Saturday, February 18, 2017

Kevin Willard quotebook: Villanova postgame

On Villanova's offensive efficiency and Seton Hall's defense:
"I think it was a combination of both. I thought we were in good position and then the last three minutes of the first half, I thought Jalen Brunson really; I thought he flipped a switch, he hit a tough step-back three, split the pick-and-roll, hit (Mikal) Bridges in the corner for a three. That kind of took a little momentum out of our sails, and then (Eric) Paschall comes out and bangs a three to start the half, so they're a really good basketball team."

On Prudential Center environment:
"Oh, it was great. Our students were phenomenal, they've been phenomenal all year. I wish we just would have given them a little more to cheer about, to be honest with you."

On Angel Delgado's mismatch with Darryl Reynolds out for Villanova:
"Paschall, even though he's undersized, he's a big, strong kid. I thought he did a good job battling him. Again, we had a lot of opportunities earlier in the game. We had some good looks, we did a good job against their pressure early, got some good open looks and missed a couple of easy shots. We had a couple of turnovers that hurt us, but I thought all the guys really battled in there and tried their best."

On Myles Powell and preparation off a short turnaround:
"Myles is right where most freshmen are this time of year in February, a little overwhelmed, a little tired. I think he's progressing great, I think he's doing a great job, but he's going to have nights like this where -- this is a lot, the pressure of these games. For some reason, we're having a hard time going from Wednesday to Saturday. That's two Wednesday-Saturdays that we've struggled for some reason. I don't know -- I need to do a better job with these guys when we play, because we have it the rest of the way on Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon. It just seems like we don't have the same energy that we're having on Wednesday, so I think as a freshman, when you're playing and having games -- you've just got to learn how to recover, you've got to learn how to get mentally refreshed and mentally back after it, but he's a talented freshman. He's going to be great as he goes on."

On what Villanova did that made Seton Hall struggle:
"I don't think they missed a shot for like, 12 minutes, so I would say that was probably the biggest thing they were doing. I think Paschall came out and hit those two threes, and that really was like, you're looking at 11, it's not that bad. You're looking at 17, it's a little deflating. They shot the ball great, but they're really good. Last year, I thought they could be a championship team. I think this year, they could really do it again. They're special."

On whether anyone can beat Villanova:
"Not when they're shooting like that. I think what I love about this Villanova team is with a minute to go, Josh Hart is yelling at his guys about giving up a defensive driving lane. Jay's got two special kids in (Kris) Jenkins and Hart, and if your leader is still pissed when you're up 20 on the road and you're giving up a driving lane because you didn't switch, I think that's when you have a special team."

On transitioning from Wednesday to Saturday:
"We'll bounce back. I've said this all along: I've got a lot of confidence in these guys. We knew this was a big home stretch, obviously you'd like to get all three, but we knew in reality, you had to get two out of three. We get a day off, which is nice, and then we'll come back -- it's the same thing after St. John's. Obviously, we were disappointed after St. John's, but I've got a lot of confidence in this group that they'll bounce back. We'll have two good practices and be ready for a really good Xavier team."

On NCAA Tournament chances:
"We've just got to worry about Xavier. The only thing we can do right now is worry about Xavier. We can't worry about anything else."

On what has to change against Xavier following a close loss on the road:
"I'll be honest with you: We've got to do a better job on Kaiser Gates. I think he's a guy that...everybody looks at (J.P.) Macura, everybody obviously worries about Trevon Bluiett, but Kaiser Gates really hurt us in the second half of the first game. Bluiett, he'll be back by us, he'll be healthy, but we've got to do a better job on Kaiser Gates. He had two big threes late in the second half that really hurt us."

On Ismael Sanogo and his ankle:
"Once he got to the point of, where it looked like it was the point of no return, I wasn't going to put anymore time on his ankle. He's still, I'd say he's about 70 percent."

On what he needs to see to feel better about Seton Hall's long-term chances:
"I've been proud of this team all year. We've battled, we've had some tough losses; lost at the buzzer at Providence, lost at the buzzer against Xavier at Xavier, kind of lost at the buzzer against Butler, went to overtime at Marquette. We've had some tough losses. This team has battled, they've bounced back. We haven't played good against these guys (Villanova) both times, but I think that's more them than it is us. We've just got to bounce back and get ready for Xavier."

On Desi Rodriguez being benched:
"That's actually the most calm conversation I've ever had with Desi, to be honest with you. Desi's played phenomenal for us all year, he's played a ton of minutes. Sometimes when he gets a little shot, you've got to sit him down. Trust me, that's the most polite conversation I've had with Desi in three years."

On Seton Hall's defense:
"They missed like, four shots all game. Obviously I'm not happy with our defense, but again, they have a lot to do with that. We were in pretty good shape and then Jalen Brunson, he turned it on, which he has the ability to do. Like I said, I have to do a better job with these guys from Wednesday to Saturday. I'm not doing a good enough job with these guys to bounce them back and get them ready, and I think that's two Saturdays in a row we haven't played very well defensively."

On why Seton Hall has struggled with the Wednesday-Saturday transition:
"Well, we've been playing the late game on Wednesdays, so Thursdays are almost technically like an off day. They're not, we come in, we watch film, we get treatment, but we really can't go over much. Friday, then, with the noon game, we're not doing much on Friday and I think I need to do more on Friday. We do have class in the morning, so our practice time on Friday is at 1:00, and it's hard to practice for a couple of hours from 1:00 to 3:00 and then play at noon, so that's where we've been stuck a little bit. I think maybe I've been a little too tentative in practice on Friday."

On whether today was more of a missed opportunity:
"I think it's a missed opportunity more because you're playing against the No. 2 RPI team and the No. 2 team in the country. It was a good chance for us, but they played well, we didn't play well. If you don't play good against them, you're going to get beat; and if you play not good, you're going to get beat bad."

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