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March 20, 2014
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Villanova Â– 73
Milwaukee - 53
THE MODERATOR:Â Joined by Villanova head coach Jay Wright and student‑athletes James Bell, Darrun Hilliard, and JayVaughn Pinkston.Â Congrats, guys, on a great performance.Â Open with a statement from Coach Wright.
COACH WRIGHT:Â Thanks, Paul.Â Tough fought game.Â That was not, as everyone here knows, a 12‑point game.Â Milwaukee is a really tough team and hard to play against.
Their defense was outstanding.Â And I thought our patience and our defense got us through the first half until we could hit some shots and get some stops and get out in transition the second half.
But I give them a lot of credit.Â I was really, really proud of our guys not making shots and still continuing to defend and play hard.
THE MODERATOR:Â Thanks, Coach.
We'll take questions just for our student‑athletes at this point.
Q.Â Darrun, I wonder if you could talk about in the first half, I think you scored seven straight points and kind of brought you guys back to tie.Â Can you just talk about what you were able to take advantage of maybe in that time frame?
DARRUN HILLIARD:Â Yeah, I was just trying to be aggressive, make plays for myself and my teammates.Â I was seeing lanes that I could take, and I was able to finish.Â I was just trying to make plays out there.Â That's all.
Q.Â JayVaughn, I think you opened the second half with a couple of layups, maybe one where you were fouled and converted the free throws.Â Those five points, I think it was a four‑point game at halftime.Â How big were those five points to start the second half to give you a little bit of a cushion?
JAYVAUGHN PINKSTON:Â I think those started with stops we got.Â We got a triple handoff kicked out to me, and then I kicked it out the next play.Â It was just getting the ball inside out, basically.
Q.Â James, you talked about how badly you wanted to win an NCAA Tournament game before you left Villanova.Â Can you just sort of describe the feeling of sitting up there now having won a game?
JAMES BELL:Â With our focus, our focus is always the next game.Â Selfishly, I definitely wanted to win one.Â Me being a Villanova basketball player, the next game is the most important.
So this being the most important game, it meant a lot to just get this one.Â Now we focus on UConn.
Q.Â For all three of you guys, early on, did you guys see signs of the Seton Hall game over again and if so, how did you guys change from what happened last week and transform it into something good this week?
JAMES BELL:Â I don't think we did.Â UConn game, we weren't ourselves in the beginning of the game.Â This game, as a leader, I tried to get the team to come out with a different intensity and a different attitude.Â We did it.
Personally, I didn't see any signs of the Seton Hall game.Â We came out, played hard, played smart, and played together.Â That's what we had to do.
DARRUN HILLIARD:Â I didn't see any signs of that either.Â We been through that throughout the season, and we learned from it.Â We practiced this whole week, and I didn't see any signs of a relapse of Seton Hall.
Q.Â James, now you can talk about the next game, and the next game is against a familiar opponent even though it's not a conference rival anymore.Â What might it mean to be playing a team your team is familiar with?
JAMES BELL:Â They're a great team, well coached, and like you said, we're pretty familiar with them.Â They're not in our league anymore, but we played against them a number of times.
It's just another opportunity to play a great team.Â We haven't focused on who we were going to play, who it was going to be.Â We just focused on the next game.
But now like you said, it's time to focus on the next game.Â Great players, great opportunity for us, and a good opportunity for us to go do what we do another time.
Q.Â And just as a follow‑up, it's almost like a Big East reunion here in Buffalo.
JAMES BELL:Â Right.Â I like it that way.
JAMES BELL:Â Used to those battles.Â Like I said, they're a great team, well coached, great players, and you want to play against the best.Â We can say that, to get this far, they have to be a great team.Â This is what this time of year is about.
Q.Â James, can you just talk about the difficulty of grinding through a game when your shot is not going in.
JAMES BELL:Â As a shooter, you're going to have good nights, and you're going to have bad nights.Â It's not about making the shots, it's about taking the right ones and recognizing you're open.
But when your shot's not falling, you've got to do other things.Â You've got to rebound.Â You've got to get stops.Â You've got to get steals.Â You've got to get assists.Â You've got to just affect the game.Â But you're going to have good nights, you're going to have bad nights as a shooter.
Q.Â Was it weird at all seeing Saint Joe's walk off the floor as you guys were getting ready to take the floor?
JAMES BELL:Â I mean, we see them a lot in the city maybe.Â You might run into them getting something to eat.Â So we're pretty familiar with the players.
But I don't think it was weird seeing them walk off the floor.Â Sorry they lost.Â Great team.Â I mean, we were going to play either of the two, but it happens.Â There has to be a winner, has to be a loser.
THE MODERATOR:Â Gentlemen, thank you for your time.Â Congrats.
Q.Â Coach, you mentioned it in your opening narrative a little bit, but that didn't really have the feel of a 20‑point game for quite a long stretch, did it?
COACH WRIGHT:Â Not at all.Â That was a very well‑coached team and a team we did not want to get behind on early because they could really control the tempo of the game.
They're really good at reading how you're defending them.Â I thought we tried to contain Aaron early.Â It gave them some open threes.Â Then we tried to get out on the three‑point shooter, and they started driving and getting fouled.
They're a well‑coached team.Â That was a tough game.
Q.Â Jay, what's your level of concern with James Bell's shooting the last few games?
COACH WRIGHT:Â None at all.Â I mean, he's had some of these nights consecutively.Â He had a little run like that.Â I know it's coming.
When you have games like this when you don't make them and you win, I think it gives these guys more confidence.Â Because then you get another game where they don't make them, and they're not worried about it.
