Pregame Quotes: 15/15 St. John's vs. USF

March 4, 2011

St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin

On today’s practice following last night’s loss at Seton Hall:
“We watched some video and talked about the significance of this time of the year in terms of wanting momentum going into the postseason and also, Senior Day, which is special any year, but in particular when you have 14 upperclassmen who will graduate in May. We also worked on our zone attack, which I think will be important, not only against USF, but as we go through the postseason. We’re bound to play some zone defense. We’re fortunate in the BIG EAST… Very few teams play zone other than Syracuse and Seton Hall this year has played more of it. So we’ll expect to see some zone as we proceed through March.”

On if the loss takes any pressure off the team heading into the postseason:
“If the lesson resonates, and there is a powerful takeway that helps you elevate your level of play, then there are times that a setback can be a springboard for better basketball. And for this team and most good teams, the key is learning from each experience in practice or games after a win or a loss… How do you respond, what’s your bounce-back, and are continuing to increase your basketball knowledge and ability to persevere through different situations.”

On the tone of today’s practice:
“I would say it was just revisiting the essentials for success at this time of the year. If it takes a sock in the mouth, or smelling salts, or getting beat by Seton Hall to awaken for the tough road ahead… then it may end up being a blessing in disguise. We won’t know until we get far enough down the line. Fordham… I was concerned after we lost that game while I was encouraged, but until we actually saw all the breakthroughs… Now I can look back and see that Fordham was the critical, pivotal game of the season. It was the beginning of this really special year we’ve had to this point. Now we won’t know about the Seton Hall defeat until we get out a couple weeks to see how our team responded. It never hurts to remind everybody in the program of what a special opportunity we have and you don’t want to look back and regret that we didn’t do everything within our power to enhance the chances of making a run and doing something unique in the month of March.”

St. John’s Senior Forward Justin Burrell

On the foul that led to his ejection from last night’s game at Seton Hall:
“I was frustrated that we were losing, but I just feel that there is an honor code or unwritten rule that under 35 seconds you kind of let the game go. My mistake was the stare-down. I definitely shouldn’t have done that. I didn’t feel the foul wasn’t a basketball foul. I went for the ball and got a little contact with it. If you watch it it’s no different from any fouls I’ve given before.”

On if today’s practice was anymore difficult than the rest:
“Actually, no… we watched film for about an hour, had a good team talk, and then we went into practice to clean up a lot of mistakes that we made yesterday. We had different things up on the board. Our team has three fundamental things that we like to do on the defensive end. Pressure the ball is number one, number two is rotation. We’re a rotation team… a lot of team play help defense, we like to rotate and recover. And our third principal is to rebound the ball. And those are things that we did not do for 40 minutes.”

On if the meaning of tomorrow’s game has changed at all because of the loss:
“Not at all… the final game still stands for the last game that we’ll play at Carnesecca Arena. We still need to get a win as we head into the BIG EAST Tournament and further on the NCAAs. The game hasn’t changed for us.”

On the reason for wearing the black jerseys in tomorrow’s game:
“First of all… the black jerseys are awesome. I love them… they’re probably my favorites. It would definitely have to go the black, red and then the white. Also, because we haven’t gotten a win in those jerseys so it would be great to go out winning in those jerseys in front of our home crowd.”

St. John’s Senior Forward Sean Evans

On his feelings heading into his final game in Carnesecca Arena:
“I think it will be mixed emotions. It’s our final game in Carnesecca, but it’s not going to be our final game this season. It’s going to be tough to let go of Carnesecca, but we know we have more games ahead of us.”

On what the team can take out of last night’s loss:
“I don’t think it will affect us too much, but we will take a lot out of it. It shows we have to come and compete for 40 minutes every game. We had a lot of defensive breakdowns and we can’t have that if we want to go far.”

On if the team will definitely be coming to play tomorrow:
“Definitely… coming off a loss like that, one that we think we should have won, will give us a little extra fire to win. Plus its senior night and we want to finish the regular season on a high note.”

On if the low points of the past make tomorrow anymore special:
“I think so. It shows how far we’ve come. Who knows if we wouldn’t have had such a great season like we’re having so far, how our senior night would turn out, how many people would come, or if it would have had the same emotions. But knowing that these seniors stuck together through thick and thin and overcame a lot of things is going to make this senior night even more special.”

St. John’s Senior Guard Paris Horne

On if any pressure was starting to mount on the team:
“No, there wasn’t any pressure. We practice hard, we play hard, it was just about trying to go out and win every game. We feel like we can win every game when we step on the floor so there wasn’t really any pressure. People were just bringing hype to us and we were the hunted instead of the hunters like we usually are.”

On bouncing back after last night’s loss:
“It’s going to help us a lot. We learn from what we didn’t do. We didn’t get after the ball, we didn’t play our best defense like we usually do. And it also helped us with our zone. We haven’t really seen a lot of zone this year so it will help us against teams that play a zone.”

On if this senior night represents how far this team has come:
“Yea, definitely. From day one, when we came in as freshman… There’s been a lot of sweat, blood and tears into this building and into the floor of Carnesecca and Taffner. It’s a special night for us.”




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