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March 9, 2010

Bobby Gonzalez

Jeremy Hazell

Herb Pope

Jordan Theodore


Seton Hall - 109
Providence - 106

COACH BOBBY GONZALEZ: Start with an opening statement. You know, it was kind of like two different games. You know, obviously we got out and played great. We were up 29 or 30 or whatever it was. Believe it or not, and I know this is kind of a funny statement, you would rather be up 29 than down 29, but sometimes when you get up like that, it's not easy to stay ahead in a game that long. There's a different strategy. You try to use the clock. I maybe subbed a little bit too early. I'm not sure.
Thinking about playing Notre Dame tomorrow night. Maybe Herb Pope and Jeremy resting them a little bit. I got to taking some guys out. Obviously we had to manage foul trouble. One thing about Providence one thing they can do is they can score, so they have nothing to lose. Down 25, jacking threes, running around and they can score the ball. All of a sudden it goes to 20. And then with the three-point line and the 35-second shot clock, you know, the game is never safe today. The game is never over until that clock runs down.
So, you know, I had to put some people back in. I'm a little disappointed that we subbed, and I'm not knocking our second-team guys. But I felt like we have enough depth, we have enough players we should be able to not coast but keep a cushion and get through the game comfortably. But we weren't able to do that. Obviously I'm not taking any credit away from Providence. They came back and had a furious rally.
I'm proud of the three guys to my left. Jordan Theodore was sensational. Herb Pope was spectacular. And Jeremy Hazell had a very good game. I took him out. He maybe didn't get in a rhythm as much as the other two. Right now we're playing our best basketball. And again we're just happy to survive and advance and we're playing on Wednesday night. We have 19 wins. We're thrilled, we're excited, we're here. And it's just a great feeling.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. 30 minutes in the game did you ever think it would be a special game and did you ever think it would come down to something like that?
JEREMY HAZELL: No, not really. We came out first half, we jumped them. We came out, we spoke about -- we played them three days ago. It's going to be hard playing a team twice because we know each other. We said it was going to be a war. So Coach told us we're going to have to come out and jump them from the beginning. That's what we did.
Second half we came out first five minutes and we put it on them. But then last ten minutes they got it rolling. A couple of our guys was in foul trouble. Me, Herb. And our second team they stepped up, but Providence is a great team. Jamine Peterson, 38 points, 15 rebounds. That's a tremendous game. We didn't think he was going to do that. The first game he played us, he probably had like 6 and 4. He came out and had a breakout game.
You never know what's going to happen playing in this league. So we just happy we got the win and we are moving on to Wednesday.

Q. Jordan, can you explain what that last defensive possession was like, what was going through your mind?
JORDAN THEODORE: My whole mindset was to block him out and hope the shot doesn't go in. Jeff (Robinson) missed the free throw, so Coach wanted to us get a foul. We didn't have an opportunity to. So just that last play, it was nerve-racking but I'm happy he missed it.
COACH BOBBY GONZALEZ: Our rule on that basically is obviously I thought Jeff would make at least one out of two. We would go up now, and you don't have to worry. But I told our guys, you know, I was going call time-out; I didn't. I told them that if we can get to the guy early enough to foul him, give a foul, but you don't want -- once he's heading for that three-point line, you don't want to foul because now he whips it in. It could be a four-point play or you foul him and he gets three free-throws. And they got it up so quick because Jeff missed, they grabbed it and they outletted it that we really didn't get a chance to foul. That would be our strategy.
Luckily (Duke) Mondy missed, as Jordan said, and the ball came off. We missed 14 free throws. So, you know, on top of having a 25, 30-point lead, we didn't make our free-throws. And that's -- we caused some of the closeness in the game because we didn't close the door. We have to make our free-throws. They know that. We know that.

Q. What was your strategy in attacking Providence's zone? You were able to handle it pretty well the first 25 minutes.
JORDAN THEODORE: The whole zone thing was we played them three days ago. We know the zone pretty well coming into this game. We attacked it just by setting screens and moving the ball, you know. I was knocking down some shots. Herb was knocking down some shots. So everything it just took its course. Everything was easy.

Q. Jordan, do you guys still hope to make the NCAA Tournament, if you win the game tomorrow night?
COACH BOBBY GONZALEZ: I'll take that question. Our kids are not going to discuss that. They are just going to focus on Notre Dame. We play Notre Dame tomorrow night.
Let me just say this: We have 19 wins, we have no bad losses. We beat Notre Dame at our place. A lot of people are saying they're in. We know it's a big game. If we win, now, all of a sudden we swept Notre Dame, we have 20 wins. We'll leave it up to the people to make the decision. We want to keep playing. Right now our guys are just focused on playing Notre Dame tomorrow night. We're very excited to get to the next round and have the opportunity to play them. And that's all we care about.

Q. Going up to the shadows in the Garden, is it a pleasure to come back?
JEREMY HAZELL: It feels great, me being from Harlem, a New York kid. Playing here your high school tournaments, playoffs. It feels great. This is the best arena to play in.
I'm happy for Herb. He got his first chance to play here. He's from Aliquippa. The environment was great. Everybody treated us great. It's just a blessing to play here. I'm happy we got here, we got the win. So I'm just happy for my teammates right now.

Q. (Inaudible).
JEREMY HAZELL: Local star playing right now. Dwight Hardy from St. John's. He didn't play today. "Greedy" Peterson. He was from Brooklyn.
Eugene Harvey, Jordan (Theodore), Jemel Jackson from Lincoln. He played here. It's a lot of guys. We keep on going. But I'm just happy that we are here. We got the win.

Q. For Bobby and Herb, talking about Notre Dame is off limits. I would like to ask --

Q. How does it make it different?
COACH BOBBY GONZALEZ: Unless you're from the Selection Committee.

Q. The fact that it seems Bobby and Herb the last time you played, Notre Dame kind of switched, changed gears a little bit. They're not really as up tempo as you guys are. Certainly as up tempo as Providence. How is that going to affect you guys tomorrow night? A slightly different team than you saw four weeks ago.
HERB POPE: I think all this year we played some teams that had totally different personnel, such as Temple and other teams that run and gun. I think we learned how to win different games. I don't think that's going to affect us.

Q. (Inaudible).
COACH BOBBY GONZALEZ: I'm not interested. I'm immune to those things. I'm just focused on once again being in the Tournament, having a chance to go to the NCAA.
To finish up the Notre Dame thing, Luke Harangody actually got hurt in our game with I think it was five minutes to go in the game, or seven minutes to go in the game. And you know it was a great game. We were fortunate to win it. I think we won by three. Tory Jackson went nuts.
You have to give Mike Brey a lot of credit. They're hot, they've won four in a row. They're one of the hottest teams in the league. What they did without him is remarkable. They shoot the ball very, very well. They're a terrific team. So it's going to be a hard game. These guys know we have to play 40 minutes. We have to play much more consistent basketball. We're not going to be up 29 points tomorrow night. That's probably pretty certain.

Q. Coach, do you try to use your bench early to try to stretch things out, as far as preparing for tomorrow?
COACH BOBBY GONZALEZ: Well, I mean I think it was -- like I said, it was like two games. You know what, that might be good for us in a way. Sometimes if you are playing in a total blowout, then you just waltz into the next round and maybe you think hey, this was easy. Maybe by all of a sudden you know the crowd is going nuts, you know we have to -- it's crazy at the end. You have to play to win. Maybe that's good for us. Because I'm sure the Notre Dame game tomorrow night is going to be a possession game -- hopefully we're not the ones getting blown out and it's a tight game.
THE MODERATOR: Seton Hall, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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