Q.Â You had similar struggles with lower seeds in 2009 and '06.Â Was it a deja vu type of thing?Â How do we get rid of these guys?
COACH WRIGHT:Â You know, I think for me, I've just accepted it as this is the way it's going to be for us, I guess.Â I actually thought the first three or four possessions, the way we played defensively, I thought we were going to really shut them down.
We lost them in transition for two threes, the back of our press.Â We had to get out of the press because they were hitting threes.Â But if they would have missed those threes, we could have been on a run and got a big lead early.
I just look at it for some reason with us, we usually win them, but we struggle when we're a high seed playing in a first round game.
Q.Â Just a quick follow‑up on Hilliard.Â I think he had 11 points in the first half when you didn't have other things going offensively.Â How big was that effort in the first 20 minutes?
COACH WRIGHT:Â It was huge.Â They're a very, very good defensive team.Â They really are.Â They're very smart about how they defend.Â They'll give you a shot you think is open, but then they're right on you.Â So they keep it packed in.
Darrun was the only guy that could get through their initial defense.Â He had some tough shots in the lane.Â So that was big for us.
I mean, we were struggling.Â We were really struggling, and he got us going.
Q.Â Jay, I know you said you're not concerned with James' shooting, but you guys started off 0 for 16 from three.Â Any cause for concern, just sort of how the guys are handling the playoff atmosphere right now, or just how the last two games have been?
COACH WRIGHT:Â No, we've had some games like this.Â It's not bad.Â I think it's like baseball.Â If you're a.300 hitter, the numbers are going to play out, and you're going to make shots.
I know these guys are good shooters.Â After it's over and you win, I like it better because you get the confidence that we can win when we're not making shots.
Q.Â Jay, it seems like a Big East reunion.Â You just can't escape it.Â What do you make of seeing Boeheim here and Ollie now and Jim Calhoun in the stands and all the other stuff?
COACH WRIGHT:Â You know, coming back up to this area, this is Big East country up here.Â When we came into the hotel, we're staying in the hotel with Syracuse.Â My wife Patty and I saw Darryl and Jim in the lobby, spent an hour with them, talked an hour on Wednesday night.Â The Syracuse A.D., the Villanova coach and his wife, and we talked about the ESPN special in the old days.Â It was great.
Then at practice yesterday, I got to see Kevin.Â They were coming off the court.Â Jim Calhoun grabbed me.Â We had a great talk.Â Hey, I grew up with it.Â I love it.Â It's been a thrill to be back up here.
I'm a big Kevin Ollie fan, man.Â I remember him when he was an assistant, and I remember Jim.Â I remember Jim telling me, Jim and I and Kevin were sitting at a game in D.C., I remember where we were recruiting.Â I remember Jim said to me, This guy is going to be really good.Â This guy is going to be a great head coach someday.Â It was about four years ago, and he's right.
Q.Â Hey, Coach, I'm wondering how much of a difference maker do you think it's going to be with Kris Jenkins finally knocking down a shot?Â He's been in double figures 4 of the last 5 games?
COACH WRIGHT:Â Kris Jenkins is a freshman who came in as a great scorer and great shooter.Â He struggle at the beginning of the year shooting, but he did a lot of thing defensively, rebounding.Â But you knew the kid is a great shooter.
His coming on late in the season is valuable, and you can see, if not for him tonight, we'd be in trouble.
Q.Â Jay, what do you make of the kid from Milwaukee playing for two minutes without a shoe on and then drawing a key charge?
COACH WRIGHT:Â You know what, I didn't even know it until the end.Â I didn't even know it.Â I didn't even know it until after the charge.Â I don't know what that says about me, but I didn't even know until after.Â I didn't know how long it was.
Q.Â Jay, a lot of the three‑point shooting issues that you're having are because teams are defending your three‑point shot.
COACH WRIGHT:Â Exactly.
Q.Â I think we talked a couple weeks ago about you guys work on midrange and work on two‑point shots a lot more than you would think a team takes as many threes as you do.Â Is this the kind of night where that pays off?Â I know you don't expect 46 points in the paint, but you got a lot of production where you needed to to win the game.
COACH WRIGHT:Â Giving away my secrets.Â Do we need to talk about this?
Q.Â Yes.Â There's a lot of secrets in this game.
COACH WRIGHT:Â You're right.Â If teams are going to be really aggressive taking away your three, then you've got to have an answer for that.Â Early in the game, we went inside to JayVaughn.Â They're big, man.Â They're long, and they're really good in the post.
So then you've got to have a midrange game.Â At the end, second half, we were getting in the lane, stopping in the lane.
It was interesting, in the beginning of the second half, first two times we did it, we work on that jump, stop, pivot, and they called traveling.Â We were going to be in trouble if that was going to be a travel the rest of the night.Â There's an interpretation there that we don't need to go into.
After that, we started getting in that midrange area and hitting those shots, stopping, pivoting.Â James Bell hit one.Â Josh Hart hit one.Â That's got to be our answer if we're not making threes.
Q.Â Jay, can you just quickly talk about what Tony Chennault does for your team.Â He's more than ten minutes a game.
COACH WRIGHT:Â He was great tonight.Â He brought tremendous energy.Â He got four fouls that were dive on loose balls, try to get a charge, just aggressive.
Again, in the first half, we couldn't break their perimeter defense.Â He got into the lane, got Taj Bell three.Â We missed it, but then he got into the lane and scored.
Tony's tremendous for us.Â Ryan didn't have a great night tonight.Â I thought Tony and Ennis did a great job, especially Tony.
THE MODERATOR:Â Thank you, Coach.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports