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March 11, 2010

Lazar Hayward

Darius Johnson-Odom

Buzz Williams


Marquette – 80
Villanova - 76

THE MODERATOR: We have Darius Johnson-Odom and Lazar Hayward and Coach Buzz Williams.
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: I guess I missed this part yesterday. I apologize for being late. I didn't realize I had to walk this far to get here.
I think Villanova is arguably one of the best teams we've played since I've been at Marquette. So hard to guard. Every one of the guys they bought on the floor can pass, dribble and shoot. They keep you in constant rotation because of their ability to penetrate, and I thought they were outstanding. Very well prepared. And we struggled to guard them. It's very hard to win games when your opponent shoots 54% and outrebounds you by five.
But our guys hung in there. We were a little out of sorts over the last minute, because we were concerned that the scoreboard malfunctioned. We ended up winning by four. It's been a long time since we've done that. And so we're thankful that it ended the way it did.

Q. Buzz, can you talk about the play of Darius and Jimmy today in responding after the days they had yesterday?
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: I've said this all along about our team, I said that before the BIG EAST season started, we'll be better than fine. I just don't know when that time will be. And I've said all along about D.J., I saw D.J. play for about seven minutes when I recruited him. That was it. That was all I needed to see. I think he's really hard to guard, and I think he does a great job of forcing help.
And I think what's happened with Jimmy is he's a mismatch nightmare in a lot of ways because his intelligence level allows him to guard a variety of people. His length allows him to guard a variety of people. And for those same reasons, he does a good job of exploiting mismatches offensively. And when he rebounds the ball, when he gets eight rebounds we're probably in good shape. And that was what was so hard for us yesterday. We need him to play. I didn't ever take him out of the game, huh? Yeah, both of them. Outstanding.
But at the same time, I thought Cuby (Cubillan) is playing with an unbelievable lion's heart.

Q. Coach Williams, you shot 35% in the first half, still the score was tied at 30. How big was that going into the second half?
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: I told our guys that at halftime. I thought there was a segment there of maybe six or seven minutes where offensively we were as good as we've been. I thought our pace was great. I thought we made the extra pass. I thought we created for others. In that span of time is when we scored most of our baskets. Lazar gets in foul trouble, Mo (Acker) gets in foul trouble. The problem is those are our two bookends on both ends of the floor, and our team is out of sorts. We turned it over, even in the second half, I think we were up seven. We're turning it over against their three-quarter-court pressure. And it's because our team relies on the assistance of those two guys. And I told our guys I said, I thought we played to the scouting report about 97% the way we needed to. And if we keep fighting and turning it into a slugfest, we'll have a chance in the second half. Because I didn't think we shot the ball well. Normally we shoot it better. What did we shoot in the second? We shot 65%.

Q. Buzz, we asked you a lot about the game last year against Villanova. Does this exorcise those demons a little bit?
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Maybe if I had been doing this a long time I would have a different answer. I think Jay Wright will be in the Hall of Fame long before his career is over. And I think if you're on that trajectory in your career, that tells that you you're one of the elite in your profession. I read every word he ever says. Every single day of the year. Because I think he's a great example of what coaches should be like. I think he handles his players the right way. I think he handles and respects the game the right way.
I want to get better. I want to learn. And in the last calendar year we've played him three times and all three times total it's been a total of five points. And since I've been at Marquette, we've played him six times. So in the last 15-and-a-half months we've played him six times. That's a lot of experience of getting your tail whipped.
So I don't look at it as exorcising any demons. I think we've been in every single game we've played except for when we played at their place last year. South Florida beat us at the buzzer. We go up there and shot 78% I think in the second half. I'm just glad I get to hang around these guys one more day in New York. It's not me against Jay Wright. It's these kids.

