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  • Writer's pictureJoey Jarzynka

Big East Tournament: DePaul Quotes 3.10.21


Q. So, big one for you guys. Third time is a charm; they beat you twice in the regular season. What was working you this time around? And how much of a boost was it to get Javon Freeman-Liberty back today?

CHARLIE MOORE: It was a big boost getting Javon back. He's a great player. We play well off of each other as well. And it just felt great out there. I felt like we were all staying aggressive. And we did a great job on the defensive end.

Q. I'm curious what you guys saw that you may be able to take advantage of Providence off the dribble. Seemed like there was an awful lot of dribble-drive attacking all game long.

CHARLIE MOORE: Like I said, man, we just wanted to be aggressive today. Push the pace. Get in the paint, like you guys said. Draw defenders to kick out for open teammates. We followed that game plan out there tonight and it worked for us.

Q. Can you talk about the play during those last five minutes when it was a close game then you guys make all the big plays? What do you think when you were winning in the closing minutes?

CHARLIE MOORE: I feel, like I said, we were being aggressive, but patient as well. Looking to make the right play for the team. Down the stretch we made some good shots. Vois, he made a big layup. Javon as well and myself as well. We all made big plays down the stretch. It helped us prevail at the end.

Q. I don't know what it is about New York or the Garden, but in your last three games -- the two in the Garden last year the game in St. John's -- you're averaging 21 points, six assists and five rebounds. Is there something about the Garden or New York in general, the bright lights and the big city and the big stage, that you play well?

CHARLIE MOORE: I love playing in the Garden. Great environment. But also I feel like tonight we just played a great game. Teammates came with it. They've been trying -- so I just feel like we played great out there.

Q. Congratulations to an 11 seed going on to play a tough UConn team tomorrow night. But first I've got to ask: It seemed kind of like the game was a lot closer than everybody thought. You shot 46 percent the second half, you and Javon Freeman. Just what was Coach Leitao saying to you during the timeouts?

CHARLIE MOORE: Just telling me, you know, to just win the game, make aggressive but smart plays down the stretch to help us prevail at the end. I just followed his game plan, and it worked for us at the end.

Q. You guys won this game in the same round last year, but obviously COVID put an end to the tournament. How does it feel to get a chance to play in the quarterfinals tomorrow after it was taken away from you guys last year?

CHARLIE MOORE: It's a great feeling. But it's another game. It's a different day tomorrow. Everybody's going to forget about this game come tomorrow. So we've got to come out with our hard hats on and play a great UConn team. They're great defensively. We've just got to attack them and play defense like we did today.


COACH LEITAO: Obviously this time of year and conference tournaments and the Big East Tournament especially is a special time, but it can also be heartbreaking if you don't play well. So, we talked about the last couple of days the opportunity we had. From what everybody in college basketball has been through, it's a new week. It's a new start. So we can reset some things emotionally and physically and come to New York and hopefully perform to our potential. And, so, we had some confidence because we thought we played Providence well twice, came up short both in Providence and Chicago. But if we made the proper adjustments and more importantly just had our guys, whole, as a group, and played well that it would give us an opportunity. And that's what happened. Both Charlie and Javon played well, made plays throughout the game, especially in the later stages of the game, to give us an opportunity and get the lead and then hold onto the lead. So really happy for the whole group and advancing to play another day is what we wanted today and what we'll hope for as we go into tomorrow night's game.

Q. Obviously last year was canceled because of COVID. And was there some kind of like carry-over from last year, like you wanted to prove yourself and get another game in? And the guys that played last year, was there unfinished business talked about before the game?

COACH LEITAO: Quite honestly, I hadn't quite looked at it like that, other than the fact of the nostalgia of being here on the 11th of March and beating Xavier and getting ready to play Villanova and having to get on a plane. But my staff, my video coordinator, Lucas Shapiro, and the guys put together a little highlight film to get our guys more hyped and ready. And it included what you're talking about, last year, unfinished business. So if I didn't think of it, my staff did and gave it to the players. And they used it to hopefully motivate them just a little bit more, and it gave them a comfortable feeling about what we needed to do in our execution. And it was led by our mindset. I thought we had a really good mindset for 40 minutes.

Q. Short notice, tomorrow, you guys play UConn. You served as an assistant for a couple of stints and you've been at the Garden with them. What would it be like to be on the other side of the fence -- DePaul's coach going up against UConn?

COACH LEITAO: I've taken two body blows this year from them, both in Chicago and in Storrs. So we're going to look at it in the same way as Providence and what adjustments we can make in a very quick period of time. But the other portion of it, obviously, 14 years of being on the other side of it and being in Madison Square Garden. And one of my assistants asked me how many times I had been here. And I couldn't tell you the number for the amount of times that we were here and played really well. So obviously that has a small portion to do with the emotion, but it doesn't mean any of their players or any of our players know that or matter. For me, it would be 94 by 50 in execution. And for many years I've maintained myself as a tremendous UConn fan because they run a great program. And continue to do so on both sides -- men and women. So my heart, at least a piece of it, will always be there. But, you know, this is DePaul. This is 2021, and Danny's got a hell of a team that is physical, that has a tremendous outpitch in Bouknight. And Whaley and the guys in the front court kind of put it on you. So we've got to be really, really ready physically and emotionally.

Q. Why did you take David Duke out of the game. They seemed kind of rudderless without him. How were you able to take David Duke out of the game?

COACH LEITAO: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. You know what, it's just tendencies, you have to play tendencies. And he's done well twice against us. And so we thought if we just, one, the guy that was guarding him, whether it was whoever was his assignment or if we switched on to him that we would crowd him. And if we could take away what he likes to do with the right hand what he likes to do going left and force him into a second defender that may limit some of the things that he is really good at. And so our guys, one only gave him nine shots. And I thought every jump shot that he took tonight was contested, which is something that we try to do. And how we defended the 3-point line all year long was what we did worked. And I have a bunch of respect for him. He's a tremendous players who scores at all three levels, plays with great attitude and high skills. I'm sure he didn't have his best game, and I'm also sure that we had a little bit to do with it.

Q. Can you talk about Charlie's play tonight, especially late in the second half of the game when the game was close?

COACH LEITAO: I try to put as much -- I don't know if you call it pressure on him, but responsibility and trust, that if he can create open space for himself that's his choice to make a shot or make a pass is something that we need. And I thought he did a really, really good job at that today. He was much more aggressive. He took 13 shots and I thought most, if not all of them were good shots. And I happen to think he could do more. He's dynamic, and I think sometimes he gets caught in wanting to get everybody else involved. And other times he can score and that balance is really hard to strike to keep your team happy and believing that you're going to put the ball in their hands and score in places. But knowing that especially in -- I took him out. I was upset with him when he reached on a defensive play. I took him out, sat him a couple minutes, but told him, you've got to be able to get to open spots and make plays. We trust that if you make those plays we have a better chance to win. So between him and Javon, that kind of happened. And we'll hope that he gets some rest and is able to do that and more tomorrow.

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