Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Seton Hall quotebook: South Carolina postgame

Head coach Kevin Willard on what was said in the second half:
"Really nothing. We've traveled a lot in the last two weeks, and we had two decent practices coming back from Hawaii, but that's a tough trip and we played two tough teams, traveled 13 hours home, got home late Thursday, took off Friday and really only had two days of practice. I just think we were a little, still a little bit kind of groggy, to be honest with you. It was just a matter of kind of waking up and getting our energy going, and I thought they played with a lot better energy in the second half."

On Desi Rodriguez and his go-ahead basket:
"It was either going to be Desi on the wing against man-to-man or Desi on the wing against zone, and on that side; him ripping through to his left, he's really tough. He was fresh because of his foul trouble, he sat out six minutes. These guys were in there battling, I wanted somebody fresh with the ball, and he made a really good power move."

"I think Frank (Martin, South Carolina's head coach) did a really good job. He switched to a 3-2 zone the last three possessions, and we turned it over on one of them, we got a decent shot on another one. It was just a matter of if we could get the ball to the corner, where one of the big guys would be guarding Desi. If not, (Hassani) Gravett was going to be guarding him. Either way, I liked that matchup and it was just a matter of letting him drive, being aggressive. He was getting fouled, so he did a good job."

On defensive intensity in the second half:
"That was the weird thing about it. We played really good defense in the first half. You look at the numbers and you see they shot 45 percent, but we turned it over and gave them seven layups on turnovers. Take those layups away, I thought both teams played excellent half court defense. Obviously, they're a phenomenal defensive team, but we're a pretty good defensive team too. I thought both teams did a really good job in the half court."

"We didn't turn it over. We only had four turnovers in the second half, which was huge. We made them play a half court game instead of us doing it. It was almost like a flip-flop of the first half. They got two points late off a turnover by Madison, (Jones) but we took care of the ball, we were more aggressive and we were able to set up our half court defense."

On what he tries to instill to combat South Carolina's defense:
"After a while, we just said 'screw it and just drive.' They take you out of your offense extremely well, and we just really wanted to space the court a little bit on them. We threw it inside and we were successful when we got inside. I just think we were more aggressive driving and being strong with the ball."

On improving defensively:
"We still have a long, long way to go defensively. We just talked it about it before: We only have two weeks before Big East play, we only have two games in that span. It's a good chance for us to really fine-tune in practice. We've got to get back in the weight room a little bit, we've got to get better conditioned, and we can get much better defensively. We're not there yet."

Khadeen Carrington on flashbacks to last year's Big East Tournament:
"I didn't have any flashbacks of last year. We were focused on tonight. Our focus was to win, and we came out with it. I'm proud of these guys and our coach."

On why Seton Hall has played well at Madison Square Garden recently:
"It's a bunch of New York guys, that's the core of the team. We get up to play here, not that we don't get up to play anywhere else; but I think playing in front of your family, playing at home in front of your friends, it's a little more to it."

On South Carolina's missed three-pointer at the buzzer:
Angel Delgado: "I just laughed."
Carrington: "I told Myles (Powell) he had to hit the next one."

Willard on Ismael Sanogo and what he means to the team:
"I think he really goes with Angel well. Angel takes up a lot of space, he gets a lot of double-teams, he's our horse, but Ish covers for Angel, all these guys. You don't see a lot of what he does in the stat sheets, but he guarded (PJ) Dozier the last nine minutes of the game. Dozier was killing us, we switched Ish on him and he shut him down for the most part. He fits in great with this group because these guys all understand the value he brings. They know we're just a different team with Ish out there, especially what we can do defensively. He just opens up a whole lot of things, and he really covers for the big fella here (Delgado)."

On what this win means to the team:
Delgado: "It feels like the Villanova game a little bit, but I told the guys that we needed a big win because we had a terrible trip in Orlando. We really needed a big win, and that's what we got: A big win."
Carrington: "We've been here for a little while, so it's kind of embedded in our brain that wins like this travel; an SEC team, they're going to get better as the year goes along, and they're going to beat good teams. At the end of the year, when March comes along and the committee's watching, games like that and wins go a long way."

Willard on whether Orlando was good to the team:
"We were up seven against Florida, Ish pops a shoulder, Myles sprains his ankle and we really played a long stretch without being able to sub. Ish didn't play against Stanford and Myles didn't play against Stanford in the first half, so I think the biggest thing is we got healthy. I've talked about it a lot and we've been banged up. Angel sprained his ankle in the preseason, Ish got hurt, Madison (Jones) got hurt. The only two guys that have been really consistent on the court are Desi and Khadeen. I think that's why those guys' numbers have been so good. I think the biggest thing since Orlando is we've had some good practices and we've been healthy."

On the exact play call:
Carrington: "Coach told me to take it out and look for Desi on the baseline. I saw Desi coming off and I knew he could take him, so I just gave it to him and spaced out. I just let him go. I've got confidence in these guys."
Willard: "It was 'pass it to Desi and everybody get out of the way.' Sometimes, that's the best offense."

On Seton Hall playing with a chip on its shoulder:
Carrington: "Of course. Since Isaiah (Whitehead) left, a lot of people thought the play was going to go down and everything like that. Isaiah was a big piece, but there's still guys here left, the guys that he came through with, the guys that work hard. It's kind of disrespectful to us to say that the play's going to go down, so we definitely play with a chip on our shoulder."
Delgado: "At first, I felt a little disrespected, but you cannot take everything in a bad way. You've just got to take it as motivation, and that's what we did. I told the guys we've got to prove everybody wrong, like last year."

Willard on improving before Big East play:
"We have two weeks of practice. We have not had that. The Pearl Harbor games were an unbelievable experience, I'm so glad we did it, but there's not too many times you go play in a preseason event like Orlando and then you travel again in seven days to Hawaii, but I think it was a very important trip for these guys to understand the history of the country, to get a glimpse of it and get a feel for it. Now we have two weeks, and that's kind of why we scheduled the end of these two weeks, to get ready for the Big East."

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