Q. Is it easier or harder when you get into a situation like this where it's a knockout situation that you've played them already twice this season?
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Well, I think that in that stretch of games where we went 2-5, and then we won five in a row and then Pitt beat us at home, I think from that point forward -- and I mean this in the right way, I think every single game has been a miniature NCAA Tournament game for us. Our guys are smart. They are a lot smarter than I am. They knew if we got beat potentially our season was over. Maybe not at that point in time, but relative to playing in the postseason. And so there's been an underlying whatever the word would be that our guys understood, we better hook up and play every possession like it's our last.
So I don't think that they process it any different. I think our guys are about as calm as -- our guys are more calm than our fans in these games, because that's all we've been doing.

Q. Question for Darius: Going from yesterday and held in check a little bit, what was the difference from you yesterday and today when you completely took over in certain points of the game?
DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM: I think today I was attacking more, trying to create not just for myself but for my teammates. Yesterday I thought I was a little passive on both ends of the court. And I think when I come out and play like that, I help my team in so many different areas.

Q. Were you timid? Was it a little bit a product of being in the Madison Square Garden in the bright lights for the first time?
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: He doesn't even know where New York is.

Q. Lazar, you dominated inside and then you were able to have that big three. Talk about how big that shot was and how it propelled the team to victory.
LAZAR HAYWARD: I don't know if I would say I was dominating. I think I did all right. Those guys over at Villanova are really good players and they are tough and they play hard every single possession. But you know, when I had that three, I had a little space, and I seen he had his hands down. I just shot it and it was a rhythm shot. So, you know, Coach never gets mad if we shoot rhythm threes. It went in and it definitely was a big momentum swing for us.

Q. Lazar, just to follow-up on the talk about calmness, how do you explain it? How do you stay so calm in the frenzy at the end of these games?
LAZAR HAYWARD: To be honest, I really don't know. I know in every single practice, Coach really gears it up and it's wild. It's really like a football practice the way we practice every single day. And I think that's why when we get in those games and we get into the guts of a game, we're all calm because we do that every single day. And when those things happen, we're able to say ok, we've been here before. We know what we're supposed to do.

Q. Can you expand, how is it like a football practice?
LAZAR HAYWARD: I don't know. He's a very emotional coach. You see he's always revved up. And he's running around. He's saying words I can't say here. We know that's the only chance we have to win is to play extremely frantic and just play hard every single possession. Because, you know, that's the only way we know how to play.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. Coach, what will you need to do to prepare for tomorrow's game as far as resting --
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Who do we play?

Q. I guess Georgetown.
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: You asked me the question. You didn't even know who we were playing?

Q. More so for the physical factor.
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: We're fired up. These guys played AAU. They played nine or ten games a day at AAU. NCAA had to restrict what time they could start games and end games in July. That's not -- I don't mean this egotistically, I go back to what Lazar said. I grind these guys up every single day. We've had 79 practices. I try to coach their guts out over single possession. We're thankful that the game's at seven. We'll be a little anxious tomorrow. We get to sleep in and breakfast will be late. And the hotel we're staying at it will be messed up. And so we'll probably go somewhere else and eat so I don't have a meltdown. And then we'll come over here and shoot balls and -- the game is at seven? That's a six o'clock game in Milwaukee. Our guys will be excited. We'll be fine. We'll be fine.

Q. Lazar, when it's getting late in the game, we talk about the staying calm and all that, does it help you guys to have seen them twice before this year and have a pretty good idea of what they're going to do?
LAZAR HAYWARD: I would say so. Every team in this league is very, very tough. We have the opportunity to play each team. So, you know, we kind of know the tendencies of a team. Our coaches do a great job of scouting teams. But, you know, when we have a coach like Buzz and, you know, we can kind of look over there and look into his eyes, we can see that we're all right. And just carries on from him all the way to us. The guys, they'll look over to me to make sure that things are ok. They'll look into my eyes and they see I have energy and I have some fight in me. I say, ok, we can do it.
But the credit all goes to our coaches. They do a great job of preparing us for each game. And, you know, we take it all in as much as we can and we help each over, and it carries on to the court.
THE MODERATOR: Marquette, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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