Postgame Quotes: St. John's 89, 10/9 Connecticut 72

Feb. 10, 2011

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St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin

On tonight’s game:
“I thought it was another sustained effort in terms of our execution offensively. Twenty-one assists, 10 turnovers, shooting 70 percent in the second half are clear indications that we were hitting on all cylinders. We were crisp, we were sharp on the offensive end of the floor. And then I think our pressure over the course of the game had a cumulative effect in terms of wearing UConn down so they weren’t as fresh in terms of their shots. And it allowed us to go on the runs and eventually have that knockout punch. But I think that was a result of the sustained attack of basketball on both ends of the court. And I think it was the best game in terms of Dwight Hardy and D.J. Kennedy, at the same time, played so well. We’ve had one play well and not the other, and vice-versa. But this was an example where they both played well in the same game for the entire game.”

On inheriting a new team:
“We did watch same game film (of last season), but we were mindful of not watching too much, because we didn’t want to come in with a certain bias or prejudice and judge a team that we hadn’t coached. Because you don’t know. Certain players that had played well, might not play as well with a new staff. And certain players that didn’t play well might really elevate their game with a new staff. So it was a balance. I’d say we probably watched maybe four games. But I intentionally didn’t want the staff to watch every game, I didn’t want to watch every game, because I think it can skew the way you look at things.” “We haven’t pulled any punches from our goal from the very first time we met as a team, to make the NCAA Tournament. I think you need the big picture, a dream, something you aspire to, an objective or goal. And then you start putting hammer to rock and you begin putting in the work to get there. So we talked about the significance of this game.”

On team’s rebounding:
“Our biggest focus before I left the locker room, what I said was, ‘This game will be determined by rebounding.’ Our deficiency is rebounding and its one of Jim Calhoun’s hallmarks, trademarks is rebounding. Look at the history of his program, they always rebound the ball well. And while the numbers are down relative to the non-conference schedule, they’re still impressive. So to be plus-10 on the boards means that we were holding them to one shot. And it also means we were getting a lot of fast break opportunities because the rebound starts the break.”

On moving forward in BIG EAST play:
“We already circled Cincinnati and talked about while it would be natural to want to celebrate and party with your classmates and enjoy this win, we just can’t afford to. We have to wait until the spring (to celebrate) and sacrifice if we’re going to do something special. As soon as the game was over we put Cincinnati on the board and circled them.”

On the importance of the remaining games:
“Just like this was the biggest game of the season in terms of putting us in a better position to do something special come March. Now Cincinnati will be the biggest game of the season to help build the argument or build the case. And after that it will be Marquette. And all the way down the line now, each game will be amplified because the stakes are higher the deeper you go into the season. There’s more of a sense of urgency, you’re running out of bullets in your chamber.”

On coaching the senior class:
“There are those few moments, they don’t happen very often, when as a coach you’re able to step back, take a deep breath and just kind of enjoy as a fan what’s transpiring. And with this group it’s even more unique because they’re seniors and they’ve been through so much. So you’re rooting for them to do well. So it makes the wins that much sweeter because they’re such a good group, they’ve adapted to us so well and you’re just pulling for them to finish on a high note.”

Senior Guard Dwight Hardy

On tonight’s win:
“It was a great feeling to know that we worked hard these past couple days in practice and it showed out there on the floor. I felt like we gave it our all for 40 minutes and the feeling is remarkable. After the game we all thought about it, that it’s another step toward reaching our goal. We can’t let down from here, we’ve still got tough games ahead and we also want to get those wins so we can improve our resume even more.”

On getting a BIG EAST win:
“It’s extra sweet to get anybody nowadays in the BIG EAST. But we know how big St. John’s vs. Connecticut is. But I think no matter who we would have played today I think we would have gave the same effort we gave today against UConn. And I’m just happy for my team. We just fought, put hammer to rock in practice and never gave up. Anytime you’re coming off a loss, you always think about, ‘what if we lose two games in a row?’ And we don’t want that to happen and we didn’t let that happen tonight. So I’m proud of my team and my coaches.

On Coach Lavin’s thoughts after his 12-straight points:
“He said, ‘Man, you’re torching the nets. Go and get a quick blow and you’re going back in’.”

On his play:
“It was a great feeling to know we were putting on a good show for our fans, friends and family. I was just in a zone and when I’m in the zone I just kind of blackout. I don’t know how to describe it, but I just feel like the basket gets bigger and bigger. (On three-point shot with 12:55 remaining) The defender had his hand sticking out and I tried to draw the foul, unfortunately I didn’t get it, but I stayed with my shot and when it went in, I just knew I was in one of those zones. We were just feeling it tonight as a team. D.J. (Kennedy) had a big double-double for us. And the rest of the team, even the players off the bench, provided a spark for us. And when we play like this, we’re fun to watch and we’ll get a lot of wins. We just need to bring it on the road with us and not do it just here.”

On wins against Duke and UConn:
“I would say this game (is more important) because they’re a BIG EAST team. And as you know, the race in the BIG EAST is tight. And we want to move up the ladder, so I would say this game is bigger as far as moving up the standings. I think the Duke game helps our resume, beating the No. 3 team in the country, but this game was bigger.”

On playing against Kemba Walker:
“He’s a great player, he’s in the running for National Player of the Year. But it’s not about us. It’s about St. John’s vs. UConn. But you always want to play well against the top players in the country to show that you’re one of the top players also. But like I said, this was going to be about our team, it wasn’t going to be about me, no matter what I did today. We played like a team and pulled out a huge victory and I’m happy.”

Senior Guard/Forward D.J. Kennedy

On tonight’s game:
“It just felt great to get another big win to help our resume. We appreciate all the fans who came out and supported us. There’s something about the Garden this year; when we play in front of those fans, we put on a show.”

On team’s experience:
“I just try to go out there and give it all I’ve got. It’s our fourth year here, with 10 seniors, we know how big a year it us for us. We’re just trying to make the Tournament because we’ve never been there. So that’s our main focus as a team… And like I said before, the fans and energy in the building help us out a lot.”

On biggest difference between freshman and senior year:
“More confidence. Coming in as a freshman, you’re just happy and excited to be out there. As a kid you dream about playing in the Garden, you see all the teams, the Knicks, everyone. It’s a famous arena. So as a senior it’s just the confidence and knowing what to expect.”

On the UConn-St. John’s rivalry:
“I think it’s bigger for fans. We just think of it as another BIG EAST game and it’s going to be tough. We know every game in the BIG EAST is tough. So I feel like the fans make it bigger, but that makes it more exciting for us. But it was great as seniors to get (that win).”

On the St. John’s coaching staff:
“They put a lot of confidence in us, more than any coaching staff I’ve ever been around. They just put confidence in us, and they don’t say too much. They let us play. So anytime you’ve got a staff like that, that puts confidence in you, it makes the game a lot easier for you.”




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