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THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Villanova University head coach Jay Wright and student‑athletes Ryan Arcidiacono and James Bell.
Coach, if you want to go ahead and make an opening statement.
COACH WRIGHT: Certainly a tough way to end the season. I don't want to let this put a damper on what this group has done this year.
We want to congratulate UConn. They were outstanding, just really tough in the second half. The defense in the second half was outstanding. Napier was just awesome. There was just a period there where he hit those three threes, and it just created a separation. In a game like this that was that close, that separation was tough to make up, and I think that was probably the story of the game, their defense and that period where Napier hit three deep threes.
Q. Do you feel like there's anything more you could have done with Napier? Was he just so good today there was really nothing you guys could have done?
JAMES BELL: He made some outstanding plays. He's an outstanding player, and he's put in great position.
Do I feel like we could have did more? Maybe a little more pressure on the ball. But he was making some good plays. He was shooting outside what we call the scoring area. He's an outstanding player that made outstanding plays.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: Yeah, like James said, he got in foul trouble early in the first half, so that helped us get them out of rhythm.
Second half, he hit one, and then a couple more. That's what great players do and that's what he is. He made great plays. Like Taj said, he was making it from deep outside the scoring area. He's a tough player.
JAMES BELL: I mean, we didn't even know that. We're out there playing. Our main focus is not offense. We're focusing on defense, defense and rebounding. So that can happen in a stretch.
Did we know it was that long? No. Did we even know we missed 15 straight or went 15 straight possessions? No. I mean, probably could have taken a little better shots. We have to go back and look at that.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: It could have been a combination of both. They were changing up their defenses a little bit, going from the zone to a man and then switching on the shot clock. We were taking some great shots. Like Taj said, we could have passed up a few. But I think to only be down one and not scoring 15 possessions straight, that just is a compliment of our defense and just kind of holding us together until the other half.
Q. Ryan, when a guy like Napier is going off like he is, do you guys feel pressure to kind of try to match him shot for shot? How do you kind of handle, when he's doing what he's doing? How do you handle on your end of the court?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: We just play Villanova basketball. No one's going to try to get into a one‑on‑one battle or anything like that. I thought that's what we did. We took great shots in the first half, and some of the shots didn't go for us, and every shot he took was going in.
I don't think anyone on our team was trying to match him play for play or anything like that. I thought we shared the ball and just didn't make open shots.
THE MODERATOR: Appreciate it, guys.
Q. Napier goes out after eight minutes. He's got the two fouls. Connecticut goes on a 14‑1 run after that. How frustrating is that with him off the floor?
COACH WRIGHT: That was probably the second most important part of the game was him not being on the floor in the first half and then making up a difference there. We had a lead. That was disappointing. In a game like that, you got to take advantage of that, which we didn't. But like Ryan said, we still felt all right. We were pretty poor offensively there, and we were down one. We felt in good shape at halftime.
Q. How much did Terrence Samuel help in that situation with Napier out? What impact did he make?
COACH WRIGHT: He was great defensively. He really was. He got up on our guards and pressured our guards. He had good size. He drove the ball. He was good. Made free throws tonight. I thought he did a great job making up for Napier right there.
And Boatright at that point started making some plays. They did a good job. They did a really good job of covering that up and getting him back in the game and still had a lead.
Q. You start the game 5 for 8. Did you feel that you had a good shooting night? Was that a real shock to then go 15 possessions without making one?
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, I did. I really thought we were going to shoot the ball well. I don't think they came out really aggressive. But once we went on that little run, they stepped up the defense big time. They really stepped it up.
Because we got a couple of easy ones early, a couple of layups, there was a different level of intensity after maybe the first 16‑minute timeout.
Q. Jay, I think bench scoring was something like 18‑5. Kris hit the three at the end. That puts a lot of pressure on. You've been getting good contributions from those guys. How tough is it against a team like that to not get that?
COACH WRIGHT: It wasn't all our guys' faults. We get down like that and trying to go with some guys that have been there before in a tight game. I don't know if, as a coaching staff, we gave those guys from the bench a great opportunity to score.
You kind of got to make a decision what you're going to do there when you're trying to come back and it's a tight game. We've got a lot of young guys that come off the bench. It definitely would have helped if we could have stayed close and used our depth a little bit better.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, great season. Congrats.