Myrtle Beach Invitational – Villanova 83, Mississippi State 76 Quotes, November 22, 2019

Villanova coach Jay Wright – “Really good college basketball game, man. They’re good. I would like to say I enjoy competing against Ben’s teams, but I don’t. They’re so physical and solid, they go to the offensive glass and defend. Because we have so much respect for them and I do for Ben, that’s a good win for us. We’ve gotten gradually better from the Ohio State game, but we knew today gradually wasn’t going to do it. We were going to have to execute better, be more solid on the boards, more solid defensively and we were. We took a step today. We have a long way to go as they do too.” (On the 16-0 run on the first half): “Because we got stops, we didn’t have go against their set defense. When they get set with their size, they’re very well coached and disciplined.”

Villanova guard Collin Gillespie – “I take pride in just being a leader for this team. I was just finding little things to get our guys going. On the defensive end, just locking into the scouting report and setting a tone. We worry about getting stops and I think that was crucial today.”

Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – “It gives us a lot confidence but it’s just fun to go out there and play the game we love together because we’re brothers on and off the court and we go through trials and tribulations every single day in practice and off the court things people might not see.” (On battling a physical team): “I feel it can make you a lot better because you can go against teams that might not be as big or physical and get 10 or 11 boards but to get seven boards against a pretty big team, it helps me get a feel of how to go against those guys. I’m kind of big but not 6-11 or 6-10 and 250-pound guys.” (On playing for a seventh consecutive in-season tournament title): “It means everything because we play for those who came before us and those guys have gone through everything and they’ve set the tone for us to go out there and play Villanova basketball for 40 minutes every night.”

Mississippi State coach Ben Howland – “Our guys came out and played extremely hard. We got off to a great start and them on their heels. What really hurt us in the first half was when they got going in transition. About the 10-minute mark all of a sudden, they went on a run and we were not getting back well enough. It really hurt us when they had three layups in a row. We made a great comeback to get it to six but it was my fault that they had the 3-pointer at the end (of the first half) because I should have had someone on the ball pressuring the ball so he couldn’t make the easy Christian Laettner baseball pass. We did a much better job in the second half with our transition defense. We did a better job on the offensive glass getting 10 rebounds in the second half. I was proud of our effort, but we can play a lot better than we played today if we keep working as hard as we’re working and keep studying and growing as a team. Our two freshman guards are playing a lot of minutes.”

Mississippi State guard Robert Woodard II – “They’re just a great team all around. They’re fundamentally sound and as you Villanova has great shooters. The penetration and kick is hard to guard sometimes and they’re very physical down low. Just knowing the intensity was there the whole game. We need to learn to keep that intensity and as far as defensive assignments, we let some things get away from us. We’ll mainly look at the defensive and we’ll be smarter on offense.”