Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports.
MODERATOR: We will start with an opening statement from Coach Wright. Coach?
COACH WRIGHT: Bitter sweet. I'm very proud of our guys, thought we really came ready to play. But doing that against one of Villanova's greats in Lafayette wasn't that enjoyable. But that's what I was worried about, either losing or this kind of game against a good friend and a great coach.
But very pleased with our guys' effort. I think what you saw there was - I don't think there's another 16-1 in this tournament that played a - a 1 that played the 16 the year before at home and was down in the second half. So it was very easy for us to be motivated and very easy for us to really respect how they play. It was easy to get these guys ready to play.
Q. Darrun, how much was that an emphasis, just getting out early and not having a scenario like last year and really just pouncing on them?
DARRUN HILLIARD: It was a huge emphasis. We know what kind of team they were. We have a lot of respect for them. They came into our house last year and gave us a great battle. We were down late in the game and we knew if we didn't come in and kind of play defense the way we were supposed to, it could be an easy, closer game. It was great to come out and kind of jump on them from the start.
Q. For Darrun, your strategy early seemed to be just chasing them off the 3-point line. Was that actually a major emphasis? How do you think you did there?
DARRUN HILLIARD: We knew they were a phenomenal 3-point shooting team, one of the best in the country. Coach and the coaching staff emphasized if they get hot, they can make a great run. We wanted to take them off the 3-point line and make them put it on the floor and work to our advantage.
Q. I think the eight guys who played for you today, I think everyone was between like 16 points or 17 points, probably even made it hard to figure out who to bring up to talk after the game. How much of an emphasis was it to spread the ball around, create offense from different sources?
DANIEL OCHEFU: It wasn't really a point of emphasis. That's just how we play. We're a good offensive team and we share the ball. We worked on that all year in practice and it wasn't any different this game.
Q. Daniel, you got some big put-backs inside early on. What was it like to back down low, kind of seemed like you had your way for the most part?
DANIEL OCHEFU: Definitely didn't have my way. Their big guys are strong. They don't look as strong as JayVaughn, but they're strong inside. It was a tough battle, preparing myself in practice every day against Darryl and JP, guys like that definitely helped me a lot in this game.
MODERATOR: Thanks, guys. Congratulations. Questions for Coach Wright.
Q. Jay, you were talking the other day about roles of your bench guys. Can you talk about how Jenkins has handled his role, both this year and last?
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, Mike. He's really valuable in that, you know, at 6'5", 6'6", whatever he is, he can really play two, three, four, five. Even five for us sometimes. So his versatility is really valuable. He was Washington DC Player of the Year, so he came in with a really healthy confidence, self-confidence.
But he's really accepted and embraced this role right now. He knows down the line for us he's going to be a major go-to guy. So he's just got a great perspective coming off the bench and he was really effective tonight. We actually played him at the five for some periods of the game. We played him at the five tonight and we played him at the three tonight. So he was really effective.
Q. Jay, you've been in this spot before, 2006 against an 8/9. You always reference the Arizona game where if it hadn't been essentially a home game, you might not have come out of it. Regardless of your seeding, the difference between the first weekend and the second weekend and that game that gets you to that second weekend, can you put into words for a coach in a program, the different level of what that means?
COACH WRIGHT: We all know that we are judged on getting to that second weekend. I think the coaches probably have to answer to that and deal with that more than the players do. I think the players look at it as a next NCAA game. It's a big game. I could tell our guys were fired up for this game because it was the NCAA tournament. They weren't thinking seed. They weren't thinking we could be the first 1/16 to - they don't think about that stuff.
Coaches do. We have to answer to it. There's definitely a difference for a coach, because you know once you get to that second weekend, kind of everybody's pleased with you. If you don't, you know everyone's going to question you. But that's just something we have to deal with. I don't think it's that big of a deal to the players.
Q. Jay, yesterday, you sounded obviously concerned, I hope a 16 doesn't beat a 1 tonight. I know you don't like to get cocky, but was that kind of overly worrying on your part, or were you really that concerned?
COACH WRIGHT: I really was, because we had just played them. It was either going to be to their advantage or to our advantage. They were getting us on a neutral court, and they had just played us last year, same team, both teams, basically. They led in the second half and we really struggled against them. They knew we struggled against two Patriot League teams this year.
We went back and watched the Bucknell game to prepare for this. We were down last possession, last possession game. So either our guys were going to really respect them and come really concerned and committed, or they were going to come really confident. I thought our guys really responded well. I think - I don't think there's another 16/1 matchup where they had this situation where they just played each other the year before at home and almost got beat.
