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March 21, 2008

Corey Fisher

Antonio Pena

Scottie Reynolds

Jay Wright


THE MODERATOR: Coach, opening comments, please.
COACH JAY WRIGHT: I'd first like to say how much respect we have for Clemson and Oliver Purnell, how he has gotten that team. We play against teams that play hard in the Big East, and man, there is nobody that plays harder than that team. They just keep coming and coming. In the first half when they got it to like 36-18, I was thinking, can they keep this up for 40 minutes? And they did. I just think that's a credit to Oliver, how hard he gets them to play.
Our guys know they want to battle. Everybody's hurt, everybody's tired, everybody's dehydrated. They just physically wore us down. But I tell you these guys right here, these two little guards play with so much heart, and they really grew up tonight. And Antonio Peña as a freshman was just outstanding. He played with great toughness against a very good team.
THE MODERATOR: Questions to the student-athletes.

Q. Scottie, you're down 18 at one point in the first half, 12 at halftime. What does Coach say? What do you say to yourselves at half?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: We've been in this position before. It's just like the Georgetown game, except they hit just 7 and Georgetown hit 10 in the first half. So we felt that at the same time we felt that we didn't want to let this time slip away, you know. We felt that in the Georgetown game we just let up, we just gave in. In this game we just wanted to be persistent, and just keep grinding out. Have that mentality that if they're going to beat us, man, it's going to take 40 minutes.

Q. Scottie, that game seemed to be as physical as any of the Big East games we've seen this year. Can you explain, maybe compare it to a Big East game?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Yeah, this game was, I could say it was like a Big East game. I think that their guys, their post players were physical, and Hammonds was up on me pretty much the whole game. Right now I told Coach at the end of the game, I was like, I feel like I've been playing on blacktop. My feet are burning right now. I don't know if that's because I've got a problem or if it was because I was just running so hard.
But it was a track meet out there. You know, for them to keep it up for 40 minutes and us sticking with it, I think that was impressive.

Q. Corey, you really have not played that much, four of the last five games, what was it like to be out there and contributing? How did you stay positive?
COREY FISHER: Like I said, I didn't play that much. I'm a freshman. When you go to schools like Villanova, a lot of people don't get the chance to play. I just work hard every day in practice, and I just kept a positive attitude. And I got guys like Antonio and Scottie, and Coach Wright that I look up to. And I just knew I couldn't let them down tonight.

Q. Scottie, when you guys are seeing the scores coming out of here today, what goes through your head? After what happened yesterday, everything kind of held to form in the tournament. Were you expecting the lid to kind of pop off today and everything to break loose?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Are you talking about the scores around the tournament? No, we had a chance. We were laying up most of the day, so we had a chance to watch most of the games. We just saw so many great competitiveness on each -- all over the country. We felt that we had two here in Tampa. We felt that we had to come out and match the intensity, just like everybody else in this tournament. If you're not excited to be out there in front of however many and having the chance to perform and play Villanova basketball for 40 minutes, then you shouldn't be stepping on the floor. Because the feeling out there is just unbelievable.
I'm so happy that these guys, like Antonio and Fisher got to experience the win. It was my first win, too. But them just being so excited to be in the NCAA Tournament, and us coming out with the win, I'm just so happy for them.

Q. Scottie, you said you guys felt like you gave in a little bit against Georgetown. How do you mean? Like you accepted the outcome before you had to, that kind of thing?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: You know, I think well, we took the lead in the Georgetown game. Georgetown's a great team, and they countered each time we made a run. But I think in this game we just wanted to be reminded, you know, that we have to come back with plays, too. They're going to make plays. We'll have turnovers.
You know, when you're getting pressed 94 by 50 feet the whole game, you're going to have some turnovers. You're going to have calls that are not going to go your way. Coach talked about that before the game, during the game and everything. You know, you just have to play through it. We just felt that we had to grow up. We had to grow up today.
But Clemson did a great job of just, you know, just playing for 40 minutes and playing tough. James and Rivers and Hammonds did a great job of just pushing that team.

Q. You're going to be playing a 13 seed in Siena, what, if anything, do you know about them?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: They played a heck of a game just before us. That's about it. Our assistant coach, Andrew Francis was our assistant coach last year and he's there now. So he probably has a pretty good game plan for us. That's probably going to be the best scouting that anybody's going to get because he came from our program and everything, so.

