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BIG EAST CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 13, 2014


Patrick Auda

Sterling Gibbs

Eugene Teague

Kevin Willard


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

Seton Hall ¬Ė 64
Villanova - 63


Q.  Sterling, what was the plan there?  Was it kind of a scramble thing, or was that the plan to take it?
STERLING GIBBS:¬† It ended up being a little bit of a scramble.¬† The plan kind of got switched up a little bit because of something someone‑‑
EUGENE TEAGUE:  A little bit?
STERLING GIBBS:  Yeah, a lot of bit.  In the end, it was supposed to get in my hands, and I was supposed to create a shot for my teammates or create a shot for myself, and I just stepped back and hit the jumper.

Q.  Sterling, can you describe what it's like to win this game on this stage.
STERLING GIBBS:  It was big time.  You beat the No.3 team in the country, it's always a good feeling.  You go into the game with the big game plan.  You come into the tournament knowing that you have to win four games in four days.  So to just get one step closer to that is definitely a great feeling.

Q.  You certainly know a whole lot about Big East basketball.  Your brother, of course, played here four years as a member of the Pitt Panthers.  What does it mean to you to play in the Big East, and better yet, be the hero in a big tournament like this, knocking out a tough team like Villanova?
STERLING GIBBS:  It's a good feeling.  I think you should give Patrik and Eugene a lot more credit than me.  I just hit one shot, and they hit a whole lot more shots than I did.  They kept us in the game.

Q.  Coach, what does it say about your team as they fall behind after having a big lead, and then coming back and win the game down the stretch.
COACH KEVIN WILLARD:¬† We never really got rattled.¬† We got rattled a little bit when they jumped on us.¬† When it was 47‑44, we talked about getting back and getting stops.¬† We got two big stops in a row, and then Fuquan hit a big three, and Sterling's pass to Jaren for the three was big.
These guys have showed great character all year.¬† They've battled through a lot of injuries.¬† They battled through tough losses.¬† I think that's our ninth one‑point game this year.¬† These guys have a lot of heart.¬† They have a lot of character, and they deserve to win.

Q.¬† Coach, you got the shirt that the guys always wear, "The Pirate Way".¬† Can you just talk a little bit about‑‑ is there something about‑‑
COACH KEVIN WILLARD:  No, it's Adidas (laughter).

Q.  You got a little plug for them.
COACH KEVIN WILLARD:  The last thing I know about "The Pirate Way" is probably being on a ship and burying buried treasure.  It's nice they sent us new shirts for the tournament.

Q.¬† Then let me just ask, all these one‑point games, is there something about this team down the stretch?
COACH KEVIN WILLARD:¬† I mean, I'll be honest with you.¬† I think we've had six one‑point losses, it takes a lot out of you.¬† And one of the referees told me the other night, he said, he's never seen a team go through what we've gone through and still come back and play hard every night.
I just think it's the character of these guys.  They showed up every night.  They showed up for the most part every practice.  And they've played extremely hard.
So for these guys to get some success for all the effort and hard work they put in, as a coach, that's what you're most happy about.

Q.  Patrik, you were pretty dominant in the first half tonight.  What was the importance of fouling out last night and coming back strong tonight?
PATRIK AUDA:  I think we're all really excited about the win yesterday, and they just kind of got us going.  So I was really excited to play today again, especially yesterday I was in a little bit of foul trouble and didn't play that many minutes.  So I was just ready to go right from the beginning.

Q.  Coach, for so many years, this year to last year, your two big guys were out part of the time.  How important was it for today's game to get that kind of lift from the team?
COACH KEVIN WILLARD:¬† It's nice.¬† Everybody always says to me, "Patrik's really going."¬† This is what Patrik was like last year before he broke his foot.¬† This is what Patrik was like the first five games before he re‑injured his foot.
And Eugene, I thought was becoming the most dominant center in the league, right behind Devante.  And I think I said he's finally back from his concussion.  It was one of the worst falls a college player could have.  It's just taken time.
I think he has confidence in his foot.  He has a big screw in his foot, and it takes a little time to know what feels right, what doesn't feel right.  And same thing with Eugene, every time he gets a headache, is it a concussion symptom?  Is it this?  We've had to treat both of them with kid gloves, but they've both brought it.

Q.  Eugene, Sterling, you've guys said you were good enough when you're all healthy and all together and all on the floor to do things like tonight.  Did you ever think that there was a point where either you were going to do it or you weren't going to do it?
EUGENE TEAGUE:  I definitely thought we were going to do it.  Sterling made a great shot, but I thought we could definitely beat Villanova tonight.  I wasn't doubting us.

Q.¬† Coach, what made you decide to call a time‑out there on that last transition play?
COACH KEVIN WILLARD:¬† Fuquan had the ball.¬† If Sterling or Jaren had it, I probably would have let them go, but Fuquan at the top of the key against their defense, that's not‑‑ on a rip‑through move or a catch‑and‑rip, that's his specialty.¬† But off the dribble, I wanted the ball in either Sterling's hands or even Patrik.¬† That's why I gave it to Patrik when we turned it over.¬† He had Ochefu beat.¬† I think Arch made a nice steal.
We usually don't like to call time‑outs.¬† We usually like just to go.¬† But I wanted the ball, at that time, in Sterling's hands.

Q.  Sterling, you mentioned four games in four days.  You've won two.  How confident are you guys going to be going forward into tomorrow's game with this?
STERLING GIBBS:  We're really confident, honestly, especially after you beat the No.3 team in the country.  They're the best team in the Big East, and by the same time, we know, if we can beat them, we can beat anyone.  So we're just up for the challenge.

Q.  For Eugene:  Given what you've been through this week being sick and everything, how did you feel coming into the game physically?
EUGENE TEAGUE:  I felt good, you know.  I'm not really thinking about being sick.  I'm just out there trying to make opportunities to give us a chance to win.  I felt good.

Q.  Coach, in the conference season, Pirates were the eighth seed, and you really turned it around in the conference tournament.  What have you done differently so far?
COACH KEVIN WILLARD:  Again, I hate using excuses, but we didn't have our starting center for the first six games.  We lost Fuquan for the first really four and a half, I'd say five until he was back.
Actually, even though we didn't win that many games, I thought we were playing pretty good basketball towards the end of the season.  I thought the only bad game we played was Butler.  We played Creighton tough and lost by one.  DePaul played really well.  They're a great basketball team.  We beat somebody else.
I really thought if we could get past Butler, we could beat anybody.¬† I didn't think we could get‑‑ but I was really scared about getting past Butler.¬† It's a tough matchup for us.¬† They defend really well on us, and I thought, if we could get past them, we could get some momentum and just keep going.
Thanks, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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