Q. Jay, Lindner had been on such a phenomenal run the last seven or eight games for them. Did you do anything, make a concerted effort to frustrate him or anything?
COACH WRIGHT: We feared his ability to get them shots. We picked him up full court. We had Dylan Ennis, Ryan Arcidiacono and Phil Booth on him. And we just wanted to keep fresh bodies on him and just try to wear him down, because we just, we watched all those games recently and we also switched on him. We doubled him a little bit. We switched on to him some. He was a big part of our game plan.
Q. You only had three turnovers in the first half. You played a lot of games lately with not a lot of turnovers. St. John's game, I think you had none in the second half. Is there a key to that? Obviously you emphasize that, but is that more than just emphasis on how you're able to hold on to the ball so well?
COACH WRIGHT: It's an emphasis, but it's also having two seniors and three juniors out there a lot that have played together a lot and done the same thing. I think they're very comfortable. Usually, you make turnovers when there's some indecision. These guys are just very comfortable in what we do because they've done it so long and done it together. Indecision can come sometimes when you don't know what your teammate's going to do either. That's the key.
Q. Coach, was there a reason Darryl didn't get more minutes at the end there, especially with two very long and athletic teams waiting in the next round?
COACH WRIGHT: Darryl Reynolds?
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, I just actually, I said to him, you know, I know you can play in this game, but I wanted to get Daniel and JayVaughn only played 23 and 22 minutes. So at this point in the year, you don't practice a lot.
So getting those guys, Daniel and JayVaughn, minutes in this game was important to get them ready for Saturday, because we're not going to do much tomorrow. So your games are what really get you your conditioning at this time of year, not your practices. You're right, Darryl can be effective against these two bigger teams we're going to play.
Q. Jay, kind of a two-parter. Number one, in a game like this when your guy on the other side is a friend, do you get any pleasure out of coaching in a game like this? Number two, do you bring up the point like Iowa State and Baylor got beat to your guys as a reminder of what can happen in this tournament?
COACH WRIGHT: The second part first. We didn't, and I hope - I guess I'm beating this point, but it was so easy for us to get these guys ready for this game. I think it was a disadvantage for Lafayette that they played us last year. Because you play in a 1/16, if you don't know the team, if we played somebody from out West we never saw. But these guys knew we almost got beat at home. Now they're thinking we're on a neutral court. So we didn't have to bring up any other examples.
And then it's not enjoyable, I don't think, at all. During a game, you're competitive. There's really no good feeling you have for that guy on the other bench during a game. And then when the game gets a little out of hand, then you start feeling bad. I would have been feeling bad if they were beating us, though. It's just, it's a tough situation. I know a lot of his teammates were here today. I know he's a proud, proud guy. We went zone at the end. We tried to do what we could to be classy about it. We just played really well, and we were very determined coming off that last year's game.
Q. Coach Wright, congrats. As you know, I played and coached with Coach O'Hanlon and just in talking with him in the hotel last night, one of his concerns was your ball pressure and your ability to blow up two-man games and squeeze the sidelines. Then when they did go back door, you would be sitting on the center line. Could you just make some comments to that point?
COACH WRIGHT: Well, he knows what we do. He's a smart guy. He and I don't sit around and talk about it a lot, but he watches all of our games because he's a Villanova fan. So if a smart basketball coach watches our games, you're going to figure out exactly what we're doing. He's been watching us for years.
So like I said, that was either going to be an advantage for us or that they knew it and they were going to make that backdoor pass. If we were on the center line, as you say, then they'd make an extra pass for three, maybe one more extra pass. So we actually had to make sure we didn't over-commit to their two-man games and it turned out to be an advantage for us.
Q. This was, I think, the sixth time in the past ten games that you all have scored at least 80 points. From your vantage point as a coach, does it feel like you guys are almost in some kind of trance now, almost in some kind of rhythm offensively and are kind of hitting your stride?
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, I think we are offensively playing as well as we have all season. It's a good, good time to do it. I think everybody's - it was interesting, we had a 20-minute shootaround today. We left it up to the guys. If you want to come over, you have 20 minutes. A lot of the younger guys did and I think the older guys just feel like I want to keep my body fresh. The younger guys want to get shots. They all came over and really shot the ball well here. I think we're in a good rhythm now offensively.
Q. You had six guys in double digits, had two more right there. It says a lot about your team. What's the one thing that it says about this team?