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March 22, 2013

JayVaughn Pinkston

Jay Wright

Mouphtaou Yarou


North Carolina – 78
Villanova – 71

JOE DALFONSO:  We're joined by Villanova head coach Jay Wright and student‑athletes.  We'll start with an opening statement by Coach Wright.
COACH WRIGHT:  Well, I want to congratulate North Carolina.  They did what they do well, and we didn't stop it like we wanted to.  11 threes for them and four for us, I think that was the key to the game.  That's what they do.  We wanted to stop it and we couldn't.
But I'm proud of this team.  I'm proud of their effort.  We got down 20.  They never quit.  Done that all year for us.  Great leadership by Mouphtaou.  JayVaughn is a warrior.  I'm very proud of this whole group.
JOE DALFONSO:  Questions, please.

Q.  Jay, what does it tell you about this group, how far they've come to be down to Carolina and take the lead at one point?
COACH WRIGHT:  They've done this all year.  They got a great love for one another.  They're tough guys.  They got faith in what we do.
In the first half, we were down 20.  We kept saying, This is a long game, keep doing what we do, keep grinding.  And they did.
We had a lead, then we got it back.  We had it down four, got a steal, JayVaughn had a layup.  They battled all year.  I'm proud of them.  Right now it hurts, but I am proud of this group.

Q.  Mouphtaou, could you talk about what it's meant to you to play at Villanova?  Jay, if you could talk about what it's been like to coach him.
MOUPHTAOU YAROU:  I learned a lot from just playing for Villanova.  I met a lot of great people.  Coach Wright helped me a lot through ups and downs.  He was right there with me pushing me.  He always believe in me.
I had like three great years.  But this year was mostly the best.  We lost to Columbia, we won against some tougher team.  The locker room was great.  We were brothers.  I really enjoy.  I enjoy it.
COACH WRIGHT:  Mouphtaou has definitely been one of my favorite guys to coach.  I think he's come as far as anyone.
As a freshman, he was diagnosed with hepatitis B.  We actually had to have a talk where if you can't ever play, you're still going to be on scholarship at Villanova and be part of this family.  He had already given so much to the university just in the student body.
He's gotten so much better.  I think he's one of the best forwards in the country.  He can rebound with anybody, he can shoot with anybody, defends on the perimeter, defends on the post.  He was a great leader for us.
As a coach, you have guys that come a long way, he's come so far as a player and a man.  One of my favorites to coach.

Q.  Coach talked about the inability to stop North Carolina shooting from three.  On the other hand, why do you feel y'all were struggling to get your three‑point shooting going tonight?
JAYVAUGHN PINKSTON:  I don't think we were struggling.  It was just we wasn't in rhythm of knocking down shots.  We have great shooters, but they just wasn't knocking down shots tonight.
But we gonna get better, though.
COACH WRIGHT:  Yeah, you know, when we saw the matchup with Carolina, the nightmare was three‑point shooting.  We don't have great quickness on this team.  That's why we've struggled defending the three.
We worked really hard on trying to prevent them from getting threes.  They do a great job.  They know you're trying to stop their threes.  They do a great job of making extra passes, hitting screeners for threes.
Like JayVaughn said, I agree, we got good looks.  They did a good job on a couple contests.  But we got good looks, just didn't hit 'em.  Sometimes you got to play good enough defense to win when you don't hit your threes.

Q.  Jay, you took much better care of the ball in the second half.  How much of an emphasis did you make that at halftime?  What really turned the game around?  Things just started going better that weren't?
COACH WRIGHT:  For whatever reason, you know, to start the game, we were just a step behind.  A lot of those turnovers, they were the right pass, someone didn't come and meet the pass.
With the three‑point shooters early, we lost Bullock a couple times early, lost Hairston early.  We settled in and started to execute our game plan.  But you can't get down 20 to a team like North Carolina.  They're too good.  They're too smart.  They're well‑coached.  They're not going to give it back to you.

Q.  Jay, you had a spot of about 16 minutes where Carolina didn't make a three, then they made a rash of threes.  How delicate is it from actually keeping them from getting those looks and then them getting them?
COACH WRIGHT:  It was like JayVaughn was saying, if they get in rhythm, they're going to stick 'em.  We were playing great defense.  I know the three that was in the left corner that Bullock hit that broke that streak.  It was just a breakdown for us.  We were in good position defensively, we just didn't deny him.  He caught it in rhythm.
We had a good series there defensively where we were getting up and denying them, forcing them to put the ball on the floor, not letting Hairston and Bullock get touches.  That's what really got us back in the game.

Q.  I know the disappointment is huge right now.  But when you start looking ahead to next year, having Darrun back and Arch back and you back.  How do you think next year could be a special year when you look ahead?
JAYVAUGHN PINKSTON:  It's going to play a big role because we returning everybody except for Mouph and Mo, as you said.  We got two great freshmen that are coming in that's willing to buy into our core values.  It's going to be a fun year next year.  I'm looking forward to it.
COACH WRIGHT:  I agree.  I think the guys understand what they've learned.  I think everybody's upset right now.  We really wanted to do this for Mo and Mouph.  They were great seniors, Mouphtaou in his leadership and Mo not playing as much as he wanted to, but keeping a great attitude.  We had two great seniors.  I think that's why we're down right now.  I think in a week when we can think about next year, we'll be excited.
We thought we were good enough to win this game, we really did.  But you've got to give Carolina credit.  We didn't play as well as they did tonight.
JOE DALFONSO:  Gentlemen, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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