Q. It seems that Clemson's style of play, their up-tempo, wide open offense kind of facilitates your style of play and with less of a half-court offense and more of a run-and-gun style, can you talk about your comfort level out there on the court tonight.
COREY FISHER: I felt real comfortable because Coach Wright was telling me all day that they're going to press for 40 minutes. So if you get a chance to get in the lane and make a play with somebody, just do that. So I felt real confident when I got in the game. I just saw an open teammate. If I didn't see him, I would take my drive. And then if I had a teammate open, I'd pass the ball.

Q. Antonio, I just want to get your perspective on how physical it got down low in the blocks for you.
ANTONIO PEÑA: It got real physical. They're a tough front team. They got some good players. Mayes, Booker, and the other kid. They're pretty good down low. They gave me a fight every possession.

Q. Just to follow-up, did you feel more comfortable in that regard? And I guess Scottie and Corey as well, because they're not great at the free-throw line. They're one of the poorest free throw shooting teams. Did you feel like if you got them to the line, you'd be okay?
ANTONIO PEÑA: Yeah, at points in times. Like there was one point in time when Scott Booker was open and Scottie fouled him. And he said, he's not a good free thrower, so we went with that. But there were times where we felt they weren't really good at the free-throw line.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, gentlemen. We'll open the floor for questions for Coach Wright.

Q. What were your thoughts when you got nailed with the technical?
COACH JAY WRIGHT: You know, honestly, I was hoping I didn't blow it for us. I really was. And I deserved it. I deserved it. I let a curse word come out. So I didn't mean to, but I did. So I deserved it. And that's all I can say. You know, when you do that, you've got to forget about it. You tell the players all the time, next play. So you've got to forget about it. But in the back of your mind you're hoping this doesn't cost us.

Q. No regional had ever had three lower seeds advance.
COACH JAY WRIGHT: Was it three or four today?

Q. It was four. None had ever had three, today we had four. Can you speak to the insanity of what we witnessed here?
COACH JAY WRIGHT: We're watching those games. We're watching the 5-12s, and hoping the 12 doesn't win, because we know that usually happens. And our staff saw I believe it was Western Kentucky-Drake, right? That was one upset. We're like all right, now we can't do it. And then you watch Siena do it. Then you watch UCONN. And we're like it's not going to happen four times in a row, there's no way. But once the game starts you forget about it.
But we watched them all. We'd be lying if you don't think, how many times is that going to happen, four at one site? As I said, once you start the game you forget all about that stuff. But we saw them all.

Q. What was the curse word, and I'd like to follow up?
COACH JAY WRIGHT: I can't remember now, I can't remember. It wasn't that bad, but I did say it. I can't remember, honestly, I can't remember.

Q. Like you'd tell me. What did you say at halftime being down 12, after being down 18 and kind of clawing back a little bit?
COACH JAY WRIGHT: We really talked about this was exactly like Georgetown. Georgetown made ten threes in the first half against us; they made seven. Stitt was 3-for-3, we were shooting 20% from three, and we were backing off him. So then we had to come out and pressure their perimeter players because they were shooting the ball great. And we said, we withstood this against Georgetown, and we took the lead in the second half. This time we're going to do it, and we're going to finish it. That's what Scottie was talking about. When we got the lead back, Scottie was yelling in the huddle, now we're going to finish this. We didn't do it last time, but we're going to finish this one.
I think they grew up today. I think they learned from that Georgetown game and it came through today. As I said, if you play against a team that once you took the lead gave in on you, it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but these guys were great, so that was big for us.

Q. This may be more of a fair question for you than Scottie, but what do you know about Siena?
COACH JAY WRIGHT: I know a lot because Andrew Francis, the guy they're talking about was our assistant. And Fran McCaffery is a good friend of mine. And Mitch Buonoguro was on Villanova's championship staff. And Coach Massimino is here tonight. I know he's going to have a tough time tomorrow, because Mitch won him a National Championship when he was an assistant. I didn't do anything for him. So he's going to have a tough time going between Siena and Villanova, but I think Villanova's in his blood.
But I know those guards are outstanding and they control the game. And those forwards are tough and they can step out and handle the ball. It's like playing four perimeter -- excuse me, five perimeter players on offense. But on defense those guys are thick and strong in the post. And they have a great concept of time and score, and how to use the shot clock when you play against great guards like that, that's what wins in this tournament. Our guards did that tonight against the pressure. Those guards really control the tempo of the game, and we're going to have our hands full.

