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March 11, 2009

Sharad Curry

Keno Davis

Weyinmi Efejuku

Jeff Xavier


Providence – 83
DePaul - 74

COACH KENO DAVIS: I think overall, you know, what you saw today is why I've been so proud of this team. I'm not disappointed that we weren't able to win any easier than that. I'm very proud that we were able to battle through and find a way to win. It's kind of been the story of us all year, isn't it, those games we found a way, even when we haven't played our best basketball, we've been able to dig down and find another level, whether it's rebounding, whether it's running the court, whether it's our pressure, found a way to win games.
And so a lot of people remember our wins, you know, last second win against, you know, URI or a win against Pittsburgh, the number one team, or Syracuse, they'll remember those big-name games for us, but it's really these kind of games that have set us apart from the other teams in that we've been able to go through the Big East season and get a winning record, it's because of games like this.
JOHN PAQUETTE: Questions, please.

Q. Did it take you 32 minutes to get your offense going?
COACH KENO DAVIS: Well, I think first and foremost I have to credit DePaul. I think people outside the Big East that haven't seen them play. They see the record, you know, for the overall season and they think that's not a very good team, but, you know, I talked to several people that I know, NBA scouts and other friends that got to see them play yesterday. They said, how is that possible, you know, with their record. But that's the Big East for you. That's when there's not many days off and there's finding a top 25 team each and every night just about, and you get a couple injuries and young people and that's what DePaul is up against. They've got some great young players that are playing by far their best basketball and, you know, they did some things to disrupt us. They knocked down some shots. They controlled the tempo. I think for that part of the game, I think you got to give them the credit.

Q. Do you think they got tired, do you think DePaul kind of hit a wall in the last several minutes?
COACH KENO DAVIS: I was expecting them to get tired before that, you know, playing the day before and playing a lot of guys 40 minutes. But I think their adrenaline kept them going that long. And we were trying to use more pressure defense than we have in a long time even though we haven't practiced it a whole lot, because we felt playing DePaul that was -- you know, a way for us to win the game. We stayed with them even though they knocked down some jumpers and made it look not so good there in stretches, but to be able to try to wear them down, get them in foul trouble is what we talked about before the game and stayed with that plan even when it wasn't going our way.

Q. Did you expect them to shoot the 3 ball that well from beyond?
COACH KENO DAVIS: You know, I think we knew who on their team were capable, you know, shooters, guys that could have a hot hand, and those are the guys you want to make sure you take away. I would have to kind of look back at it, sometimes you have a feeling after the game of how you played on shooters and you go back and you watch the tape and you realize that they made really tough shots or you go back and look and say, well, our defense wasn't very good, we gave them open shots.
I'm really not sure until I go back and look at it, but I know they're capable. I knew they were improving as a team. Sometimes you just don't see it with the quality of schedule you face each and every night.

Q. Keno, how would you assess the team's chances to this point; do you feel you've done enough or do you feel you need win this game tomorrow?
COACH KENO DAVIS: I think we've done enough that we're going to be considered strongly. I think we're squarely on the bubble and so I know that playing Louisville tomorrow, win or lose, you know, I don't think it hurts us if we lose.
I think that, you know, there's not going to be many people that are going to expect us to beat the team that won the Big East, and I think in my mind are definitely deserving of a number one seed in the overall tournament regardless of what they do down here.
We're up against it, playing, you know, back-to-back days but if I learned anything from this team, is you don't ever count this team out.

Q. Keno, can you talk about the full court trap you guys used at various points during the game?
COACH KENO DAVIS: Yeah. We felt yesterday when we were watching, scouting the Cincinnati/DePaul game that Cincinnati had bothered DePaul with some of their pressure and playing back-to-back days that we wanted to try to give them a good shot of our full court pressure, and our three-quarter court pressure and, you know, when we were behind and we weren't getting the momentum. I just felt like if we would stay with them there, would be a run where we would get three, four steals in a row and be able to maybe pull away, pull away. We made that run in the first half, with our pressure defense. It didn't give us any cushion and then DePaul came down and knocked some big shots out of the pressure, out of transition and in the half court to kind of keep us at arm's length.

Q. Keno, do you still think having all 16 teams is a good idea?
COACH KENO DAVIS: I don't think there's any doubt it's a great idea. Had DePaul beat us, I wouldn't have thought so much. In my mind, the NCAA tournament field, when people talk about extending that field, well, that's your conference tournament is really start it for some team. It started for DePaul. They get a chance to play in this. If not, you know, last two, three weeks of the season they don't get to experience, you know, Madison Square Garden, experience the Big East tournament, and guess what we got to see yesterday, a great upset. Come in there and win a game and almost win two. It's not going to surprise me -- everybody said it wouldn't happen, nobody would win four games and then Syracuse did and you know some day it might be awhile but some day there's going to be a run where a team comes from that first day, and makes a run all the way to the tournament and you know, I think that will answer a lot of critics.

Q. Coach, can you talk about that first meeting with Louisville and what you see, you know, the second half of that first meeting kind of where it got away from you; what do you see doing different?
COACH KENO DAVIS: I think it shows when we came in at halftime and we were up one at their place, it shows that we can play with anybody in the country. It also showed when we shot 75 percent that we had to play about perfect to beat them at their place.
But we met with the team after a tough loss at Villanova the last game of the year and said, you know, we're done with playing on the road.
Now, we get neutral games and we've got an opportunity, we can play with anybody in this league. It might take our best game to beat them but I know our guys are going to be striving to play that best game and as long as the effort is the way it was there in the last, you know, 10, 15 minutes of the game today, you know, I'll be pretty proud as a coach.
JOHN PAQUETTE: Any questions for the players, please? Kevin.

Q. Weyimni, can you talk about the early start, can you point to anything that you guys obviously didn't play as well awe wanted to in the first half?
Are you a morning person?
WEYINMI EFEJUKU: I'm an anytime person. I think it's like what coach said, they came out and played great defense on us. We missed some shots we wanted to make. They made a bunch of shots and just got going.

Q. Just talk about deepening the 3-point line. Obviously, they shot -- I don't know how many they shot.
COACH KENO DAVIS: (They shot from 3) 13-31.
WEYINMI EFEJUKU: I thought we were contesting the shots, but they just went on a run. They started hitting some tough shots, Tucker and Walker and both hit a bunch of tough shots and they had the big kid come in and hit a couple and just executed their offense.

Q. Sharaud, how did you guys regroup after you were down, after the technical foul, how did you regroup to come back and overcome a deficit?
SHARAD CURRY: We came together. We knew DePaul was playing great and, you know, we just tried to keep fighting and you know keep working hard. We were chipping away and once they got the technical foul, you know, I think that kind of fired us up a little bit and seeing Keno fight for us, you know, he does a great job of doing that, at the right time and I think, you know, that inspired us to go out and play even harder.

Q. This is for any of the players. Was the mindset different coming into the game today; coming to New York in the past hasn't been too successful?
JEFF XAVIER: Me personally? Not at all. I wasn't thinking about anything in the past, what we did the past four years with these guys at Madison Square Garden. I just came in with the mindset of who we're playing. We found out yesterday we were playing DePaul. I had the mindset we're coming in and show them what we're about. Come with the victory. None of these three guys were thinking about what we did in the past. We were thinking about what we could do today.
JOHN PAQUETTE: Any other questions, please? Providence, thank you.

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