Big East Tournament Postgame Presser: Butler

Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament

Friday, March 9, 2018

LaVall Jordan

Kamar Baldwin

Kelan Martin

Tyler Wideman

Butler Bulldogs

Butler - 75, Seton Hall - 74

THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening comment.

COACH JORDAN: That's a heck of a way to finish the night in Madison Square Garden. This is an unbelievable venue, unbelievable time of year, Big East Tournament in Madison Square. My first time around and that was just an epic ending to a great day of Big East basketball.

I'm proud of our guys, just extremely proud. We talked about embracing the battle. Obviously Seton Hall is very, very talented. Really good basketball team and well coached and they've beaten us twice.

We knew what it was going to take. It wasn't a game of perfect but we didn't hang our heads when things didn't go our way. We were down and we just fought back and battled back. And we've seen that out of this group before. We know we had it in us and it was great to see it come out at this moment.


Q. First win for Butler in the tournament. It's a big one and the question for you is off the top, what does that mean? It's your first win as well, of course, being Butler's first year --
COACH JORDAN: More important, these two guys next to me, that was a big goal of theirs was to get a win in the Big East Tournament before they get out of here. And so poetic justice that big cat right here gets the big tip-in to get it done.

It's not necessarily about me. It was this team hadn't been to the Big East Tournament before. That was the other teams. So these guys had set their minds to do something as a group and you knew it was going to take a togetherness and a toughness and we showed that tonight.

Q. How does it feel pretty much to come to Seton Hall's backyard, being across the river in New Jersey and being able to gut out a tough win?
COACH JORDAN: Like I said, I'm just proud of our guys. It's interesting having played them just last weekend, to turn it right around and doing it again.

So obviously our preparation I thought was really good. Guys were engaged. They saw the mistakes that we made before. Thought we did an unbelievable job in the post on Delgado. Our big guys fought their tails off and our help side was really good to protect the paint.

And they've got -- Carrington stepped up made a big play, and Powell stepped up and made a big play. We know they're capable of that. But they responded and that stands out in terms of what we're proud of as a staff.

Q. Kamar, you obviously had a fantastic game and you were down seven, I think, with about six minutes left and went on a 6-0 run to cut it down to one. How were you able to flip that switch against a tough Seton Hall team?
KAMAR BALDWIN: Just continuing to play our style. Our motto is gritty, not pretty. We battled; we knew it was going to be a battle the whole game. In the huddle, we talked amongst each others, the players, (indiscernible) we need to get stops and get it back, and that's what we did to trim the lead down.

COACH JORDAN: I thought our mindset was what it needed to be. Last game they beat us points in the paint. Generally when we've won points in the paint we've won basketball games. We said that a few times. We talked about that in timeouts and we just had to keep an aggressive mindset, punching it in into the post. I thought Kam delievered. He was 4-for-4 from the field. And Nate did a good job driving it. Kamar was downhill, making good decisions. That's where we had to play. It wasn't falling from 3, like normal, so we just had to keep attacking the paint.

Q. Kelan, we talked earlier, last week you talked about how you didn't want to go winless in your career at the Garden. Can you put it in perspective, getting on the board in the Big East Tournament, going to the semifinals?
KELAN MARTIN: I think we just stuck to the game plan, the scouting report, and we just did a good job on Delgado, not letting him get easy touches. And we just played within ourselves offensively.

We didn't make shots, but we attacked the basket and you're going to have games like that, just a grind-it-out game. And now we're just moving on to the next game.

Q. The two guys involved in the last play, there was a miss and rebound. Could you walk us through what you saw on the play.
KAMAR BALDWIN: Cat came up and set a screen, and I was just trying to get to the basket because the big -- I was able to get there. I wasn't able to finish. Then Cat, like we always say, the bigs just finish rolling, and that's what he did and put it back in for the win.

TYLER WIDEMAN: Yeah, pretty much what he said. (Laughter).

Q. On that final play, you let the guys run it down the court with 11 seconds left. You didn't call a timeout. Can you just discuss the trust you have in them to execute when the game is on the line?
COACH JORDAN: Yeah, I thought the St. John's game, I blew it by calling timeout. Obviously when you spend a lot of time together, we've been through some battles. We've come back from worse than this. Think about Ohio State and Georgetown earlier in our season. So that builds a trust in those moments.

And they didn't have timeouts. So the big thing was I didn't want them to be able to set their defense. We had time at the line. Paul came in and made sure he communicated what we were running to everybody.

And so we got ourselves organized without having to use the timeout and letting them get set and try to take something away.

Q. Kamar, there were several points in the game where it looked like you almost refused to leave Madison Square Garden until you guys won. But what was your thought as soon as you missed that second free throw and you saw Seton Hall with the second layup?
KAMAR BALDWIN: Just to get a stop. I take pride on the defensive end. Even though I missed it, I knew we were going to get a stop and that we were going to win the game, because that's the work we put in day in, day out.

Q. This is in terms of how you guys were able to really crash the boards in the second half. What were some things you saw in terms of at halftime that you emphasized to your team to get the extra opportunities in the close game?
COACH JORDAN: Great question. We talked about that exactly at halftime where Key was in the paint and Kamar was in the paint, and they were bringing rotating defenders with them. When we played against them we've gotten to the glass on the offensive end.

Cat was averaging about three a game, Sean McDermott about three and Sean, he got four tonight, and obviously Cat got the big one late. That was part of the conversation at halftime was we're not shooting it great, so we need to go get some extras. And so guys started going harder and going harder and going in there fearlessly. Obviously that's what they do is rebound the basketball. You know it's going to be a fight to go get them but our guys fought.

Q. LaVall, what was it that Butler was doing schematically different in the second half, Seton Hall shot 65 percent the first half, 29 percent in the second. Sometimes shots dropping is a matter of chance, but that's a pretty pronounced difference?
COACH JORDAN: I don't know if it was a scheme. It was more will. It was more will than strategy. We let them get -- the first half, obviously, Sanogo, he hit two 3s, part of the plan was to stay off of him and he made us pay. And give them credit for stepping up.

But then we had to fight better in the post. Our help side had to be better. That was part of the game plan all along. We had a will about us in the second half to do it.

Then it came down to rebounding. They got one or two where we didn't go get the 50/50 balls and the long ones. But that's what it came down to at the end was getting them off the glass and us getting to the glass.

Q. Coming in at .500 in the regular season, was getting yourself off the bubble extra motivation for this game?
COACH JORDAN: No, I think beating Seton Hall. And there's motivation for these guys to get a win here in Madison Square finally. But I think the biggest thing was we had been right there with them. At our place we had them down 11 and they came back and got us.

At their place it was a battle back and forth late and they got us again. And so these guys did not want the same taste in their mouth walking out of here playing against the same team again. That's difficult to do. And we just had to find a way to do it.

Q. Do you think this secures an NCAA Tournament spot?
COACH JORDAN: I think there's one way to definitely secure an NCAA Tournament spot. We're playing in the semifinals tomorrow.


Joseph Jarzynka