Big East Tournament Postgame Presser: Villanova
Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Villanova - 94, Marquette - 70
COACH WRIGHT: Good effort. I'm really proud of our guys. I think early in the game Marquette, I think they showed they played last night. They were a little sharper than us early.
We hung in there. I think the leadership of Jalen and Mikal just kept everybody together. And then I think toward the middle of the second half I think you saw the effects of Marquette playing last night. Then they got -- I think we wore them down a little bit. It's tough to come back.
And then I thought we played well. Just great leadership by these two, our captains. I'm so happy they're on our side.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Jay, you shot well when you played Gonzaga in the Garden. Tonight shot really well from 3 again. What is it about the building?
COACH WRIGHT: I'm glad we do shoot it well in this building. I love this building, but I don't help the shots. But thank God they do, because when you play in this building they're always big games. So I think the guys do get excited about playing here and we did shoot it well tonight. Thank God for that.
Q. Markus Howard had 16 in the first half and only seven in the second half. Did you have any kind of game plan to slow him down or was it just good effort by the guys?
COACH WRIGHT: I think it was a combination, good effort. I thought we just gave them too much space in the first half. I thought our guys just did a great job in the second half. I thought they might have got a little worn down. Last night was a tough, physical game for them, and I just thought they got a little worn down. We were able to stay fresh as -- the latter part of the second half, especially him and Rowsey.
Q. Mikal, you have a philosophy of shoot them up, sleep in the streets. What does that phrase mean to you guys?
MIKAL BRIDGES: It means if you keep missing, if you're open keep shooting the ball. We all have confidence in ourselves and missing shots don't really affect us. So that's what we mean -- just keep shooting no matter what happens.
Q. You did shoot it well overall but not very well at the beginning as you suggested. You had a timeout in there where you came back out and seemed like you were determined to get to the inside, maybe get some fouls, reestablish some fundamentals, is that what happened in that timeout?
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, exactly. As I said, they played here last night. Rowsey got hot last night. They looked really comfortable. They looked loose, comfortable and they were making shots and we didn't. We didn't look loose, we didn't look comfortable.
We just said, let's get some movement and try to get to the rim and get some easy baskets. I thought Mikal did a great job of that early. Eric Paschall did, too.
Q. How important is it for you guys to get points in offensive transition especially after getting a quick turnover or working a team down in the shot clock?
COACH WRIGHT: Defenses are getting so good, especially in this league, that when you get in their half court sets it's hard. It's hard to score. These coaches and I think in our league are as prepared as anybody in this country. So when you get a stop and the defense isn't set, it's really your best opportunity to score.
Q. Jalen, you guys have thoughts of really big things. But you always, you guys always pour everything you can into this tournament, the Big East Tournament. What does this mean to you?
JALEN BRUNSON: I think every game here means a lot to us. Every game we play like it's our last. We try not to take things for granted. We just focus on one game at a time. So every game we play is a big game for us no matter who we're playing, no matter what the opponent's record is or anything like that. We just go out there play it like it's our last.
Q. (Indiscernible) special about this year, this tournament. What's special about this tournament?
JALEN BRUNSON: There's great tradition, great history in this arena. This tournament has a lot of great memories. I mean, it's always a battle whenever you're in a game here. So it's really special to play here.
Q. Same question you were asked after the last game, but you're alone on the career wins list with 414. Bigger things ahead, I know, but what does that mean to you? And did you hear from Al's grandson after Saturday?
COACH WRIGHT: I think I talked with Mark with Al's grandson, Mark Jackson. And I'm mostly proud to be the coach of Villanova, honestly. The wins and everything don't matter. I know I'll look back on it later.
Makes me thank God for my wife because I'm out of my mind. If not for her, I wouldn't have made it this far. My wife Patty is here. Thank God for her. And then we'll think about all that later.
I'm really excited that we're starting to get better defensively. That's really what's in front of my mind right now. I really am. I'm just most thankful to be the coach of Villanova. I feel like I've got the best job in the country.
Q. In the first ten minutes of the game all the scoring came from Brunson and Bridges, and then after that you were able to get secondary guys going. Do you attribute that more to Marquette wearing down, getting fatigued or was there something specific you adjusted to start getting your other guys going?
COACH WRIGHT: Jalen and Mikal are our leaders. They know, to start the game, they've got to get us going. And then after that with those two, their experience allows them to just read how the defense is playing them.
So they stay aggressive. Then they start finding their teammates and the team adjusts and starts taking them away and then they find their teammates. I think that's what happened in the first half of this game.
Q. You always say you always learn from your previous experiences. What can you take away from your games against Butler and Seton Hall this year?
COACH WRIGHT: Both of them beat us obviously. Both of them are very, very physical. I think we learned from both of those games, we have to be a little tougher.
And this game right here, this is going to be a battle. This is going to be a physical battle because I think both of them are two of the most physical teams in our league.
Q. Chris Mack said earlier today it's just a strong statement for the league that you're even being considered for two No. 1 seeds in the NCAA. And he said he didn't know how that's going to work out. I know you don't know that yet. But could you just share your thoughts on that, is there a big statement being made here by the league this year and this weekend?
COACH WRIGHT: I think so. I've said this a million times. You're sick of me saying this, but I'm an old school Big East guy. I grew up with it; I love it. And I was crushed when it broke up.
I don't think I could've ever envisioned it was this big. If we all remember -- it's never going to be the same. That was just a special time. But if you think about it, what we all used to get so excited about was Georgetown would be playing St. John's in here. They'd be 1, 2 -- 2, 3. Syracuse would be in here, 2, 3.
Well, we're doing the same thing now in the Big East. You've got Seton Hall is in the Top 25. Butler is in the Top 25. Villanova and Xavier are playing 2-3. Even earlier in the year we played some 1-4 games. That's what we used to all love about the old Big East.
I think what's unique about the league now is Butler could be in that position. Seton Hall could be in that position. Creighton can be in that position, has been. All these teams could be the Xavier/Villanovas. And it wasn't that way in the old Big East. We have to admit that. This is pretty cool. I'm excited where this league is right now.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.