Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports.
MODERATOR: From Lafayette, head coach Fran O'Hanlon and players Seth Hinrichs and Dan Trist. We'll begin with an opening statement from Coach O'Hanlon.
COACH O'HANLON: We knew we had to get off to a good start. We had some open threes early. But when they didn't drop, it's a hard team to come back against. They rebound so well. It's as good a team as I've seen that we've played in the last couple years. So just weren't coming back against them.
MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes only, please.
Q. To both of you guys, I know this wasn't the result that you wanted, but what do you take away from this experience and having been here?
SETH HINRICHS: Just thankful and grateful to be a part of it. Something we'll remember forever. Obviously, we'd like to play a little bit better tonight, but it's just been a fun atmosphere. Pittsburgh's been a fun city. Just to win the Patriot League championship and be able to represent our school has been awesome.
Q. Dan, just want to talk about the challenge of playing against Ochefu and what an intimidator he is?
DAN TRIST: I mean, they're a very long athletic team, one through five. But obviously, he's the anchor of the defense and he's a great shot blocker and a great player.
Q. Also for Dan, you guys were having fairly good success getting some mismatches on offense with high screen rolls and stuff. And then they went small. Did that take away some of your ability to get a little bit of a speed advantage on them?
DAN TRIST: I think when they went small that increased their ability to get the hands on a lot of our handoffs and exchanges and we finished with 15 turnovers on the night. A lot of those were out of the two-man game, so I think that definitely aided them on their defensive plan.
Q. Seth, any nerves early? Was it just when the shots aren't falling, they kind of fall out of that rhythm?
SETH HINRICHS: I think playing No. 2 team in the nation, we were a little nervous. But we just didn't execute to come out to start. We knew we had to get off to a good start and we didn't do that tonight. So credit them. They're a really good defensive team and they got us out of rhythm.
Q. In that second half, the lead is starting to get big and grow, what's kind of going through your head? There's not much you can do as a coach, but how tough is that?
COACH O'HANLON: We came out with a goal, Bob, of just trying to cut the lead and it was - obviously that didn't work out. It's hard to come back against them. They handle the ball so well. We knew coming in here how well they handle the ball. It's not like we could pressure them or trap them. They just move it too well. We were hoping we would play good, solid defense, try to switch a little bit, maybe not give up as many threes. Then we didn't score. They turned us over and just the plan didn't work.
Q. Obviously, Jenkins hit a couple threes. There were no moments that just turned things, but that changed the score dramatically. Can you just say what it's like when the eighth man comes in and you've got him on the scouting report and what exactly you have on the scouting report on that guy?
COACH O'HANLON: It's funny you say that, Mike, because on the scouting report, usually I'm going to circle the really good shooters on the other team and you get two or three that you circle.
When we were doing the scouting report on Villanova, I circled two that don't shoot threes. So of the eight, I just put up there, these are the two that we don't have to worry about shooting threes. And you can guess it was Pinkston and Ochefu. All the other guys really shoot the ball. So it wasn't a surprise to us. I thought we probably should have switched a little bit on Jenkins. He's not so much in the post. But once again, the bright lights, we didn't execute defensively as well as we should have as well.
Q. Fran, are they even scarier in person than they are on film?
COACH O'HANLON: No. I mean, they were very scary on film. I've seen them all year. We had an opportunity to see them all, you know, at the beginning of last year. I think I said that. I thought that they have made tremendous strides and they were a terrific team last year. But from the beginning of last year, when we opened up the season with them, with Ochefu and Ennis did not play, and the kid Hart, they're all a year older. They've been in some big games. They're just better. I knew that coming in here. It certainly is scary up close.
Q. Fran, you said yesterday that the only part of this experience that wasn't going to be fun was actually playing this team tonight. I don't mean to be glib or flip. Was there any part of coaching this game that was fun?
COACH O'HANLON: I can't say that, Mike. Because as soon as this game started, we were kind of - we got off to a bad start. Then you get to the timeouts and sometimes in a time-out, you want to come out and get right back out there and try to run your plan. And timeouts are so long. It's sometimes - it's hard to build a momentum when you're down on that, you know. So I can't - the funnest part of that is when that game ended. I can go back to being a Villanova fan.
Q. Coach, Bucknell and Lehigh, two Patriot League teams you play often, gave Villanova their two best games this season, some would say. Did you guys try to emulate what they did on defense or on offense at all today?
COACH O'HANLON: We did, Nick, but they executed much better. We play a similar style where we try to push you off the three. But when Jenkins came in and hit some of those threes, we weren't having much success with it, and I really think - I've seen them play Bucknell. They've gotten better since that part.
Not that Bucknell hasn't, nor that Lehigh hasn't. But they're better and they've been used to playing in the bright lights, you know, and they just came out ready to go. I'm sure that was probably part of their plan. I'm sure Jay said, listen, we structured against two Patriot League teams. This is a team that beat them. So I'm sure that they were ready to go.
Q. Nick obviously struggled. Is that a credit to the way they play defense or their combination of things?
COACH O'HANLON: Yes, absolutely. They switched and they're long. They're athletic, and they made it hard for Nick to get in any kind of gaps. And once again, I knew that this is a different type of team because you have Ochefu sitting back there, which is very hard even if you get by the first line of defense, that he's a rim protector.
Q. Obviously not the way you want your senior class to go out. As a whole, what has the senior class meant to you and the program?
COACH O'HANLON: Well, as I said to the man, I said, this is not the way, that was my exact words, that we wanted to end this. But I'm very proud of them. They've competed for their four years. They've led our programs, Seth Hinrichs, Dan Trist, Joey Ptasinski, Alan Flannigan. They've done a great job for us for four years winning the Patriot League title. We're still the champs of the Patriot League.
I think we're better than we showed tonight. I think Villanova came out ready and there are some things that we didn't do that we can do better. That doesn't mean that we would beat Villanova. It just means we're capable of more. When we got down, we were weren't getting back in that game.