and play tomorrow - as Coach said, we are not worried about winning the tournament or we can -- we want to go out and put the jersey on tomorrow. I was just so happy that we can go home go to sleep and wake up tomorrow and pull the Villanova Jersey on one more time.
Q. Could you comment on Syracuse's next?
COACH LAPPAS: Think about that now? Great team. They are obviously -- they will be a little bit more rested than we are. But we are going to tee it up. Our motto is going to be let us try and put the Jersey on another day.
End of FastScripts....