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"The game came down to a game of wills...we had the stronger will, and it started with our guards." UConn head coach Kevin Ollie
Another game, another predictably unpredictable loss for the Pirates. What's more are the multiplying injuries that have consistently bogged down Seton Hall this season. Brian Oliver is pretty much questionable for the rest of the season and Brandon Mobley dislocated his shoulder again. With all that said, the Pirates need to regroup fast as they head to the RAC to battle Rutgers on Tuesday night.
Quotes from Kevin Willard's post-game press conference:
"I really thought, we had 3 turnovers in a row on 3 straight possessions when we were up 7 and we were up 5 that kind of changed the momentum of the game … again, we had some untimely turnovers that seem to come back and bite us."
"I thought AC [Aaron Cosby] played good, I thought he did some good things defensively too. I thought him and Fuquan really got us going."
"I thought Kevin Johnson played real well today, was a good presence inside."
On UConn guards Shabazz Nabier and Ryan Boatright, who combined for 42 points: "Him[Shabazz] and Boatright are two special players. They hurt us last year at UConn."
On what is wrong with the team: "We gave ourselves opportunities like we did against Pittsburgh, were not being consistent enough for all 40 minutes."
"Every time we do good things, at Pittsburgh we played really good defense, we struggle on offense.Here, for the first time, we play pretty good offense, and we struggle defensively. So for us, we gotta figure it out."
"We played pretty hard the last couple games. We missed 2 layups and missed 2 front-ends 1-and-1s at Pittsburgh that would have made a difference in the game and tonight, we had 2 turnovers and missed some free throws that kinda killed our momentum too. So were playing hard, we're not capitalizing on opportunities that we're giving ourselves and what we're doing by not capitalizing is giving them to the other team. If you give this team six layups in the second half, you're going to lose."
On injuries: "I’m going to sit down with the doctors tomorrow. I might just shut him down and have him get surgery. Brandon [Mobley] dislocated his shoulder again Wednesday in a workout - It just popped out -- If it keeps popping out it’s not going to do us any good. You think you have him and then you don’t have him."
"Who knows when Brian [Oliver] is going to be back. That could be day-to-day or week-to-week."
"Fu[quan Edwin] looked alright. He took off Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Practiced yesterday for about thirty minutes and said he felt good to go afterward. He looked O.K.. We’ll see how it reacts tomorrow -- he should be O.K. for Tuesday."
On the Rutgers rivalry. Seton Hall travels to the RAC on Tuesday: "From my experience in the three years, every game is a big game, it doesn't matter if you’re winning or losing. It’s a good rivalry, the fans are into it, it’s always a good game."
"Theo [Jordan Theodore] really took a lot of pride in winning at the RAC. Wish I could call him up from Europe right now. It is weird, last year it was a great game here. I think just about every game we've played has been a really good game between us, so it should be another good one on Tuesday."
Additional post-game quotes from the players, courtesy of Jerry Carino:
"Just telling my guys that we’ve got to get one. I haven’t gotten that feeling in a long time, that winning feeling. We’re going to find a way to get a victory."
Having Cosby back: "He had a good game. He shot the ball very well. That’s what we need from him. That’s what he brings to the table. That’s what we were missing in the Pitt game."
On his sprained ankle: "It was a little bit tough but I’m not that type of guy who blames stuff on it. It hurt a little bit. When I came down hard on that first drive it hit me hard."
On Rutgers: "Even guys who aren’t local know how much of a rivalry game this is. Every offseason, they see the guys. There’s always that talk going on. They want to win it just as bad as we do. I think our guys will definitely be motivated for that game. It’s a rivalry game."
"There’s definitely desperation going on. At the end somebody has to be the winner. Them losing six, us losing five, someone is going to get that happy feeling at the end. I hope it’s us."
"I know how much of a big game this is. I do hang out with the (Rutgers) guys off the court. When we watch them play, I somewhat root for them."
On returning to the team: "It was a nice feeling, being able to be back and help my team. It was definitely tough watching the Pittsburgh game and not being there. I wanted to come back focused."
"Mentally I’m in a good place. I’ve just got to keep my teammates there. It’s tough. A lot of us haven’t been in that situation: Guys being hurt, losing games. But we’ve got to stick together."
On being shorthanded: "You never know who’s going to practice that day. You never know who’s going to play the next game. That’s kind of tough. We can’t have game situations (in practice)."
On Rutgers: "It’s going to be a big-time atmosphere. Heated, heated fans. You’ve got to bring it. If not you’re going to be exposed."
"They’re on a streak too, so there’s nothing to lose on both sides."
On Cosby’s return: "It was definitely good. Another solid ball-handler out there as well. He can put the ball in the bucket as you saw today. For me and Tommy’s sake, we don’t have to play all 40. I’m happy he’s back."
On what he’s been told about the Rutgers rivalry: "Unbelievable atmosphere. Guys on the court are playing for blood out there. You better come ready to play."
On Shabazz Napier: "We killed their run and played better in the second half, and it all started with Shabazz."
"Shabazz and Ryan had 10 steals...they really got us going."
"He has the ability to be great, but is he going to push and push and be consistent? He's doing a great job.""Without him, I don't know where we would be."
"Our defense allowed us to go out and get fast break points...Shabazz was great on the ball."
On winning the game: "We got a 13, 14-point lead, I believe...I don't know how we did that."
"The game came down to a game of wills...we had the stronger will, and it started with our guards."
Interesting Stats & Notes:
- Freshman center Kevin Johnson scored 9 points in 14 minutes against the Huskies, a career high in the Big East. Developing.
- Aaron Cosby scored a career high 25 points after sitting out the team's trip to Pittsburgh for family reasons. Re-born.
- Point guard Tom Maayan was held scoreless for the tenth time this season. Maayan has had 5+ assists on eleven occasions. Pass first.
- Seton Hall missed 11 free throws (6-17) and lost by 11 points. Missed opportunities.
- Fuquan Edwin has put together back-to-back 5+ steal games for the first time since last November. Hungry on defense.