Q. You talked about pressure on the perimeter players, but was there anything that you did differently in the second half defensively? You held them to 25% as opposed to like 50 in the first half?
COACH JAY WRIGHT: We just had to get out and more aggressive on the perimeter and take more chances. In the first half we tried to play a little bit more conservatively because we were concerned about their offensive rebounds. We didn't want to get overextended, but they just killed us from three. So we had to go out and extend our defense, and take chances and trap. You know, it worked out.
We could have done that and gotten blown out, too, we knew that. That's happened to us before.

Q. You guys made such great strides early in this second half, then had you to take Cunningham out. Did you worry about keeping it together during that stretch which turned out to be 6 or 8 minutes, something like that?
COACH JAY WRIGHT: Yeah, I really did a lot. I don't know if you noticed, but one time I went and put him at the scorer's table and just while I was there, it went to a defensive possession, and I pulled him back and said we can't do this. But I wanted him in there so bad. And Dwayne Anderson went down with cramps. He's our other leader. That's when I was really concerned.
But Shane Clark gave us great minutes just defensively, and playing solid like an upperclassman. He's a junior. And Reggie Redding has been hurt all week with his ankle. He was hobbling around out there. I think he did a great job. So I think Reggie, Shane, and Corey Stokes did a great job picking up Dante and Dwayne.

Q. Six days ago you weren't even sure you were going to be in this tournament, now Sunday you're going to be wearing your home uniform. Can you just talk about how crazy this journey has been.
COACH JAY WRIGHT: I hope we brought our home uniforms. I never thought to ask that. I wouldn't have brought them.
It is, it's incredible. This group we have our rule, you know, we only have a couple freshmen on the floor at a time. I'm looking out there, and we've got three of them out there and they really got it done tonight. I just think that's what this NCAA Tournament is all about. They don't know they're not supposed to win. They don't know they're not supposed to have white jerseys. I don't know if they know the difference between what wearing the white and blue means. They just love to play. They love to play hard, and they're really fun to coach. We're enjoying this. We're really enjoying this. But we enjoy working hard. We're going to go back to work tomorrow.

Q. What do you make of this day that we saw here, four games, capping with you coming from 18 down? I know you know what happened earlier. But four games in a row like this in one building?
COACH JAY WRIGHT: It's incredible. I'm sure this is going to be talked about. They're going to have some name for this. I don't know, it's got to be the Tampa Turmoil or something. It's incredible what happened here today. We watched all the games, and as I said, we kept saying damn, another upset. That's going to make it tough on us.
But I tell you what, it's a pretty nice place to be in the NCAA Tournament. All of our fans were thanking us more for the site of Tampa than getting into the tournament. And all the people here have done a great job. You're going to have some wild -- we're going to have some wild games Sunday, think about it. It's just going to be something historical in the NCAA Tournament.

Q. You said you were worried earlier in the week about the guys maybe being just relieved to get into the tournament and not focusing as much on the job at hand. Obviously, that wasn't a problem tonight. But now you're going to be wearing white. You are supposed to win, if you want to look at it that way. What sort of emotional thing do you have to give them when they're in that standpoint now? They're not the underdogs.
COACH JAY WRIGHT: I think they get it now. I really do. I think this is going to -- I think we really grew up a lot tonight. I really do. Like I said, finishing, getting behind. We've gotten behind and come back. We've won some games. But against this quality of a team and doing it in the NCAA Tournament with guys hurt, guys in foul trouble, I think we really gained a lot of confidence tonight.
I think they watched -- I know they watched Siena. That was a very impressive game. It wasn't just like they got lucky. They controlled that game from the tap. They know Coach Francis. They know he's going to have them ready for us. I think that he's going to let them know. They're going to know everything we do. Mitch Buonoguro knows everything we do, and Frank McCaffrey knows a lot of what we do. It's going to be a battle. They have so much respect for those guys. I just take it one game at a time. I think for the next one, we're going to be okay. They're going to bring it, they'll play hard. Now if we can beat Siena, I don't know.

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