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Postgame Quotes - No. 1 Villanova 81, UConn 61

Jan. 20, 2018

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Jay Wright, Villanova Coach

Opening statement:

“In weird ways it’s really nice to be back here. Great basketball passion in this state, in this arena. It definitely brings back great memories of great battles with UConn and these crowds and the passion of people here. So, that was pretty cool and it was really cool that we played well. We’re getting better defensively and for us to rebound like that tonight, that was the key. They’re a great offensive rebounding team with their young big guys. That and just the leadership of these guys (Jalen Brunson & Donte DiVincenzo), Donte comes off the bench but he always sets the tone, and Jalen is our captain out there on the floor running the show. Proud of the leadership of these two.”

On turning around their defense over the last three games:

“We were doing pretty well early in the season, and then we hit a lull right before the Hofstra game and we couldn’t get practice in because of the holidays and the way our schedule was. After the Butler game we had a week of practice, so we were able to get a little bit better at Marquette, a little bit better after that, and I thought this was probably one of our best. I think we’re continuing getting better.”

Kevin Ollie, UConn Coach

Opening statement:

“First of all, I want to appreciate the crowd coming out and supporting us. That was a big time atmosphere. Villanova is a really, really good team. They’re an older team, have a lot of redshirt guys and whenever we made a mistake they made us pay. Shooting the ball, passing the ball, sharing the ball, if there’s one team you want to emulate, it’s them. They’re the number 1 team for a reason. Any time we made a mistake they made us pay for it. Jay Wright and them have a great team over there. We’re young and we’ll continue to perform and try to get better. I thought Josh had a great game, he’s getting better each and every game. And I thought in the second half we played much more under control with nine assists and three turnovers. If we can emulate that we can win some games in our conference and we’re looking forward to getting back to playing on Thursday.”

On Villanova missing shots early in the game:

“I think it was the first play, we didn’t get on the floor. They got on the floor and got the loose ball. And when they see blood they’re like sharks. We didn’t rebound, they were missing shots but they were getting offensive rebounds. I think they had 12 in the first half. We can’t allow that, I don’t care if we’re playing zone or man-to-man. We held them down to 41% shooting, no team has done that, but we have to rebound.”

On Terry Larrier playing through his injury:

“I’m just proud, it was a 50/50 chance that he played. He told us right before the game that he was going to play and try it. Doctors cleared him, he will have surgery this week, but the doctors cleared him to go out and play with the mask. Of course I imagined it bothered him, but I was so proud he didn't use that as an excuse and went out there and played."

Jalen Adams, UConn Guard

On the Villanova run:

"I think we just have to do a better job rebounding. I think early in the game we gave them several opportunities. On one possession they probably got like four or five shots. We just have to do a better job rebounding, I think that was the main thing. They outrebounded us by like 16 so when you give a good team like that so many opportunities it's hard to stop them once they get going." 

On if the team is discouraged:

"I don't think there's any discouragement. I think we go into every game thinking we can win. It's just when we get on the floor we have to continue to play hard for the whole 40 minutes. We can't have spurts where we play hard and others when we play relaxed because teams like this take advantage of that."

On the margin of defeat:

"You don't like losing by that much. We just have to do a better job defensively. In the games that we do defend it's close and we're right there, either we win the game or it's close. It's comes down to defense and just playing hard."

Josh Carlton, UConn Forward

On Terry Larrier playing:

"It was a relief to have him out there in the zone defensively. He gets us a lot of shots and a lot of ball movement. He had the mask and everything but seeing him out there was good."

On his comfort on the court:

"I'm getting way more comfortable. Coaches said I'm not a freshman anymore so I'm just trying to play like I'm not a freshman. I'm just trying to play like I'm supposed to play to help the team."

On learning from this game:

"The physicality of Villanova is what we can learn from. It was really physical, they were crashing boards hard. It was a really physical team and they were always getting those lose balls. We can carry that over and take some physicality to other teams."